UU social and political values are humanist values for improving people’s quality of life and standard of living. There is an observable, inverse correlation between UU humanist values and UU The Religious Faith. The values UUs profess are most evident in the states and in the countries that are the least religious. The states in the US with the lowest quality of life are the most religious and the countries in Europe with the highest standard of living are the least religious.
There is a long standing debate over whether science and religion are compatible. Science is objective, relying on empirical evidence and the scientific method. Religious supernaturalism, on the other hand, is subjective and entirely based on faith. When empirically tested and its tenets subjected to the scientific method, all religions fall apart, except as folk tales.
Saying that UU is inclusive and welcoming to atheists and secular humanists, while proclaiming UU to be a religious faith, would be like a church for Aryans, celebrating Aryan spirituality and rituals, saying they are welcoming to Jews, Africans, and Asians.
Maybe it is time for UU to embrace its humanist side and stop trying to promote UU The Religious Faith. It is intellectually disingenuous and it’s not working. It’s not working because it is intellectually disingenuous.
Additionally, were Unitarian Universalists to decide to be less conflicted in their religious vs. humanist identity they might also consider the incongruities in their outdated name.
Unitarianism is the belief that God is one, not three. Unitarianism rejects the concept of the Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Unitarianism is no longer a concern of UUs. To the extent UUs are Christians, UUs are no more Unitarians than other Christian denominations. Have you ever heard a UU minister preach a Unitarian themed sermon rejecting the Trinity?
Universalists believe that when Jesus the Christ died on the Cross, he died for all our sins and we are all saved, we are all going to heaven, salvation is universal. This is not a theme in UUism today.
UU as a religious faith must compete in the religious marketplace with every other church on every main street and back road in America. It’s not able to do that. It cannot.
Youth and growth is with the “Nones”, those who do not identify with any religious faith. Humanist groups and young adult meet-ups are flourishing across the United States. UU growth would require getting on board with this trend and recognizing and embracing the future. Furthermore, UUs are neither Unitarians nor Universalists. Unitarianism and Universalism are not current concepts or concerns. There is no mention of these ideas in the UU Seven Principles. They aren’t brought up as relevant doctrines. (There is also no mention in the UU Seven Principles of God, religion, faith, worship, Jesus, ministry, etc., in fact, nothing that would indicate UU is a religion at all unless you interpret, “encouragement to spiritual growth” to be religious.)
UUs are educated, concerned, and thoughtful. UU probably has the largest number of humanists among its membership of any organization in the country. UU languishes but the potential is there for a dynamic and influential organization. UU values are humanist values and should be its identity and in its name.
In theory and on paper the UUA is an association of congregations, but in practice, (and because power loves a vacuum) UU has become, over time, an organization by and for its leaders. Can “credentialed” UU ministers and the established UUA bureaucracy embrace change or are they threatened by it?
UU is at a crossroads. Is UU to be a humanist voice for the “99%” with an emphasis on improving peoples standard of living and quality of life or will leadership continue to promote UU as a religious faith? UU would be much better served by forming alliances with organizations like the American Humanist Association than by furthering its associations with the United Church of Christ, which, by the way, has seen an even steeper decline in membership and congregations than has UU.