So, we are all humanists now? Now what ?

The point of my observation that all of supposed theological diversity among UU's is really variations of humanism is this: we can stop treating our theological diversity as the most important thing.

I propose that we ignore it for a while.  There are some things that just need a good leaving alone.

We should talk about other things.

We should be drawing a bright line between liberal religion and fundamentalist religion.  Liberal religion believes that religion is a human cultural product, that no religion is more true than another and the value of religious life is pragmatic -- does it improve life, create justice, and happiness?

We should be evangelizing for the virtues of liberality: reverence and awe, honesty and humility, generosity and gratitude, openness, solidarity, compassion and self-possession.  We should be asking people to decide to make these values the cornerstones of their lives.

When we are at our best, our common commitment to these virtues subsumes and transcends our supposed differences of theological language and liturgical preferences.

I know that our understanding of liberal religion and liberal values is culture-bound.  We have to know who we are and relate to other people who are religiously liberal, but culturally different from a place of honesty and respect.


  1. So what I am hearing you suggest is that we set aside our diversities and unite in opposition to a common enemy, those nefarious, negative and illiberal Samaritans of Christendom, the Fundamentalists, whom everybody hates anyway. If we sacrifice our inner conversation and focus outward on a mandate of positive values, our empire will flourish! People will recognize that we are the good, value-driven souls, and if they join with us in staying focused on the values, they will not have to attend to internal conflicts, either. Peace will reign! It's a catchy idea, but how does it square with Jesus' teachings?

  2. Hi Tom and Keith--I was just breezing through to catch up, and saw this post and Keith's response. I agree with Tom, and I want to suggest this brief answer to Keith's question: principles, not personalities.

    The enemy is fundamentalisms of every kind. Not fundamentalists themselves, whom I am determined to treat with respect as our first principle asks us to do. (even though I would often rather chew nails.) Just as racism is my enemy, not racists; just as patriarchy is my enemy, not sexists; just as homophobia is my enemy, not my sister who can't accept her lesbian daughter.

    It's not about us as individuals, not us as flawed, failed, contradictory human beings. It's about a world that is rapidly becoming hostile to human flourishing because there is only one way to do something AND if you don't agree with that one way you are a piece of $#!?/

    So I am continuing to think about this, and may blog about it myself if I can get two minutes. In the meantime, thanks!


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