Broadly speaking, “Unitarian Universalism” (or something functionally indistinguishable) is what must result, when any given “religion” abandons the following points:
- The (implicit or explicit) claim that its tenets are (broadly) true
- The (tacit or explicit) claim that what it proscribes/prescribes is good
- The (tacit or explicit) claim that it is (at the bare-minimum) “more” correct/valuable than its competitors.
Now, I am fully aware that the above statements might be “controversial”. However, I have never encountered a religion which explicitly stated that it was false, that its specific taboos/sacraments/lists of “virtues” and “vices” were irrelevant, or which granted validity to the myriad of other religions which have existed — both historically, and currently.
Fundamentally, any religion necessarily contains some sort of (implicit or explicit) metaphysics. Tacitly or explicitly, religions also typically offer some sort of epistemological guidance. (For example: the – explicit or implicit – claim that particular texts are “divinely inspired’, and the advocacy of “faith”, etc.
Another basic aspect of religions is the system of ethnics they advocate.
Now, here’s the thing about “Unitarian Universalism”:
The only way that “Unitarian Universalists” can PRETEND that they’re doing something genuinely valuable by participating in UUism, is by deliberately lying – to themselves, other UU participants — and (most importantly) to everyone else.
First, they need to lie to themselves. They do this, by pretending that the myriad other factions of Unitarian Universalists (even within their own congregation) actually share any sort of “beliefs” in common.
Except, of course, that they don’t. THIS is where the second level of dishonesty comes into play.
They lie to one another, mostly by “omission” — by resorting to what I can only describe as the “religious” version of “political correctness” — to the point where they can’t even risk having content in their songs, for fear that it might be “offensive” to somebody.
At the same time, they pretend that it is actually possible to “respect” all religions — and all sub-types OF any given religion – equally.
Except, of course, for the fact that it’s NOT actually possible to do that.
For example: gay/lesbian/”trans” equality: EITHER you are “accepting” of such things (within a specific context) — or you’re not. Moreover, if you are an advocate of such equality, then you really cannot “respect” (for example) the Westboro Baptist church.
Another (somewhat more esoteric) example is what passes for discussion between so-called “theists” and so-called “Atheists”.
In most cases, the discussion is utterly inane — UNLESS the participants get around to explicitly defining key terms — and agree to exclusively operate on the basis of those definitions, at least within the confines of that specific debate.
For example: if two individuals happen to be using the term “God” to designate radically different concepts (say, one is a monotheist, while the other is a polytheist or pantheist), then they may each mistakenly delude themselves into believing that they are actually “communicating” with one another, when in reality they are merely talking “past” one another — while each one (implicitly or explicitly) “smuggles in” key definitions from their OWN context — without admitting it.
But, this is exactly what Unitarian Universalists can never actually do.. first, because their “principled” refusal to even REQUEST that self-proclaimed adherents agree to any sort of “baseline” definition (IE, anybody defines key terms like “god” in whatever way makes them feel most comfortable, as per their “free and responsible search for truth”) — and ALSO because they can’t really discuss those key terms in any meaningful sense, for fear that somebody might be “offended”.
In other words, lip-service to the 7 banalities (“Free and responsible search for truth”, “inherent worth and dignity of each individual”), etc.) serve as “purr”-phrases, upon which UU-folks can build a totally false sense of “community” with other participants, merely on the basis that THEY TOO pay vigorous lip-service to the same platitudes.
Personally, I cannot help but see “Unitarian Universalism” as a sort of feel-good play-acting, where those who are either unable — or unwilling to actively commit either to an existing religious tradition, the atheist/secularlist/freethought axis, or even the fact that an individual search for truth necessarily imperils ones ability to (mindlessly) acquiesce to the “groupthink” endemic to any “community” — can derive a false sense of “belonging” from the fact that they happen to sometimes hang out with other such malcontents, who *also* happen to mouth the same bromides, on occasion.
I simply can’t find that compelling, no matter how hard I try.
It amounts to: “Believe” whatever you already happen to believe, but don’t commit to advocating for those views, or actively attempting to persuade anyone, because that might be “offensive”. The really important thing is: keep funneling money into the UUA, and pretending that what you’re doing actually makes sense.
Speaking for myself, I can’t help but recognize the fact that most “communities” (implicitly or explicitly) expect a certain basic level of mindlessness from their members.(victims?)
I honestly can’t see how any “community” could be otherwise. At base, any “community” necessarily requires some notion of “Us” vs. “Them”. “Community” (in anything other than the merely ‘geographical” sense of the term) relies on the notion of “contradistinction” between two (or more) alternatives.
But that leads me the next question: Who do “Unitarian Universalists” define their “community” AGAINST?