Is everyone aware that an established religious organization encourages freedom of thought? Unitarian Universalism supports a free search for truth and meaning. Many members are atheists. Check out the website at UUA.org. At the same Unitarian Universalist provides an environment where people can join in the search together. Historically, the denomination was prominent in the early days of our country.
There is now a United Deist Church founding local congregations in the U.S., it is a program of the Deus Project.
One can believe in God from a freethought perspective - this is Deism. Many famed scientists including Steven Pinker of MIT and E.O. Wilson of Harvard are supporting the Deus Project in its endeavor to build deism into a viable religious alternative to the faith inspired monstrosities that now endanger the planet. The Project is a grassroots style nonprofit org and it’s easy to get involved.
In the 1950s, when I crossed over from Supernaturalistic to Naturalistic beliefs, the then just U, not UU, Church was an important catalyst in my changeover. The UU is an useful halfway house for those learning to outgrow their former denominational beliefs.
However, I have come to believe that the best course for Naturalists, whose freethinking has led them to Naturalistic conclusions, is to join together and use their resources to promote not just freethought but Naturalistic thought.
Laurel Hallman, then a minister at the UU Church in Bloomington, Indiana, once described me, shortly before I let my membership in the B’ton UU Church lapse, as a “HARD naturalist.” I was, and am, a thoroughgoing and consistently deterministic and materialistic naturalist. For me, m (matter) + e (energy) = E (everything). I see no virtue, as do most UUs, in being “spiritual,” albeit an enlightened kind of spiritualness, (i.e., “Well, if you take ‘god’ to mean….”).
I get very aggrevated with those “scientists” who advance scientific knowledge six days a week but who go to churcgh on Sunday and promote belief in “free will” and the existence of “spiritual” entities and phenomina. Many of them go to UU Churches.
Really believe, and promote, m+e=E, or…stay confused!
While I have no beef with UU people in general or in particular, I do agree with wedealt that I have never really understood what it means to be “spiritual” if one doesn’t believe in God.
I’ve attended a UU fellowship for nearly a year now, and it has done wonders for me. I’ve been an atheist and humanist for many years, and I get so much from the fellowship. If I had to guess at the religious make-up of the congregation I attend, I would say that the majority (perhaps 80%) are humanists…maybe 10-15% are very liberal Christians, and the rest are buddhist or other religions.
I think spirituality in the sense of UUs would have nothing to do with God, but would rather be a label for a strong sense of community and togetherness. It does wonders for my cynicism to pull into the UU parking lot and walk past 5 or 6 hybrids on my way inside. The hypocrisy level among these people is staggeringly low. They truly walk their talk.
The congregation is extremely educated (over half are university faculty…my congregation is in a college town) and services aren’t so much “sermons” as they are “presentations” which are followed by challenging and lively discussion and debate.
It truly does provide me with the benefits of community without the dogma and superstition.
Sorry for the double-post, but I forgot the most important point. I had never heard of Unitarian Universalism until I saw it ON THIS BOARD. I researched it, found it to be in line with my own principles, and started attending one 20 miles away.
[quote author=“k115810”]Sorry for the double-post, but I forgot the most important point. I had never heard of Unitarian Universalism until I saw it ON THIS BOARD. I researched it, found it to be in line with my own principles, and started attending one 20 miles away.
So, thanks to all of you for that!
I have never been a U/U but have attended a number of their services. I learned that they rarely mention the word “God” but obviously at least most of them believe in God.
The question of what is spiritual and what is not can be qute perplexing. The words
spiritual, spirituality, spiritualism and spiritist are derived from the word “spirit”—guess that’s fairly obvious. And i imagine most of us know what a spiritual being is. But I’ll list a few of the more familiar ones gods, angels, devils
and ghosts, If one believes and/or worships one of these spirits one feels or is said to have a spiritual connection or experience.
The word “spiriual” is also used in a non-supernatural sense—I’m sure you have heard of the phrase “the human spirit”. I have found that Humanists can believe there is a kind of spirit in all of us that is a very important part of being a human being. Some would think of it as a kind of “community”. Some, I would imagine see it as something in us that enables humans to overcome obstacles, to persist and even to prevail in life. And some i would think see it as a kind of “esprit de corps”.
I hope my post has been helpful.
[quote author=“FARMERCIST”]I joined the UU’s about two months ago. The people are great. They don’t force any belief on you….......they just accept you as a person. There are a wide range of beliefs all coming together….....anything from strict Christian to Wicca to Atheist to Humanist to Buddhist…....any anything else in between.
I submit that when UUs allow all they really do not stand for much. Some of the values of the cited belief systems are mutually exclusive.
I must say I’ve also wondered what real content there is in Unitarian Universalism. As I understand it, the Universalist doctrine is that all people get into heaven (that’s what makes it “universal”) ... but then that would involve a belief in heaven, and I’m not sure all UUs do.
If there is really no core of beliefs there, then to what extent is it a “religion” and not just a sort of glorified club or discussion group?
In my personal experience being a member of the board of several UU churches, the character of each church is different. Some are Pagan - dancing around the Maypole and all that, while others are completely humanistic. The church and its Minister decides their mission.
UU today is very different than it was 20 or 40 years ago.