Anyone here ever run into a Unitarian Universalist (UU) church before? It's a nondogmatic nondoctrinal church that is atheist friendly. It does not push any notion of gods or damnation. It simply put does not tell it's members, or anyone else, what to believe. Instead its services focus on using love, compassion, and reason to put issues before it's members. It welcomes all although those looking for dogma doctrine and hellfire will probably not find anything to their liking.
It's a place for people more interested in community than condemnation. Each UU Church tends to have its own flavor. My church for example trends towards atheist/humanist. The minister as well as most members are various stripes of atheists.
So the question is does the words church, religion, or sermon carry too much stigma for you or is this sort of thing interesting to some, or is it just useless nonsense?
Az, I was Unitarian for many years. I didn't quit per se, just sort of faded away. I've been to congregations in Indiana, Chicago, some in Oregon and one in WA state. Some are rather theist, some are much more open as you say.
I liked UU for the sense of community. I think some families benefit by having their kids go there, to explore ideas about religions, ethics, morals, and again, community.
Not being into rituals and substitute-holidays, I felt out of place. My favorite was in Indiana during the summer when the minister was off, and they had guest speakers or members gave the talks.
I don't know about calling it a church. I was happier with the one called a fellowship.
I belonged to a UU 'church' for a while. I don't like the notion of calling it church either. I thought my kids, who were teens then, and not 18 and 20 like they are now, would come with me, since they had gone there with their friends sometimes. No one was interested in getting up and going on a Sunday morning. I also didn't feel like I fit-in. I didn't finish my college degree, and there were LOTS of teachers there. They disapproved of homeschooling ( a few homeschoolers there too though), but my son was homeschooled, and my daughter was not, so they didn't know what to think I guess. They were polite, and some were very kind, but I just didn't FEEL like I belonged, even though one of my closest friends, who is an Atheist, is very active there. I haven't gone in years.~ Melinda
Melinda, it's interesting. I felt out of place at most of the UU too, except for one. That was the one that called itself a "fellowship" instead of a "church", but it wasn't the name, it was the atmosphere. fMaybe some of us just dont fit in?
It is interesting Sentient. I feel like I don't fit anywhere anymore. Intelligent, though I didn't finish college. Grown kids, although I'm 'only' 45. I look like what I am, a middle-age, Midwestern housewife, but I am VERY Liberal, and an Atheist. I don't fit-in in this city anyway!
The details are different. But I know how you feel when it comes to not fitting in.
This hits at the flavor aspect of UU congregations. Start praising god in the church I go to and you can hear the necks of most members turning to stare at you. There is a uu joke that goes the last time I heard Jesus mentioned in the UU Church was when the janitor fell down the stairs.
It's definitely not for everyone. But atheists benefit from active positive organized (well semi organized) groups just like everyone else. It took me a long time to get over certain words as well. Heck I have stories of going all Damien/Omen when my folks (both soft atheists) tried to take me to see historic churches in Boston when I was a child. So I was pretty certain the church should check its fire insurance before I walked in.
But over time and via a bit of research I came to realize that the issues I had with various words and such were really the result of the Christians hijacking those words. I still have some issues such as the word faith (which I doubt I will ever shake) but the community and connectivity more than overcomes that.
But as ever the great thing about being a human is we all get our own opinion.
Good discussion. I tried going to some of the local UUs, feeling that need for community. If they were like one of the prior ones I went to, I might still be going. I appreciated the sense of community.
My local atheist meetup gives me a sense of community. If it was more frequent, I would go more often. The month between meetings is a bit long. In a metro area of maybe a million people, it seems like there should be a few common "spirits" (to use that word).
It's nice to see that the style of your local UU suits you. I wouldn't try to discourage anyone from going. If my local UU started a discussion time, free of ritual, without hymns, and no particular format other than mutual respect, that might be interesting.
That's a tough one. My husband and I were married by a UU minister, and she was very Humanist-friendly. I haven't been in a while but I'm thinking of going back just for the conversation--you know, a chance to meet open-minded people of various stripes.
That is a good point Diane.
I'm the same Diane.