I have been following, and even occasionally tweeting links to, the small, relatively new site calling its self “UU Humanist Symposium“. it seems that I will not be doing this any more.
They have posted many things that I found interesting. They have certainly posted things that I have found controversial. They have posted a number of things that I thought might lead to some interesting discussions, and it seems that several others thought so as well.
The problem is that it seems as though the community of the UU Humanist Symposium is not interested in interesting discussion and intelligent disagreement.
I point those who wish to read it to this post, where someone asks some serious and reasonable questions about the content and context of a post, and is insulted and banned for the effort.
This brings to mind my often-stated concern that we Unitarian Univerasalists are much better at Free than Responsible.
After the theist makes it clear that he accepts the atheist as part of his spiritual movement, the atheist (for I can’t call his replies “Humanist”) tells the theist that there isn’t room in the UU Humanist movement for a theist, and that he won’t even bother to try and explain why, instead blocking the querent from further participation.
This is a problem I have with militant atheists, and why I have problems accepting that some of them are committed to the 7 Principles. There are some great hUUmanists out there. I consider myself a mystical humanist, due to my acceptance of the fact that there is no “mighty hand of God” at work in the world today. Being a humanist means, to me, accepting that humanity is in charge of our own destiny, and that we have to take collective responsibility for making it a good one. To me, the 7 Principles are an excellent guideline to creating that better future and a Beloved Community. That includes “Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth” as well as “A free and responsible search for truth and meaning“. What I saw was one Unitarian Universalist trying to meaningfully engage another in an instance where the latter was pushing the bounds of a responsible statement. Instead of seeing that as encouragement, the second UU resorted to name calling and censorship of an alternate but completely UU view point.
The most UU viewpoint, in my understanding, is a healthy skepticism and honest agnosticism. It is fine to say that your life is fulfilling enough without concern for the supernatural; it is quite another to refuse to entertain the idea of something that is currently outside of the ability of science to test, much less comprehend. We are, ultimately, a religious movement. The idea that there is a creator who wants better for us and from us is an inseparable aspect of a church. The Great Mystery is essential to the philosophies and the lives of so many UUs, as it has been for our intellectual predecessors.
I will not be following this blog and longer. I will not encourage others to do so. Many of the post seemed to me to reflect an irresponsible viewpoint, and one that is being voiced more and more loudly by people in our Unitarian Universalist communities. It is not, in my understanding, an acceptable UU philosophy to be wed to your ideas to the point of irrationality. It is not healthy to be so dedicated to an idea that you cannot even abide civil dissent. It is dangerous for us to embolden those who seek to eliminate God from our churches. It will prove fatal to our movement if we allow fundamentalist factions to fracture our small movement. There has to be room for all seekers-after-truth. We cannot try to shut down those who disagree with our theologies as long as they fellowship with us in good faith and good will.
There is no room in my congregation for fundamentalists or any stripe, who cannot be wrong because they are righteous. There is not room for those who cannot have reasonable disagreements or debate. There is no room for those whose philosophies cannot be questioned. It is outside the bounds of my Principles, and the Principles of the UUA as I understand them. We need our principles to act as a covenant between us; with out at least that, we have nothing to rally around. Without that covenant, we accept that anything goes, and the behavior of this on-line community has proven that being a UU has to be about more than paying dues.