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Switch to Forum Live View diversity? wishy washy? core befliefs?
6 years ago  ::  May 21, 2008 - 9:03PM #1
bob2
Posts: 176
One reason why we talk so much about tolerance is because we are in fact incredibly diverse. We have Atheists, Deists, Christians, Pagans, Taoists, Buddhists, etc. in one room. Do we have anything in common? Our detractors say we are wishy washy and we allow so many beliefs that it is obvious that we don't really believe in anything.

Even those who are active members of congregations sometimes complain that we are too broad, too shallow and it's difficult to find a deeper spirituality within UUism.

A year or so ago there was a member on this board who had been active for several years but left UU to join Unity. I think she said that she was seeking a deeper spirituality , and she found that UUism was spiritually shallow.

In a similar way New_Earth is exploring New Thought as a path that might be a better and deeper fit for her than UU.

As I understand it, this is also the reason why the American Unitarian Conference ( see the AUC sticky at the top of the page) was formed. Monotheism is one of the accepted beliefs within the UUA but the AUC provides a place where people can delve more deeply into Monotheism than can easily be done within the UUA.

I don't think UUism is a shallow religion, but I do feel that our deep roots are in a different place from other religious paths. The deep center of our faith is not any particular belief, rather it is a way of searching and questioning our beliefs which is the central core of UUism.

1. Unitarian Universalists believe that revelation is not sealed. That idea comes out of our Christian heritage. In traditional language, we do not believe that "God" has stopped revealing "himself" with the Bible; we believe that truth is an ongoing process that can be found in different places.
2. Unitarian Universalists also believe in individual interpretation of revelation. Historically this referred to individual interpretation of the bible, but today it could be of any religious or philosophical text.
3. Unitarian Universalism is theologically liberal, in the 19th century meaning of that word. We believe that it is normal and natural for each generation, within their cultural and historical setting, to reinterpret the religious tradition in light of their own experience.


Taken together, these three things are an important part of what makes us Unitarian Universalists.

Some UUs are Atheists. Some are Christian or Pagan. Some are Taoist or New Thought. These differences are relatively unimportant. What makes us UUs is that we are Atheists or Christians or Taoists or people in the New Thought movement , who value the above 3 processes almost more than our current beliefs themselves.

Yes Unitarian Universalism does change every 40 years or so. Yes those changes can be painful. We change because the heart of UU is commitment to that process of difficult, and sometimes divisive,  change.

I am personally Agnostic, sort of Christian, sort of Pagan, sort of Naturalist ,and am influenced by a bit of everything else. I'm nor "deep" into any of them. My deep set of  core beliefs are those three statements about process.

Yes, sometimes I find that my Sunday morning experience isn't quite as deep or profound as I might want it to be. Sometimes I need to go to separate Christian, Pagan or other weeknight meetings to get deeper into those traditions (than I would get on Sunday mornin). I am a UU because that is relatively less important than my commitment to the process.
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6 years ago  ::  May 25, 2008 - 9:25AM #2
eklectic
Posts: 40
[QUOTE=bob2;515663]My deep set of  core beliefs are those three statements about process. I am a UU because that is relatively less important than my commitment to the process.[/QUOTE]

The question that comes to my mind about UU, Bob, is: a process...to what? Where is it (or what is it) that UU's
want to go or be?

I'm not specifically talking about places like a literal heaven or hell. Most of Christianity, sadly, lives in that paradigm. But there is probably a wide range of thought as to where or what Deists, Buddhists, Taoist, Christians, and Atheist think we "end up." Some believe we become in union with "God." Others with nature. Some believe we simply die. Others think we get recycled. :)

While I admire the UU notion that beliefs (a set of mental assents) are not as important as the journey of life, it is human nature to wonder where our lives lead to. In this sense, I think beliefs are very important because they form the structure for how we live our lives from day to day. For instance, if I was having a conversation with an Atheist who said that it was okay to let the starving die because we are all just dirt anyway, I would have such a different view that "unity" could not be found on that issue.

My feelings on it, from being an outsider, is that UU tries so hard to include everyone, to make no distinctions whatsoever, to talk about the "process", that it doesn't talk about where the process might lead. And the problem with having no goals is that we take an "I'm okay, you're okay" attitude that doesn't lead to any change in a world (and in a human race) that needs some drastic changes.

So where does the "process" lead? Or where do you want it to lead?
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6 years ago  ::  May 25, 2008 - 12:45PM #3
jamlawken
Posts: 75
"So where does the "process" lead? Or where do you want it to lead?"

The last sentences in "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris are:

"Clearly, it must be possible to bring reason, sprirtuality, and ethics together in our thinking about the world.  This would be the beginning of a rational approach to our deepest personal concerns.  It would also be the end of faith."

At least the end of faith as it as been practiced, used, and misused for millenia.  Perhaps this is where the UU process could lead.

Sincerely
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6 years ago  ::  May 25, 2008 - 5:56PM #4
eklectic
Posts: 40
[QUOTE=jamlawken;523171]"It would also be the end of faith." At least the end of faith as it as been practiced, used, and misused for millenia.  Perhaps this is where the UU process could lead.[/QUOTE]

Perhaps, Jamlawken, but it still doesn't answer the question, does it? The end of faith? To what end? What is left after all faith disappears? Pure rationalism? All head with no heart? The survival of the fittest (which is definately a rationalist belief)?

I don't think faith is the problem, just, as you have said, the way it has been misused. But one of the tenets of post-modernism is that there is no such thing as completely objective reality or truth. To see a thing involves taking it in and interpreting it. If that is true, then even rationalists have faith -- faith in rationalism.

So what is left when faith comes to an end? Is what remains a "rationalistic faith"? If so, what would that look like in a personal life, in a society?
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6 years ago  ::  May 25, 2008 - 6:06PM #5
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832

eklectic wrote:


So what is left when faith comes to an end? Is what remains a "rationalistic faith"? If so, what would that look like in a personal life, in a society?



This may seem like a snap answer, but I truly don't think any of us can answer these questions, immured as we are in various "faith contexts." Unless, of course, we want to fall back upon faith in the sense of having confidence that humankind can arrive at a solution to most problems?

I'm not sure.

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6 years ago  ::  May 25, 2008 - 5:56PM #6
eklectic
Posts: 40
[QUOTE=jamlawken;523171]"It would also be the end of faith." At least the end of faith as it as been practiced, used, and misused for millenia.  Perhaps this is where the UU process could lead.[/QUOTE]

Perhaps, Jamlawken, but it still doesn't answer the question, does it? The end of faith? To what end? What is left after all faith disappears? Pure rationalism? All head with no heart? The survival of the fittest (which is definately a rationalist belief)?

I don't think faith is the problem, just, as you have said, the way it has been misused. But one of the tenets of post-modernism is that there is no such thing as completely objective reality or truth. To see a thing involves taking it in and interpreting it. If that is true, then even rationalists have faith -- faith in rationalism.

So what is left when faith comes to an end? Is what remains a "rationalistic faith"? If so, what would that look like in a personal life, in a society?
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6 years ago  ::  May 25, 2008 - 6:06PM #7
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,832

eklectic wrote:


So what is left when faith comes to an end? Is what remains a "rationalistic faith"? If so, what would that look like in a personal life, in a society?



This may seem like a snap answer, but I truly don't think any of us can answer these questions, immured as we are in various "faith contexts." Unless, of course, we want to fall back upon faith in the sense of having confidence that humankind can arrive at a solution to most problems?

I'm not sure.

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6 years ago  ::  May 26, 2008 - 8:59AM #8
jamlawken
Posts: 75
"But one of the tenets of post-modernism is that there is no such thing as completely objective reality or truth. To see a thing involves taking it in and interpreting it."

Last I checked there are still some "truths" such as F=ma, V=IR, quartz is harder than calcite, an elephant has more mass than an ant...I know that when I fall off the ladder I go down and not up.  In my opinion the tenet of post-modernism is not always correct.  There are things that can be proven to be true and don't require "rationalistic faith".  The point of the end of faith is to distinguish between what can be proven (all organisms die) and what must be taken on faith (there is an afterlife).  The problem arises when what has to be taken on faith is given the same standing in all situations as what is known to be true by reason.

By the way, survival of the fittest is an outdated theory of how biological evolution occurred.  The late Dr. Stephen Gould proposed punctuated equilibrium where organisms diversified into environmental niches newly opened by earth process such as plate tectonics and became extinct as the niches closed up.

Sincerely
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 16, 2008 - 7:46AM #9
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,275
Ok my Question is if you are a athiest why would you want to go go to Church? even a UU ?
"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.
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6 years ago  ::  Aug 16, 2008 - 10:27AM #10
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,000

jupiter6208 wrote:

Ok my Question is if you are a atheist why would you want to go go to Church? even a UU ?

Community and learning. 

Humans are social animals.  They tend to gather with like minded people for all of the usual reasons, friendship, conversation and support among many others.  Many atheists are not anti-religion and are not even anti-God.  They do not find the unifying dogma of conventional churches convincing, but still need the community functions provided by conventional churches.  A good diverse UU church usually provides the community functions without the dogma. 

Humans are also thinking animals.  They are concerned about living and dying just like the theists are, but do not accept God as the answer.  But religions have worked out answers over thousands of years, and some of the answers can work without God.  Those who come to UU after rejecting the dogma of their previous faith will frequently have some of those non-dogmatic answers to share.  One of the big issues for atheists is, or should be, coming to terms with mortality.  If God is not the concierge at the country club for the soul after the body dies, how do we deal with the fact that life is finite.  As Forrest Church has taught us, theists and atheists alike, for years, and is showing us now as he is dying, birth and death are the hinges on which a meaningful life swing.  Theists and atheists alike need to create a life worth dying for. 

Jcarlinbn, community moderator
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