Camels With Hammers
Philosophy, Ethics, Atheism, Nietzsche
Here is James Croft of Temple of the Future on where we go once God is dead.
Help James’s group build a Humanist community center. James recently explained why it’s so important.
I wish he had spent much more time unpacking “God is dead” and discussing how and why God is playing a diminishing role in society. There are a number of Sociologists of religion who would disagree with this and it would have been nice to see him engage in some of the counter arguments (or possible counter arguments) to that idea. I thought his comments concerning the “Don’t Tread On Me” flag wasn’t necessary and the time he did spend on talking about how we “kicked the squinty eyed snake in the face” could have been used elsewhere.
Looking back on my notes form this talk (I attended), I had wished he opened with Nietzsche’s parable of the madman. The number of people I spoke with seemed confused about the phrase “God is Dead” and wanted to know if God doesn’t exist, how could he be dead in the first place? It didn’t take much more explaining to get the concept across, so I think it might be worth James’ time to re-tool that part of his talk to make it a little more clear. I also jotted down “less theatre and more analysis”.
On a personal level I didn’t care for the talk, but reasons having more to do with content rather than quality. I’m hardly a progressive, have a strong steak of anti-liberalism in my communitarian values, and I’m deeply suspicious of the kind of social activism he advocates for (I think it breeds alienation and erodes solidarity in the long run). So I’m not really the kind of person James had in mind when making this presentation and I understand and respect that.
God is dead – that could explain the stench of organized religion.
Why join a Humanist community center when Unitarian Universalist churches exist?
If this question is answered in the video, I’m sorry but I’m at work and cannot watch it.
Unitarian-Universalism, while probably one of the most innocuous expressions of the religious paradigm in existence, is not without baggage of its own. I attended a UU church in my youth for many years (both parents are atheists but sought community, etc.) and there is plenty there for a person to object to.
The syncretism is probably the part that rubbed me the wrong way the most; if something barely makes sense when situated in its native context, surrounded by complementary culture, ceremony, and the meanings that they help provide participants, it isn’t likely to make sense *at all* when divorced from those contexts and presented as, essentially, a neat cultural idiosyncrasy from interesting people who live somewhere very far from here. It lent a very uncomfortable, voyeuristic, exploitative aspect to the UU approach to other group’s religious and cultural heritages.
The Seven Principles are written to be pretty damn inclusive and inoffensive, but a person could easily have good faith objections to 3, 5, and 7. Particularly 5 jumps out, since democracy is neither inherently good nor apodictically the best method for organizing human affairs.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that UUism is a great expression of what religion can be if people doing religion decided to get over the obsession with having the right answer. Their social commitments to being gay and trans friendly are head-and-shoulders above their peers, and they don’t take any misogynistic guff either. But there are certainly things about Unitarian-Universalism that a person looking for a humanist or freethought community could object to, things that would be easily distinguished from, say, a humanist community center not operating under the same rubric of principles.
Thanks for the reply. I have to admit that I don’t personally feel comfortable at UU churches, but that may be just the result of four years at Oral Roberts University ruining any form of church forever for me.
It’s main advantage for me is that it’s a place where I, an atheist apostate, and my wife, a heretical Christian universalist, can both attend. I’m not sure that would be encouraged at a Humanist/atheist community center.
It’s main advantage for me is that it’s a place where I, an atheist apostate, and my wife, a heretical Christian universalist, can both attend.
If UU churches had a unique utility, that would be it. It’s a great place for folks who are coming from different places in a religious sense to actually share a community and religious experience without asking really harsh compromises of one or the other partner. Some family friends of ours attended the same UU church I did growing up, and their main motivation was in finding a comfortable solution for their kids given a conflict of religions in the family (one parent was Jewish, the other Catholic, neither particularly orthodox by any means).
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