Universalism was once one of the most dynamic expressions of religious faith in the world. It is understood that there is no basis for religion unless there is a problem called sin. Today sin can be understood as the human evil we cause by our expressions and actions. It is the commission of things that are evil. It is evil, for example, to knowingly deny people care when you have the power to do otherwise.

James Relly and John Murray

Universalism was a sectarian spin-off from the welter of denominations that rose up after Martin Luther declared independence from Rome.

Its initial intellect was an Englishman named James Relly who wrote a theological work called "Union." The most famous Universalist who came to America was an early settler named John Murray.

All are saved

Universalists held that all are saved. This was heresy to the Puritans who were dominant in New England. Men like Murray were not received kindly. What saved Universalism from being naive humanistic over-optimism about things was the reason Relly and Murray considered salvation universal. It had to do with the prevalence of culpability and the fact that whatever we do we are involved in supporting the worst of injustices.

A good spirit

There was a good spirit among Universalists who naturally saw forgiveness as a universal remedy for universal sin.

They were soon joined by Unitarians whose theology, promulgated by a man named Hosea Ballou, was very different from both Puritanism and Universalism. Gone was the sense of universal culpability and fallibility. Instead, there arose a religion based on the power of good thoughts.

To make a long story short we now have a denomination representing a merger of Unitarians and Universalists.

Hosea Ballou won. The original universalism lies moldering in a shallow and uneasy grave.

Universal culpability

To revive the world requires a sense of its universal culpability and fallibility. If you don't want to cite James Relly and John Murray, then consult the pragmatism of Charles Sanders Peirce. Read between the lines of the theologian Karl Barth.

Even draw some inferences from St. Paul.

As long as you understand the importance of both fallibility and universality and the relevance of forgiveness, you sense reality. Reality is all. In motion.

Understanding reality

The answer to Trump is on this page.Today's Democrats are children of Hosea Ballou but their true parentage is the thought that has been largely pulverized by binary thinking, greed, and evil. We need to call it out and see it for what it is. And ourselves for who we are.