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Definitions
Posted: 09 April 2014 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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I believe this was the thread with his last post. The “Religion v Science” thread was more of the beginning, at least of the most recent round of him trying to explain himself. It’s in the “Religion and Secularism” section. I started it with a statement about the virtues of scientific community and he immediately launched into a demand that I quit bullying religion. If you can find any worthwhile in there, that’d be awesome.

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Posted: 09 April 2014 06:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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I posted this a number of years ago, but it’s been lost in the dusty archives so I’ll do it again.

Many years ago, when was active in the local Unitarian church, I went to a national General Assembly.  In the hall where they had a wide variety of booths, there was one titled “Religious Humanism”.  I stopped and asked how that worked.  One guy explained that history reported people some of whom were theists and and others were atheists, who were vicious and cruel.  Conversely some people of both bents were altruistic, respected and helped others.

He said the latter were humanists according to his definition.  He saw that philosophy as separate from one’s belief or disbelief in a god.  As such, he felt there could be atheist humanists and religious humanists, and he happened to be a religious humanist. 

Occam

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Posted: 09 April 2014 07:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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Occam. - 09 April 2014 06:24 PM

I posted this a number of years ago, but it’s been lost in the dusty archives so I’ll do it again.

Many years ago, when was active in the local Unitarian church, I went to a national General Assembly.  In the hall where they had a wide variety of booths, there was one titled “Religious Humanism”.  I stopped and asked how that worked.  One guy explained that history reported people some of whom were theists and and others were atheists, who were vicious and cruel.  Conversely some people of both bents were altruistic, respected and helped others.

He said the latter were humanists according to his definition.  He saw that philosophy as separate from one’s belief or disbelief in a god.  As such, he felt there could be atheist humanists and religious humanists, and he happened to be a religious humanist. 

Occam

Most Unitarians describe themselves as religious Humanists.  A long time ago this became a point of contention between the American Humanist Association and Paul Kurtz of CFI. Kurtz objected to religious Humanism. It led to a rift between Kurtz and the American Humanist Association that has never been resolved. The Skeptical Inquirer was originally a publication of the AHA and Kurtz was its editor.  He managed to wrest it away from the AHA and started a freethought movement of his own, which led to the establishment of CFI.

Lois

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Posted: 10 April 2014 08:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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Until someone comes up with the perfect set of rules to live by, we’re stuck with these definitions that boil down to “we’re the good ones”. Some do a better job of defining “good” than others, and of the actual lists of humanists values that I’ve seen, they are better than anything else. They also have a better track record. I have yet to hear of a humanist fundamentalist group bombing anything or picketing something sacred. All of the other groups tend to say they believe in those humanist values, plus they have a sacred book, or a charismatic leader, or a mythology, or certain rituals, or something special that makes them better at expressing or teaching those core values. To that I say, fine whatever, which usually posses them off and shows that they apparently need go review the core values again.

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Posted: 10 April 2014 10:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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Quoting Lois:

Most Unitarians describe themselves as religious Humanists.

  That’s probably true now that the Universalist mafia has taken over the denomination, but I was surprised at my first contact with a local Unitarian church in 1969 when I found that the minister and about sixty percent of the members were atheists; thirty percent were agnostics; the rest were either wiccans or didn’t declare (felt they’d be excommunicated if they admitted theism).  I’ve noticed that since I’ve left most of the other long time members (atheists) have left or died off.

The AHA saw the theism/atheism dichotomy as separate from the “self-centered screw everyone else”/humanist dichotomy.  As such, they felt that Unitarians were basically humanists and could include anyone who accepted that, no matter what their theistic beliefs were.  Kurtz was a brilliant, egotistical, power hungry jerk who wanted to force his narrow views in everyone else.  Note that even after he formed CFI and ran it for a few years, he was quietly forced out of power and put in the position of “elder stateman”. 

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Posted: 10 April 2014 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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Occam. - 10 April 2014 10:16 AM

Quoting Lois:

Most Unitarians describe themselves as religious Humanists.

  That’s probably true now that the Universalist mafia has taken over the denomination, but I was surprised at my first contact with a local Unitarian church in 1969 when I found that the minister and about sixty percent of the members were atheists; thirty percent were agnostics; the rest were either wiccans or didn’t declare (felt they’d be excommunicated if they admitted theism).  I’ve noticed that since I’ve left most of the other long time members (atheists) have left or died off.

The AHA saw the theism/atheism dichotomy as separate from the “self-centered screw everyone else”/humanist dichotomy.  As such, they felt that Unitarians were basically humanists and could include anyone who accepted that, no matter what their theistic beliefs were.  Kurtz was a brilliant, egotistical, power hungry jerk who wanted to force his narrow views in everyone else.  Note that even after he formed CFI and ran it for a few years, he was quietly forced out of power and put in the position of “elder stateman”. 

Occam

Unitarian Churches are all different. Some are more humanistic than others. I was sorry to see some Unitarian churches taking a theistic path, especially welcoming Wiccans into their congregations. Most have an atheist or humanst faction, however. I have always found Unitarians too church-like in their approach for my taste, but they have provided a place for free thinkers to gather—especially in areas where there are very few such venues.

Lois

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Posted: 10 April 2014 04:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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You’re right, Lois.  I was very fortunate that the one close to me was essentially entirely atheistic/humanistic.  The only relationship it had to religion was the sign out front that called it a church.  The reason was to assure that member donations could be listed on their income taxes as deductions.

Never any hymns - rather, folk songs.  Never any prayers - rather comment period where people could insult the minister for his pre-feminist attitudes, etc.  Very early acceptance of gays, and even a transgender person as church secretary. 

At first, they had other U. ministers for summer sermons, but they were usually religious so we switched to having AHA speakers, local college instructors, politicians, etc. to avoid them wasting our time with theology.

Occam

[ Edited: 10 April 2014 04:45 PM by Occam. ]
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