The other day, I spent the afternoon and evening with my 11 year old daughter, who doesn't live with me. We went and bought "The Magic of Reality" for her and ate a nice dinner.
At one point she mentioned that her mother was asking her if she had any interest going to church... but my daughter said "it's one where it doesn't matter what you believe."
She has stated before that her mom has told her that she's allowed to figure out her own conclusions, which I agree with of course. But my daughter has come to be atheist on her own without any original prompting from myself. She is off-the-chain intelligent. Now I'm just supporting her in that.
The closest thing I can think this 'church' would be, is a Unitarian Universalist church. Or some other really watered down 'Christian' type church. And I'm a little concerned obviously. Clumping a bunch of religions together really isn't fixing the problem, if you will. It's a 'nice' thought, but not really getting any closer to the pursuit of truth.Or especially if it's a guise, where they want to be accepting but still follow Christianity to some degree.
And I don't know what she's getting into if they start going.... The phrase 'potential brainwashing' comes to mind, from the leaders or the random people that go.
Does anyone have any experience with Universalist churches?
What do they actually do there at a 'service'?
They seem to accept people of different religions, but also appear to actively push 'spirituality'. Is this a true assessment?
Just want to get some thoughts and advice.
Yeah, no. Let's look to the book A Chosen Faith, which "seeks to set out what it is that Unitarian Universalists believe." "Beacon Press, the official publishing arm of the Unitarian Universalist Association, calls it 'the classic introductory text on Unitarian Universalism'"
Quoting from the link:
Each chapter of A Chosen Faith is about one of the sources from which UUs have drawn ethical and spiritual inspiration. And when it comes to traditional, mainstream religions like Judaism and Christianity, or even New Age "earth-centered" belief systems, [the authors] have nothing but praise and good things to say. But then there's the chapter on secular humanism. In it, the authors grudgingly recognize that atheism has a place in Unitarian Universalism, but they pound home a message about how dangerous it is, how we have to be sure not to rely on it too much, how we have to take extreme care to recognize its limitations. They call skepticism a "mercury pill": a useful medicine in small doses, a deadly poison if you take too much. [...]
And then there's this:
Looking at the religious aspects of many intergroup conflicts, at the violence carried out by zealots in the name of religion, some people conclude that the world would be safer "religion-free." They may even try living this way themselves. But too often they only practice a form of self-delusion. Nature abhors a vacuum and so does the human spirit. As C.S. Lewis said, the opposite of a belief in God is not a belief in nothing; it is a belief in anything. Sweep the demon of religion out the door and, like the story in the Gospels, you may only succeed in making room for an evil spirit worse than the first — this one accompanied by seven friends (Luke 11:24-26; Matt. 12:43-45). Zealous atheism can perform this role of demonic pseudoreligion.
So, this is what the UU church thinks of you and the rest of us. Want to support them by attending services there? I wouldn't. You shouldn't either.
Thanks for passing this along, sir. I read all 3 of his posts about this. It moves the concept away from just sounding ridiculous ... to outright disturbing, for my daughter's sake.
No problem! Happy to help. "Disturbing" seems to be right the word. It's a shame there are as many atheists as there are that are a part of the UU church. I would really hope they would walk away if they found out what such a foundational book to the organization has to say about them and their non-belief.
Certainly. Even aside from that, which is more than enough itself, I couldn't really imagine going to one anyway. It sounds rather ridiculous as an atheist to want to go to some service that caters to all religions. It sounds 'fair' to some perhaps, but as I said, clumping a bunch of religious beliefs together isn't really moving in any real direction, when one surmises that they are all untrue. What's the point?
And for my daughter, what kind of idea it is of her mother's where this is any good for my daughter? They're de facto going to be against her conclusions. That scares me... she's only 11.
I'm curious what they do at their services, or if anyone on here has had experiences with them in general. Anyone?
I agree with you. To me it just gives cover to nonsense beliefs. Someone that stands up and says "I'm a member of the Unitarian Universalists" is standing up to say "Nonsense beliefs aren't an issue."
I'm not sure what they do at their services. Probably just lectures with a humanist feel. I would certainly think that nonbelievers would object to straight up sermons filled with overt references to god and faith and scripture.
I went to a UU service once when I was a theist that had left Christianity. It had a church feel and was very boring. That's all I remember.
OK, as a UU of many, many years, and an open atheist, here's my take.
First and foremost, there is NO statement of a deity, supernatural powers, etc. that is an official tenet of UU. In fact, we completely lack any "dogma", of any sort. Our only overreaching "belief", if you will, is that each person has to find their own answers about their "spirituality", or lack thereof - and they should have a place where they can discuss their ideas, openly and without fear of persecution, and in a respectful manner - and I have never encountered anything other than this, in the two UU congregations I have been in.
We all accept and support the "Seven Principles":
As far as the book mentioned below, "A Chosen Faith", remember that this is just one pastor's opinion of UU; I can tell you that the ministers I have encountered pretty emphatically disagree with this mindset. Remember, I said in another post that there are as many flavors of UU congregations as stars in the sky; this pastor is from one of the older churches that have a decidedly xian bent. My congregations did not.
And keep in mind that when you see "spirituality", it does not necessarily refer to some supernatural entity. I consider myself "spiritual", in that I try to be as good as I can, I try to live my life in a way that demonstrates atheists are "good people" too, I am involved in charitable causes, etc. To me, this is a part of me taking care of my "spirit" or who I am as a person. Sure, it's in my mind, there's no soul, but that's how I - and most UUs - define it.
Check out the national website - UUA.org - and really look around, read more than a couple of things, and see what you find. I also encourage you to read some sermons from my (now retired) local minister, Dr. Edward Frost. He was awesome, and even came out of retirement to marry my eldest daughter because he loves my family. I truly am in awe of him. I think you'll find that there are definitely UU congregations that speak more to "godless spirituality", being a better person, etc. than deities.
If you have more questions, please let me know.
My experiences with the U.U. Church left me feeling very positively about it. Although they do draw from different belief systems, including the Judeo-Christian one, they don't push anything. I don't believe anyone ever even asked what I believe. They were largely irreverent a good part of the time but still made me think about how I belong in the world and who I want to be.
Granted, I never got very involved. I went to some services and some celebrations/ceremonies, and I liked them all. Believe me, I don't like "church" - I can't stomach it. I felt comfortable at the U.U. churches to which I went.
I took my daughters there to offset the damaging nonsense they were being exposed to at their father's house. I wanted them to learn that not all churches are as radical as the Assembly of God ones to which they were being dragged against their will. They are both atheists too, btw. even though I encouraged them to believe if they want to believe. I think their father sealed the deal on that one.
I think it will be to your daughter's advantage to go to the church, actually. She's bright, and she'll only get more food for thought.