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Unitarian Universalism
Posted: 25 February 2006 08:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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[quote author=“wesmjohnson”]Doug

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.

I’m confused as well.  ?

Wes

————

Wes,
I think that generally speaking U/U tries to remain neutral when it comes to belief in God. It takes the middle ground between the “god religions” and the “no-god religions” Except for Ethical Culture it is unique in that respect.
Bob

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Posted: 26 February 2006 01:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Bob:  You wrote< Wes, I think that generally speaking U/U tries to remain neutral when it comes to belief in God. It takes the middle ground between the “god religions” and the “no-god religions” Except for Ethical Culture it is unique in that respect.
Bob>

For sure, in general.  Unitarians believe in one God and sometimes not that many. LOL 

Actually there are some UU Churches that are Christian, solid belief in all coarse and fine structure of Christianity.  Others are very “spiritual.”  They are confused by their emotions and renounce reductionist assessments.

Regards, Wes   smile

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Posted: 26 February 2006 04:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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These kinds of inconsistencies among UU churches really confuse me. To what extent is this a single religious viewpoint? To what extent are these all “UU” churches? Is there any particular creed to which they all subscribe? If so, what is it precisely? If not, then it seems the “UU” religion is simply vacuous.

:?

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Posted: 26 February 2006 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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UUs

[quote author=“dougsmith”]These kinds of inconsistencies among UU churches really confuse me. To what extent is this a single religious viewpoint? To what extent are these all “UU” churches? Is there any particular creed to which they all subscribe? If so, what is it precisely? If not, then it seems the “UU” religion is simply vacuous.

:?

Doug:  Have you see the UU website?  It is mostly political but does not represent all UU churches.  At the Tarpon Springs, Florida UU Church today, I went to hear Edward L. Ericson, the same issue raised its head.  A member from a UU church in Conn told us that they only allow their minister to speak about truth, beauty, and something else.  Mostly their church takes no political positions.  Ericson challenge him that all ethical positions are political.  A position with which I certainly agree.  So, I really share your notion of “vacuous.”  If they accept all and every creed and idea they stand for nothing.

Having said that I still find some UU churches loaded with humanists and are worth speaking with and knowing.

Warm regards, Wes :D

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Posted: 26 February 2006 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Doug: Have you see the UU website? It is mostly political but does not represent all UU churches. At the Tarpon Springs, Florida UU Church today, I went to hear Edward L. Ericson, the same issue raised its head. A member from a UU church in Conn told us that they only allow their minister to speak about truth, beauty, and something else. Mostly their church takes no political positions. Ericson challenge him that all ethical positions are political. A position with which I certainly agree. So, I really share your notion of “vacuous.” If they accept all and every creed and idea they stand for nothing.

Having said that I still find some UU churches loaded with humanists and are worth speaking with and knowing.

I haven’t been to the UU website ...

In general I’m leery of associating myself with anything calling itself a “church”. I have in the past gone to Zendos for meditation. Zen Buddhism has a basically self-contradictory set of beliefs, which is because the practice sprouted from two incompatible schools of Buddhist thought. This does lead to some incoherent philosophy, but also to (at times) a refreshing disinterest in philosophical issues ... that allows more rationally minded people to sort of tune a lot of the nonsense out and just focus on the meditation ...

But I wouldn’t want to go to any church-type group to discuss philosophical issues. I’d prefer to do so with scientists, etc. A lot of philosophy is frankly either (1) sloppy thinking and bad arguments, or (2) hot air. Usually I can’t stand it ...

:D

So now when I want to approach these issues I sort of think to myself where in the sciences this is investigated ... and then look to them for how to frame the relevant questions and discover the answers.

Cheers,

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Posted: 27 February 2006 03:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Doug:

I certainly get it.  We are on the same page.  I was very uncomfortable in Church but on balance it was worth the pain.  smile

Wes

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Posted: 27 February 2006 03:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Hi Wes,

I should add that there are some subjects that philosophy does or will have something to say ... issues of consciousness, personal identity, ethics, aesthetics, etc., will always have a role for rational-minded philosophical types to add important insights.

But following the history of the sciences we see how issues that we thought were not amenable to experimental investigation have yielded fascinating insights. (E.g., in rationality, vision, audition, the genetic basis for being human, the evolutionary and genetic history of life, and so many other places).

I think that if you are doing any philosophical investigation into X, you must first see what scientists who study X have to say about it before you should start any sort of armchair theorizing and bloviation. Otherwise you’re likely to end up like Descartes, who tried to cook up a whole theory of physics and cosmology from his La-Z-Boy, and ended up looking like a loon a couple of centuries later ... no joke.

LOL

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Posted: 27 February 2006 05:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Doug:

Agreement.

You wrote: <I should add that there are some subjects that philosophy does or will have something to say ... issues of consciousness, personal identity, ethics, aesthetics, etc., will always have a role for rational-minded philosophical types to add important insights.>

I think philosophers have a lot to add in ethics and aesthetics though less about consciousness and personal identity.  I suggest that our ethics and aesthetics have limits of validity.  Our biology at some level determines what we feel is right and beautiful.  Were we a different species we would likely have different ideas about them.  We know from scientific studies that we enjoy symmetry and certain colors; such biology adds constraints to an inquiry into aesthetics, maybe?  I am not well versed in aesthetics perhaps a word or 2, Sensei?  :D

Wes (grasshopper)

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Posted: 27 February 2006 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I think philosophers have a lot to add in ethics and aesthetics though less about consciousness and personal identity. I suggest that our ethics and aesthetics have limits of validity. Our biology at some level determines what we feel is right and beautiful. Were we a different species we would likely have different ideas about them. We know from scientific studies that we enjoy symmetry and certain colors; such biology adds constraints to an inquiry into aesthetics, maybe? I am not well versed in aesthetics perhaps a word or 2, Sensei? 

Well, I guess I’m not too sure about consciousness and personal identity either, but there are room for questions about “qualia” and what constitutes “survival” that will probably always remain intriguing. (Re. the latter, have you read Derek Parfit’s Reasons and Persons?)

I’m not much of an aesthetician either ... certainly much of what passes for aesthetic judgment is heavily influenced by issues of status and dominance hierarchies, which are both studied a lot in ethology and psychology. That is, we share these hierarchies with other non-human animals, and we are biologically attuned to noticing them, just as much as wolves or gibbons are. One way we “display” dominance is through certain sorts of acceptable fashions and aesthetic displays. I recall seeing wonderful shows with David Attenborough about the male (Indonesian?) bower birds that also build aesthetic dispays around their nests to attract females. Birdsong also has aesthetic properties, even to the birds who hear them. (Females make choices based on who sings “best”, and in some species, males display cognition by having songs that copy the largest range of sounds in the forest).

Whether there is more to aesthetics than status and dominance is a separate question ... I think there is, in the sense that it is clear to me there are certain works of art that appear clearly superior to others, on grounds of complexity, intensity, and so on. But as for working up a theory of all that, many have tried, and I expect they always will.

:wink:

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Posted: 28 April 2006 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitarian-Universalism

Seems that the creed as it were is:

No creedal requirements imposed on its members…

...This emphasis on tolerance and acceptance is a primary difference between Unitarian Universalism and other major religions. Even when one faith tradition is primary within a particular setting, Unitarian Universalists are unlikely to assert that theirs is the “only” or even the “best” way possible to discern meaning or theological truths.

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Posted: 17 May 2006 05:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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In the end we are all animals of the mammalian sort.

When the asteroid strikes there will be a pause while the rock upon which we stand and interact cleans up our debris and another form of life takes charge.

At least when the dinosaurs were the top of the chain there was no concern about slow cooking smaller dinos who didn’t think the sun was a deity worth worshipping. (FYI that’s the way burning at the stake was conducted, a small fire under the feet which took as long as 8 hours to kill)

It’s going to be hard to leave. I do wish that there was someway I could watch what develops from above. There isn’t so I can’t and that’s that.

The UU churches are in their own way each a kind of CFI community.

The distinctions are fairly clear cut, the churches have buildings - we don’t. The churches are each independent of the others, we are and aren’t. The top down structure of CFI leaves the communities pretty much on their own but there is an effort to train the leaders.

The churches take in all comers, so does CFI, surprisingly! If the pope wanted to join we’d let him in.

Jim

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Jimmie Keyes
Tavernier, FL
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: 22 May 2006 11:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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I didn’t mean to bring the topic to an abrupt end but i guess we were ready to stop.

I wanted to say that UU Churches are a fine resource for CFI’ers whether of the mammalian kind or not. If we work together, the members of the local UU church and the local CFI group can benefit from the relationship.

As an example we have a meetup in Miami and we use it to publish the events the UU cong has on its agenda, we also publish the events one of the members of the church publishes for a local “Culture in the City” organization and, via the meetup, we get all of those events on Craig’s list no charge.

In return we expect that the UU Cong will permit the use of its hall to show some of our movies, and for some of our events. Hasn’t happened yet but I’m sure it will
Jim

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Jimmie Keyes
Tavernier, FL
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: 23 May 2006 08:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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I’m really glad of this Jimmy. I think forces keep trying to drive skeptics and religious into polar log jams on these issues. It benefits no one.

It is good that there is a church willing to try different approaches and it is even better that there is a centre for knowledge looking at philosophical inquiry as well.

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Posted: 27 May 2006 03:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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It just has happened, In fact it was probably in my email when I wrote the last comment here. We are showing the “Root of All Evil” at the UU church on Tuesday June 6th as a joint event. We - CFI community of Miami and the UU church are putting it on to fill a weekly evening discussion group’s calendar opening.
So I’ll let you know how it worked following that date.
Jim

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Jimmie Keyes
Tavernier, FL
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: 06 October 2006 07:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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How did it go jimmie?

Sorry to pick up this thread after months of inactivity, but I have a few comments on this topic.

I have been a member of a UU church for a little over a year now. When I initially went, I was a disillusioned christian who thought that christianity had taken some bad turns, but I still believed in God. Going to the UU church and talking to the people there, reading books other members suggested and such helped me on the path from belief to non-belief. I found the church via the Internet and was attracted to a line that said something like “a church where you are free to change your mind”, which to me was very attractive, since I knew I would be changing my mind on some pretty big theological questions. I didn’t want to have to switch churches or organizations every time I changed my mind. At this point I consider myself a Humanist who is agnostic and moving toward atheism. I am still welcome in my church and will continue to be regardless of what I “believe”.

The Unitarian Universalist Association is in my opinion a “church” that has evolved and adapted. Some of the adaptation has been to be less exclusive and some has been in response to scientific discovery. In the congregation that I attend I think most of the members are much more concerned with scientific as opposed to theological or philosophical questions. The UU church came about with the merger of Unitarians (one God, no Trinity) and Universalists (universal salvation) about 40 years ago. Both of these are considered “heretical” doctrines by the christian churchs. The church (or better, organization) has continued to evolve and those two doctrines don’t nessisarily apply to most members or congregations. In any case, it does provide a community for people who want to go to church or seek fellowship and don’t want the dogma and doctrinal creeds of most mainstream churches. Our congregation is called a fellowship and many members don’t like to use the word “church” to describe it. I really like the people there and now that I am a non-believer there is no reason for me to leave. The only reason I could see for leaving would be if I regressed back into some kind of fundementalism.

Anyway, I’m surprised no one posted the “UU Principles” here. So I will. These are as close as you get to any form of “creed” from the UUs, and it’s not mandatory that you believe, adopt, or adhere to them.

1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person.
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all.
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

I imagine some may have a problem with one or more of these, but I don’t. The fact is that there aren’t a helluva lot of scientific or Secular Humanist societies out there right now and a UU church can be a good place to find fellowship and community for Humanists and non-believers. I still use the word “spiritual” but I mean nothing supernatural by it. To me, watching Cosmos is a spiritual experience. Awe, wonder, and reverence for the natural world is extremely “spiritual” in my opinion but I guess these could perhaps better be described as “human”.

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