What Is Unity?

Unity says that true religious growth is a ‘do-it-yourself’ project … One might describe Unity as a religious philosophy with an ‘open end’, seeking to find God’s truth in all of life.

– Charles R. Fillmore, grandson of co-founders Charles and Myrtle Filmore.

How Did Unity Begin?

fillmoresThe Unity movement was founded in 1889 in Kansas City, Missouri, by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. After Mrs. Fillmore’s remarkable healing using prayer and affirmations, many friends became interested in how she accomplished this healing. Both Charles and Myrtle went on to become accomplished healers and teachers. Unity grew from small interdenominational prayer circles in living rooms into a ministry of prayer and publishing, and ultimately over 1,000 churches and study groups.

What is the relationship of Unity to other churches?

Unity continues to put into practice a truly ecumenical approach. Unity sees itself as a vehicle for instruction, inspiration and prayer support for spiritual seekers, regardless of their religious affiliation, Christian or other. Rather than a denomination, locked in tight parameters that restrict, Unity views itself as an ever-expanding expression of God’s love, life, and peace. Unity believes in the oneness of all people and places emphasis on similarities rather than differences.

What are Unity’s basic teachings?

We encourage you to explore and apply Unity teachings based on your own spiritual understanding. We believe this spiritual understanding is enhanced through reflective prayer and meditation. The five basic ideas that make up the Unity belief system are:

  • God is spiritual in nature and is source and creator of all. God is loving, good and present everywhere. There is no other power aside from God.
  • We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently spiritual and good.
  • Being spiritual in nature, we too are creative. Our life experiences are created through our ways of thinking and believing.
  • Through Prayer and Meditation we reawaken to our natural state of communication with God. Affirmative prayer and denials are tools we use to bring our thoughts into greater alignment with God.
  • Knowledge of spiritual principles is not enough. We must actively incorporate them into our daily lives.

Is Unity a denomination?

Some aspects of the Unity movement are denominational and some are not. For example, there are more than 1,000 Unity churches and study groups affiliated with the Association of Unity Churches. This is a denominational aspect of Unity. In addition, the Unity Institute at Unity Village, Missouri trains approximately 60 students every two years to be Unity ministers. This is also denominational. However, the majority of the work done by Unity at Unity Village involves prayer, publishing, and education services to people of all faiths. These nondenominational aspects include the prayer ministry, Silent Unity, Daily Word (Unity’s nondenominational inspirational monthly magazine), retreats, and continuing education classes that are open to everyone and teach Unity principles in nondenominational settings.

What is the place of the Bible in Unity?

The Bible is Unity’s basic textbook. It is accepted as a body of history, as a moral and ethical teaching, and as a great literary work. Beyond this, Unity finds deep significance in the Bible through its metaphysical interpretation, wherein names of places and people and their experiences are viewed as symbolizing the unfolding of human consciousness. In Unity you are invited to see the Bible as the story of your spiritual awakening. We believe that the Bible reveals the spirit of Truth and the word of God. The Holy Spirit, working individually through those who study Scripture and listen within, is the final authority in spiritual awakening.

Does Unity believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ?

Yes, Unity teaches that the spirit of God dwelt in Jesus, just as it dwells in every person; and that every person has the potential to express the perfection of Christ, as Jesus did, to become Christ-like in everyday life.

Does Unity practice baptism and communion?

Unity views these symbolically. Baptism by water represents the cleansing of the consciousness and spiritual baptism signifies the inflow of the Holy Spirit. Baptism, as a mental and spiritual process takes place within the individual as he or she aligns with the spirit of God.

Spiritual communion takes place through prayer and meditation in the silence. The word of Truth is symbolized by the bread or body of Jesus Christ. The conscious realization of God-life is symbolized by the wine or blood of Jesus Christ. Unity practices communion by appropriating, or partaking, of the spiritual energy represented by these elements.

In Unity services, ritual is generally de-emphasized so that full attention may be devoted to spiritual teaching and practical application.

What about the Crucifixion?

Unity teaches that the cross symbolizes the crossing out of all false and limiting belief. The teaching of the crucifixion is that we can transcend even the most fearful and painful experiences. We are able to be reborn as we allow our false sense of self to “die” and are reborn into the awareness of our true spiritual nature.

Does Unity look for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

Unity understands the Second Coming as the individual experience of the Christ consciousness. This is not an event to be anticipated in the future. It is happening here and now, through prayer, meditation, study, and application.

How does Unity regard the Trinity?

Unity interprets the religious terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit metaphysically, as three aspects of mind action: mind, idea, and expression. This is the process through which all manifestation takes place.

What does Unity teach about sin and salvation, heaven and hell?

Sin is our separation from God, the Good, in consciousness. Salvation is now–not something that occurs after death. It happens whenever we turn our thoughts from separation, fear, anxiety, worry, and doubt to thoughts of love, harmony, joy, and peace. The “fall” takes place in consciousness whenever we fall into negative habits of thinking. Heaven and hell are states of consciousness, not geographical locations. We make our own heaven or hell here and now by our thoughts, words, and deeds.