Conversation on religion with daughter
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04-10-2015, 05:46 PM
RE: Conversation on religion with daughter
(04-10-2015 04:06 PM)Banjo Wrote:  What is an UU church?

Speaking as someone who still occasionally identifies as UU...

Unitarian-Universalism grew out of Christianity but isn't really Christian any more. They decided that the individual member was who got to come to decisions about doctrinal issues (like whether a god even exists), rather than the minister or congregation or the national Association or scholars centuries-dead, and things snowballed from there into radical free-thought.

Fast-forward to today. There's no doctrinal standards for membership, no statements of faith, and people who in some way describe themselves as atheists, agnostics, secularists, etc make up more of its membership than Christians. Lots of the "can't find homes elsewhere" people end up in UU and a typical congregation will also include pagans, Buddhists, Taoists, and an assortment of new-agers, and especially families from multiple faiths who find it a good compromise. Its principles are firmly humanist. It has services similar to church services in form, including songbooks and choirs and something that sometimes gets called a sermon if that congregation didn't toss the word "sermon" into the bin because it sounds too religious, but the topics range from something about what's in the news lately, ethical living, science, philosophy, and so on. When religions get discussed, it's usually in a "here let's learn about this group this week" sort of way or "hey, that group has an interesting take on this particular topic". When religion is part of the sermon (or discussion or whatever), it is presented in a sort of way that's I refer to as "buffet table", rather than force-fed.

Culturally they're very liberal, with a long history of openly supporting gay members and performing same-sex weddings, ordaining women ministers, and so on, and its religious education component for teens includes a sex-ed course that could be the envy of any public school in the US. This... rubs some more conservative members the wrong way. Along with conservative churches. They're what happens when liberal Christianity jettisons the Christianity, or at least makes the Christianity optional.

There's a bit of a cultural tug-of-war (that has me a bit sour with them) that's between dedicated truth-seeking on one hand and radical inclusion on the other. Part of the mission is a free and responsible search for truth, which should have us examining ideas and creeds with brutal honesty. But on the other hand, another part of the mission is to be a welcoming home for all, including those who don't want to have their beliefs judged. These two come into conflict and the radical inclusion wins out over the truth-seeking too much for my tastes, though I do acknowledge that it's a balancing act and no one's going to be happy with wherever the balance ends up. Also, congregations (churches, whatever they call themselves) vary widely, and one congregation will plant their flag in a very different place from the next.

(04-10-2015 04:57 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(04-10-2015 02:30 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Hey, I'm not completely sure either. You could be the most awesome troll ever.

Can I say I love you for that??

As long as you control the banhammer, you can say whatever you want. Confused
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04-10-2015, 06:25 PM
RE: Conversation on religion with daughter
(04-10-2015 05:46 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(04-10-2015 04:06 PM)Banjo Wrote:  What is an UU church?

Speaking as someone who still occasionally identifies as UU...

Unitarian-Universalism grew out of Christianity but isn't really Christian any more. They decided that the individual member was who got to come to decisions about doctrinal issues (like whether a god even exists), rather than the minister or congregation or the national Association or scholars centuries-dead, and things snowballed from there into radical free-thought.

Fast-forward to today. There's no doctrinal standards for membership, no statements of faith, and people who in some way describe themselves as atheists, agnostics, secularists, etc make up more of its membership than Christians. Lots of the "can't find homes elsewhere" people end up in UU and a typical congregation will also include pagans, Buddhists, Taoists, and an assortment of new-agers, and especially families from multiple faiths who find it a good compromise. Its principles are firmly humanist. It has services similar to church services in form, including songbooks and choirs and something that sometimes gets called a sermon if that congregation didn't toss the word "sermon" into the bin because it sounds too religious, but the topics range from something about what's in the news lately, ethical living, science, philosophy, and so on. When religions get discussed, it's usually in a "here let's learn about this group this week" sort of way or "hey, that group has an interesting take on this particular topic". When religion is part of the sermon (or discussion or whatever), it is presented in a sort of way that's I refer to as "buffet table", rather than force-fed.

Culturally they're very liberal, with a long history of openly supporting gay members and performing same-sex weddings, ordaining women ministers, and so on, and its religious education component for teens includes a sex-ed course that could be the envy of any public school in the US. This... rubs some more conservative members the wrong way. Along with conservative churches. They're what happens when liberal Christianity jettisons the Christianity, or at least makes the Christianity optional.

There's a bit of a cultural tug-of-war (that has me a bit sour with them) that's between dedicated truth-seeking on one hand and radical inclusion on the other. Part of the mission is a free and responsible search for truth, which should have us examining ideas and creeds with brutal honesty. But on the other hand, another part of the mission is to be a welcoming home for all, including those who don't want to have their beliefs judged. These two come into conflict and the radical inclusion wins out over the truth-seeking too much for my tastes, though I do acknowledge that it's a balancing act and no one's going to be happy with wherever the balance ends up. Also, congregations (churches, whatever they call themselves) vary widely, and one congregation will plant their flag in a very different place from the next.

Can I share what you said with my daughter? Your words sound very fair, with pros and cons from your personal experience.

They are still in the researching phase and I think your take may be quite helpful.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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04-10-2015, 07:21 PM
RE: Conversation on religion with daughter
Go ahead! I only have experience with 3 congregations, though, so it's not necessarily representative of the whole.
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04-10-2015, 07:23 PM
RE: Conversation on religion with daughter
(04-10-2015 07:21 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  Go ahead! I only have experience with 3 congregations, though, so it's not necessarily representative of the whole.

Thank you! Thumbsup

Your insight will give her a reference point.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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05-10-2015, 06:20 AM
RE: Conversation on religion with daughter
(04-10-2015 11:46 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  But this last bit really resonated with me,because when my older son came to me and said he was atheist -- I worried that I had made him that way or he felt he had to be...

I quizzed him endlessly and learned he came to it completely on his own....he also said he wasn't completely sure I was an atheist...Laughat

My older daughter is almost seven. I've told her in the past I don't believe in God, but it's not something I talk about very often. Still, any time religious questions get brought up, I try to speak somewhat neutrally when explaining things ("some people believe X"), and I make a point to bring up several points of view.

The biggest thing I'm trying to drive home is that the stuff she'd being taught in church isn't the only thing that people believe. Even though she's being raised nominally Christian, if she starts out not believing that The Church has a monopoly on truth, it will hopefully impact her ability to look at it more objectively.
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