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UNITARIANS AND THEISTS 1 59
UNITARIANS AND THEISTS.
Referring to the article on "Liberal Judaism" by Mr. Claude
G. Montefiore in the Jewish Quarterly Review for July,
I am afraid many of your readers are quite unaware of the great
divergences between "Theists" and "Unitarians" on some essential
No doubt there are individuals on both sides who are in absolute
agreement, because some Unitarians are strictly Theistic : but this is
not the case with the majority of Unitarians at present. And it
is of the utmost importance that the differences should be known
and recognized, without any casting of reproach on either side.
Unitarians generally claim to be, and to be called, " Christians,"
and lay great importance on the fact that they profess to derive
their knowledge of God entirely from what Jesus of Nazareth was and
what he taught. Theists, on the other hand, repudiate the name of
" Christian," would not regard it as any honour, nor could it be truth-
fully applied to them ; they do not base their knowledge of God
on Jesus, or on any other man, living or dead, nor on what he taught.
Theists base their knowledge of God only on the higher nature of
man, Reason, Conscience, and Love, as interpreting the Universe
around them, as sole guides to a true conception of God. Theists
also are not only independent of Jesus Christ, but repudiate a great
part of his teaching as false and pernicious, e. g. his belief in Devils,
in the division of mankind into " chosen " and " not chosen," " saved "
and "lost," in Everlasting Hell, and in his appeals based on hope
of reward and fear of punishment, &c. &c. While the Unitarian pro-
fesses to rely on "Revelation," the Theist rejects the idea as
generally understood. While the Unitarian is in his own eyes a
Christian, the Theist is anti-Christian, and deems it an honour and
a privilege to be in open warfare with Christianity and the Scheme of
Salvation, and the adulation of Christ.