The Death of Universism
Posted: 27 March 2006 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Let us all pause for a moment and morn the passing of a good idea. :-(

Universism has died.  On March 23 at 14:00 hours, it died.  The forum was shut down in a fit of anger.  Many of the members sadly left to join other chat rooms.

Universism, for those not knowing of it, was the brain child of Ford Vox.  The basic concept, I think, was to allow a non-faith (or non-dogma faith) place to exist where people could be non-dogmatic and not be ashamed.  People from around the world logged in.

CNN, LA Times, Anderson360, and others covered it.  It looked like a new banner had arisen to which people could rally.  You could have faith in your own ideas but not try to push them on others.  THere seemed to be an air of tolerence.

But problems arose.  Personalities got in the way.  And then the owner of the ball (the name and forum owner) got mad, and decided to take their ball home. 

Universism dies.  Can they restart it?  Maybe the name but I do not think the idea can ever gain the focus and solidity it once had.  Once you have been fooled, you do not usually go back. :-(. 

Why do I care?  WHile I was not a major member, I never signed their statement, I liked the idea that a concept of tolerance and non-dogma was getting heard around the world.  People talked and discussed. 

Let us take a moment of silence for with its passing, we are all weaker in this fundy world. 

Universism has died.  Killed by the one that started it.  Died before it could really reach its potential. 


Elder Norm

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ARO "www.aro-religion.org"  The belief in Reality and the organized seach for its measure.

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Posted: 27 March 2006 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The Death of Universism

Let us all pause for a moment and morn the passing of a good idea. :-(

Universism has died.  On March 23 at 14:00 hours, it died.  The forum was shut down in a fit of anger.  Many of the members sadly left to join other chat rooms.

Universism, for those not knowing of it, was the brain child of Ford Vox.  The basic concept, I think, was to allow a non-faith (or non-dogma faith) place to exist where people could be non-dogmatic and not be ashamed.  People from around the world logged in.

CNN, LA Times, Anderson360, and others covered it.  It looked like a new banner had arisen to which people could rally.  You could have faith in your own ideas but not try to push them on others.  THere seemed to be an air of tolerence.

But problems arose.  Personalities got in the way.  And then the owner of the ball (the name and forum owner) got mad, and decided to take their ball home. 

Universism dies.  Can they restart it?  Maybe the name but I do not think the idea can ever gain the focus and solidity it once had.  Once you have been fooled, you do not usually go back. :-(. 

Why do I care?  WHile I was not a major member, I never signed their statement, I liked the idea that a concept of tolerance and non-dogma was getting heard around the world.  People talked and discussed. 

Let us take a moment of silence for with its passing, we are all weaker in this fundy world. 

Universism has died.  Killed by the one that started it.  Died before it could really reach its potential. 


Elder Norm

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ARO "www.aro-religion.org"  The belief in Reality and the organized seach for its measure.

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Posted: 29 March 2006 03:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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This is bad news.  I broused its website for a bit and I thought it was a good idea, too.
[hums “Taps”]

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Posted: 29 March 2006 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Maybe he couldn’t stand the heat and had to leave the kitchen.

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Posted: 21 May 2006 03:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Nancy what is the difference between “Universism” and the following definition of secular humanism?

What Is Secular Humanism?

Secular Humanism is a term which has come into use in the last thirty years to describe a world view with the following elements and principles:

* A conviction that dogmas, ideologies and traditions, whether religious, political or social, must be weighed and tested by each individual and not simply accepted on faith.
* Commitment to the use of critical reason, factual evidence, and scientific methods of inquiry, rather than faith and mysticism, in seeking solutions to human problems and answers to important human questions.
* A primary concern with fulfillment, growth, and creativity for both the individual and humankind in general.
* A constant search for objective truth, with the understanding that new knowledge and experience constantly alter our imperfect perception of it.
* A concern for this life and a commitment to making it meaningful through better understanding of ourselves, our history, our intellectual and artistic achievements, and the outlooks of those who differ from us.
* A search for viable individual, social and political principles of ethical conduct, judging them on their ability to enhance human well-being and individual responsibility.
* A conviction that with reason, an open marketplace of ideas, good will, and tolerance, progress can be made in building a better world for ourselves and our children.

I am very intrigued, Universism sounds like secular humanism without the big words.
Was it?
Jim

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http://secularhumanism.meetup.com/1/
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Posted: 21 May 2006 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Universism isn’t Secular Humanism without the big words. Ford Vox’s Universism is a bait-and-switch dog and pony show with lies, hoopla and hype.

I first learned about Universism when Sam Harris appeared on the Faithless Forum chatroom to promote his book.  Ford Vox then claimed the Faithless Forum was an ongoing joint project between Sam Harris and Universism, but I later learned the only connection was that one guest appearance.

I was active on the message board for several months but became disenchanted last summer when the tone of the board quickly coarsened with the arrival of several new members.  I became tired of wading through sophomoric drivel about the wonders of Wicca, soft core avatars and the hate-filled screed posted by an admirer of the infamous Michael Neumann.

Most disturbingly, Ford Vox (who’d legally changed his name from the less memorable Ford Baxter) began to show signs of instability. He fought with members, quit the presidency, resumed it, and began to aggressively push for moral relativism. After Ford announced the controversial animal rights activist and philosopher Peter Singer would appear in the chatroom, one of the members posted a particularly vile message which I cannot repeat in public. I left the group shortly after that.

To answer your question more directly, Ford Vox’s Universism differs from Secular Humanism in several key ways: it is not committed to reason, it does not reject the supernatural or irrationality, it is ruled from above, and it certainly does not cultivate moral excellence.

If you’re still curious about Universism, I suggest you visit the website run by the former members who quit the group this spring.  I don’t participate in this group, but if you read some of the threadsyou’ll be amazed by Ford Vox’s deceptions. http://freethought-fellowship.org/cms/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=36&topic=799.0

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Posted: 21 May 2006 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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NO Nancy, NO NO NO, Not a chance I believe you.

It may have been a dumb question to ask but I felt it needed an answer from the one expert we have here on the topic, you.

If we left it alone we’d have chanced losing some of our group while they were off investigating it.

Now lets work on simplifying our definition.
Jim

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Jimmie Keyes
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http://secularhumanism.meetup.com/1/
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (MLK Jr.)

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Posted: 21 May 2006 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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[quote author=“nancy2001”]I was active on the message board for several months but became disenchanted last summer when the tone of the board quickly coarsened with the arrival of several new members.  I became tired of wading through sophomoric drivel about the wonders of Wicca, soft core avatars and the hate-filled screed posted by an admirer of the infamous Michael Neumann.

Who’s Michael Neumann? Sorry to be the rube here ...

:?

[quote author=“nancy2001”]Most disturbingly, Ford Vox (who’d legally changed his name from the less memorable Ford Baxter) began to show signs of instability. He fought with members, quit the presidency, resumed it, and began to aggressively push for moral relativism. After Ford announced the controversial animal rights activist and philosopher Peter Singer would appear in the chatroom, one of the members posted a particularly vile message which I cannot repeat in public. I left the group shortly after that.

Yes, this all is a great cautionary tale to us here, particularly as Moderators. We should in general act with a light hand, but the behavior you cite is the sort of thing that can easily destroy an online community.

I certainly don’t like the idea of a guru-type leader who picks a Hollywood-sounding name to lead a quasi-spiritual group. OTOH he must have had something going for him to have lured Sam Harris and Peter Singer to join you, even for short periods.

I have some difficulty with some of their opinions. That said, they are both very capable people. Singer in particular is quite a brilliant, if radical and controversial, philosopher.

[quote author=“nancy2001”]To answer your question more directly, Ford Vox’s Universism differs from Secular Humanism in several key ways: it is not committed to reason, it does not reject the supernatural or irrationality, it is ruled from above, and it certainly does not cultivate moral excellence.

All of them bad signs. In particular, not rejecting the supernatural or irrationality leads ... well, it leads right back into religion! It sounds disturbingly like Ford wanted to create a cult.

[quote author=“nancy2001”]If you’re still curious about Universism, I suggest you visit the website run by the former members who quit the group this spring.  I don’t participate in this group, but if you read some of the threadsyou’ll be amazed by Ford Vox’s deceptions. http://freethought-fellowship.org/cms/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=36&topic=799.0

Sorry, Nancy, I don’t have much of a stomach for this sort of stuff.

Again, as a Moderator, my feeling is that this sort of website shows just what can go wrong without effective Moderators. I personally would not feel comfortable being a member of such an online community. I’d be better off on my own.

Best,

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Doug

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