Humanists, UUs: all in the timing

Later. I see on his blog that Chris Struble is “testing” Ubuntu Linux. That’s the spirit!

Even later.  I see I accidentally made this post “private”  — sorry.

I ordinarily don’t criticise other theological cohorts within Unitarian Universalism: all it makes is trouble. Smoke and no light. But this is about tactics.

He writes:

Another presenter discussed the future of humanism within Unitarian Universalism. Many humanist UUs report being increasingly marginalized within their congregations by more theistic members, a trend that seems to be coming from UU seminaries and the UUA itself. This has been going on for several years and is a cause for concern though not yet alarm.

OK, I know the AHA and UUA are different organizations with their own goals. But annual meetings in the same city two weeks apart? General Assembly are scheduled years in advance. It may not seem fair, but if I was a Humanist with pull and I wanted to cultivate influence within the Unitarian Universalist Association, I’d have made sure part or all of my conference would have overlapped the UUA GA. Having them apart meant people had to choose. Having them together would mean people could have (imperfectly, I’ll admit) chosen both.

Let this be a cautionary tale for the disaffiliated former Independent Affiliates. Even if they can’t get on the main program, there’s usually a hotel nearby to rent a room from . . . .

5 Replies to “Humanists, UUs: all in the timing”

  1. I dunno. As it is, wiuth GA alone it’s damn near impossible to even find a place to sleep in Portland. I booked in March and I’m in a crappy place with no wifi several miles from the convention center.

    I don’t know that Portland could fit a second conference.


  2. Hmmm… I’m also not inclined to gripe against Humanists anymore, since I think they get a raw deal, AND some folks accuse my Christian faith of being Humanistic (and it probably is).

    What I question from the quoted Humanist, is the assumption that Theistic trends in UU congregations are at the direction of the UUA, Meadville/Lombard, and Starr King. As if they are intentionally cultivating anti-Humanist leadership and programs. I don’t think any of those 3 institutions are that organized to conspire an anti-Humanist strategy.

    What I think is truly going on is a manifestation of contemporary UUism’s lack of a common theological/philosophical foundation (resulting from a misguided notion of what it means to be a non-creedal religion). With no common foundation, or center, the deep theological convictions of the community WILL shift in big ways. Every decade or two we will reinvent ourselves in ways that disconnect us from the previos generation of our own community. The favored conviction in one era (Christian), can be jettisoned for another (Humanism), which can in turn be trashed for the latest new thing (maybe Paganism, or some kind of pan-religious theistic Universalism). It will only be a matter of time before one of today’s favored theological flavors, finds itself on the unfriendly end of a new flavor which proclaims itself in some way more liberal than the previous incarnations.

  3. Maybe we UUs need to change our motto to
    “UUA – where everyone can feel marginalized and oppressed”

    Derek’s theory explains UUs taste in history. Typically it seems that UU history is a list of UU celebrities, and unlike other denominations / religions, we give short shift to the theological founders. Well if we change our theological underpinnings every generation, then the only history we can have is our celebrity UUs list – because otherwise is to have to explain why these people who are like us, arent like us in that way.

  4. Well, around here the Humanists are pretty much shut out of the major local UU Church. Why? I put it down to the mistaken perception of some UU clergy that Humanists are atheists. This misunderstanding is not solely due to the Unitarians, because we have seen local Humanists holding the same incorrect conviction.

    Regrettably, few Humanists and probably even fewer Unitarians are familiar with the official statement of what Humanism is about. For some incomprehensible reason the main organ of Humanism, HUMANIST magazine, does not regularly reproduce the Manifesto, let alone publish discussions of it or host blogs to discuss it.

    Were Humanists, and Unitarians, to actually read the Humanist Manifesto of 2003 they might notice that it does not even mention the words God or atheism. The concept is simply neither interesting to Humanists nor important to them since Humanist ethics is rooted in human experience, not in revelation.

    Atheism and theism and God are discussed in metaphysics. But Humanism is not about metaphysics at all. Humanism is an ETHICAL, not a metaphysical, system through which we can move above and beyond the assertions of traditional religions – and beyond their mere negation as well.

    Humanist ethics is completely independent of deities, so humanists need not care about their claimed existence or denial of it. This “don’t care” attitude is called “ignostic” (America) or “indifferentist” (OED) and is neither theist nor atheist.

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