Monday, November 05, 2007

Tell us about one of the groups to which you belong

This thread is your oppotunity to tell us about one of your current affiliations. It could be a home schooling group, a mountain biking club, a religious group, an online community of people with similar interests. Give us a link and/or an introduction. What is one of your hobbies or passions that you regularly chat with others about? How did you become involved?

I'll go first. I am a Unitarian Universalist. My wife, Lilly of the Field, and I left the LDS Church at roughly the same time and shortly thereafter became agnostics/atheists. We wanted to keep all that we liked about our previous lives as Mormons and change and improve on the things we did not like. We both enjoy feeling peace, transcendence, unity, joy, comfort. We wanted to be part of a community that encouraged those feelings through hymns and the sharing of thoughts and experiences, but without supernatural emphasis. I'd rather not have to filter through a bunch of stuff I don't believe that is taught from the pulpit as if it were the undisputed truth. I would not be comfortable with that.

We also wanted to be taught the sorts of things we were now into: environmentalism, skepticism, personal spiritual journeys, justice for all regardless of race, gender, orientation, etc. I wanted a community that I could raise my children in with those values and have mentors for them that would encourage exploration of ideas. I wanted people I could turn to for support during times of hospitalization, deaths, births, marriages, etc. I wanted to be able to unite to accomplish greater good through community service and pressure on legislatures. I wanted to enjoy community pot-lucks, seminars, and functions, etc.

Basically, I wanted an atheist church that valued a non-supernatural spirituality. I briefly entertained the idea of starting my own atheist church, but then I learned that they already exist. So, we visited a local Community of Reason, and I emailed several other secular humanist groups and freethinking "churches", but we found them to be devoid of spirituality and not very kid friendly. They felt more like academic societies with weekly lectures, than a church community. But, then we heard that many post-mormons had found a home in Unitarian Universalism. So, we went to our local one and felt right at home. It was a spiritual community that accepted atheists just the way we are. The sermons prompt introspection and contemplation. I have no fear that my kids will be indoctrinated. I am learning to be more tolerant of others who do have supernatural beliefs.

Unitarian Universalism has no creed dictating that all UU's must believe such and such. Instead, there are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Here is a link to a ten minute film on Unitarian Universalism.

Windows Media Version

Real Video Version

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