Absolutely not. Sorry. It’s not about believing what you “want”! If it were, I would choose to believe that ice cream has no calories, and maybe even that someday I’ll be sitting on a fluffy white cloud playing a saxophone, because someone else took responsibility for my sins, my shortcomings and failures (and I’ve always wanted to play the saxophone)!
If we could believe whatever we wanted, someone else might well choose to believe that what happens to the Amazonian rainforest has nothing to do with us, or future generations. Or that it’s ok to designate certain groups of people as inferior beings, exempt from compassion or legal protection. Or that the poisons we’ve been pumping into the air and water and soil will convert to fairy dust.
No. Unitarian Universalism is not about believing whatever you “want”.
It’s about coming to a belief, NOT because someone tells you that’s the “acceptable” one, but as a result of responsible engagement with your affirmation of Unitarian Universalist values (for example: individual worth, interdependence, responsibility, justice, respect, equity, love, compassion, peace, liberty)!
And I have to tell you that, very often, that means coming to some pretty painful conclusions about reality and responsibility.
Unitarian Universalism is not “religion lite”. It demands more of us than any other religion I can think of at this moment. Sure, maybe others expect you to fast or kneel or pray 5 times a day. But over time that can become second nature; something you don’t necessarily have to put a whole of thought or energy into.
As a Unitarian Universalist, however, you are expected to “think” for yourself (whether or not you choose to fast or kneel or pray. And know that all of those are options for you). You are expected to THINK – not focused on what you “want” to “believe” but on how these values tell you to “be” in the world.
And when we talk about being a liberal religious haven for the “like-minded”: do not be fooled into thinking the goal is to hang out with people who believe the same as you!
To be like-minded does NOT mean we believe the same things. It means our minds have brought us to a similar way of “being” in the world.
And that is the way, as far as I’m concerned, of manifested love and justice (not fantasy).