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Hypothetical “what ifs” are so much fun, because there’s no real answer. One can’t know.
Actually, Susan, there IS “A real answer”. Actually, there are TWO:
YES, or NO.
So I’ll repeat the question again, in hopes that you will *actually answer it* this time (which I already know won’t happen):
Given the UU position on “Free and responsible search for truth” and suchlike, would you — NOT necessarily “Unitarian Universalism” in general, but YOU, personally — be “welcoming” toward a LaVeyan Satanist who (for whatever reason) wanted to attend your congregation?
Sorry to tell you this, but yes, “One” CAN know — at least for oneself.
Assuming that someone who is *currently* a member of your UU congregation concluded (as part of their “free and responsible search”) that they should become a “Born-Again” Christian.
ALSO assume that afterward they didn’t just placidly leave, but instead insisted on not only continuing to attend, but *also* on attempting to “save” the other congregants. (After all, this scenario isn’t really that far-fetched, given your statement that you “love” one another.
I guess what I’m ultimately asking is: does that “Free and responsible search” have stuff which you would consider somehow “beyond the pale?”
(I’m not trying to put you on the spot, exactly — except that on some level I *am*, because UUism makes such a big deal out of the “diverse beliefs” of its members.)
Now, here’s the thing:
If “one can’t know” is merely a euphemism for “I haven’t personally bothered to think about the issues raised by this question”, then that’s okay. That kind of “handwaving” isn’t unique to Unitarian Universalists, by any means.
It’s like that thing people used to ask when I tried to explain nonviolence. “But what would you do if you came home and found someone attacking a member of your family?” The best I could say was, “Probably the same thing I would try to do if I came home and a member of my family was attacking someone else.”
More hand-waving. That’s cute.
Personally, this is one reason why I cannot take “nonviolence” seriously, as an ideological stance. Far too often, “nonviolence” is merely a cover for the “bystander” effect. Look it up.
But based on incidents that have actually occurred in our congregation, when people are drawn to one of the more biblically oriented evangelical Christian religions, they don’t stick around trying to convert hundreds of people. The seek out others of like mind in other churches to rejoice with and lament the fate of all those UU heathens.
Hmm. To me, that speaks volumes. You’d *think* (IF the “relationship” or “community” ran as deep as UU agitprop wants us to believe it does), that someone in that position would be *desperate* to attempt to “save” those they viewed as their (former) spiritual family.
If one did want to remain among us for some reason, I’m pretty sure they would be told that we celebrate the meaning they have found for their lives, but must respect the rights of others to seek their own truths. But they simply would not be happy and would not last. People do self select, choosing to be where they are comfortable.
In other words, they would most likely end up being ostracized, to the point where they “chose” to leave.
No doubt there would be ample opportunities to *help* such an individual to “recognize” exactly how “uncomfortable” they really were….
I don’t want to address all those other “what ifs.” There’s no point, and we could dialog about it endlessly and get nowhere very helpful. I can only say that people of good will are welcome among us if being part of our community is meaningful and rewarding for them.
But that’s the thing: WHO gets to designate if any specific individual is a “person of good will?” You’ve just tacitly admitted that anyone whose “free and responsible search for truth” took them (for example) too far toward Christianity (for example) would — hopefully — become “uncomfortable”, and then “self-select” out of your “community”.
Remember: for many Christians, leading others to (what they consider to be) “Salvation” is most definitely “meaningful and rewarding”.
Translation: “I’m not going to bother to actually answer your hypothetical questions, because doing so would require a level of introspection which makes me uncomfortable.”
All I requested was a series of “yes” or “no” answers, backed up by explanation of the relevant context.
You chose to hand-wave most of my questions away, and what passed for “answers” were little more than exactly the sort of contentless bromides which make me not take UUism seriously.
I have been with our congregation for quite some years now, and the congregation has grown and matured in its understanding of spirituality.
How so? Any specifics? Any serious “mis-steps” as a congregation that you regret?
Your sentence didn’t actually *tell* me anything, Susan. Just sayin’.
We experienced some of those struggles you mention, for example, what language is acceptable and what language might offend someone, or should we change the words to a song. We have managed to get through those struggles successfully. Not all congregations do, for sure.
Huh? Lemme get this straight:
Your idea of a ‘struggle” revolves around whether or not you should change the words of a song, etc. so as not to OFFEND someone?
I’m almost afraid to ask this, but: how does that work, exactly?
How many of your congregants have to find something “offensive” before you start self-censoring, or dumbing things down?
What about if *different factions* find the same thing to be “offensive” — but in different ways?
(Oh wait — that’s one of those pesky hypotheticals, again. As you said: “One Can’t know”.)
I *do* take your statement to indicate that “not all congregations” actually manage to successfully be sufficiently “innoffensive” to everybody involved. What happens then? Is this maybe why your membership has such a “revolving door” aspect to it?
Like every other human endeavor, UU-ism is not perfect. If it’s not for you, you certainly don’t need to bother with it. I’m not interested in debating about it, although I’m happy to talk if you’re sincerely searching. But I really do wish you could visit our congregation. Sometimes personal experience is more helpful than intellectualizing. I wish you well in your own spiritual search, wherever it takes you!
Thanks for the — dunno if that was a “compliment”, exactly, but…yeah.
“Sometimes personal experience is more helpful than intellectualizing”.
Again: heh. I thought the whole point of that “free and responsible search for truth” thing you pride yourselves on neccesarily included the ability to hold EVERYTHING up to rational scrutiny — INCLUDING the theological (or pseudo-theological) pretensions of UUism, itself.
To be totally honest, at one point I *had* thought of UUism as some sort of legitimate option (mainly because I hadn’t actually bothered to examine your organzational agitprop in any great detail).
I’m not the sort of person who just blindly shows up on a stranger’s doorstep. I like to actually know something about any “community” BEFORE I put myself into a position where I might be “love-bombed” into becoming irrationallly attached. I guess you could call that an integral aspect of exactly the sort of “free and responsible serach for truth” in which I have engaged since childhood.
I *do* find it interesting that an article I posted that long ago (mostly in passing) has generated this much commentary. Maybe I need to blog MORE about UUism. 🙂
Now, here’s why I bumped that to being a post (as opposed to just letting it languish in the comments section):
did you notice how she differentiated between “debating” about it, and “sincerely searching?” I can’t help but take that to me that — at least in her mind — a “sincere search” would necessarily involve joining them.
So far, from what I’ve been able to glean from their own organizational agitprop (various websites, etc.) the publically-aired experiences of “former” UU folks, and what (scant) media coverage/non-UU sources I’ve found – the results are not impressive at all