Wednesday, May 02, 2012

I hate acknowledging that I am an agnostic

Because religious extremism is on the rise in the United States and the polarization of opinions means I am shunted off into the loony bin with the crackpots.  Luckily, I am unafraid of science, math, evolution, reason, logic, intelligence.  Questions cannot destroy what is true.  Understanding is strength.

Neil deGrasse Tyson explains what happens when religious extremism takes over the scientific community.  Is the United States going the same way?


Steve Bates said...

Tyson is magnificent, as he always is. Who knows what the world has lost to the ravages of religion against scientific and other intellectual disciplines.

I never proselytize, and I certainly shall not do so now. But as a young man who felt more or less just as you do... agnostic, willing to discuss with other reasonable people but with scant tolerance for unreasonable ones, I ended up at a Unitarian-Universalist (UU) church, First UU-Houston. Just for fun, I looked up what my way-back-then church is doing today, and was delighted with what I found.

The church's slogan, new since my day, is "A community of love beyond belief."

The opening paragraph of its mission statement is as follows:

From all over this great sprawling city our members find their way on Sunday morning to be together. We are theists, humanists, atheists, agnostics, pagans, doubters and seekers sitting in the pews together so that we may stand and sing, reflect on our lives and find strength to be our best selves as we head back out into the weekdays of our lives.

And so they are; it's no BS. UU organizations (they aren't all named churches, and many don't have traditional services) vary a lot from place to place, and I can't promise you that you will find some magical experience at the one near you. Then again, neither of us is looking for a magical experience! :-)

Steve Bates said...

BTW, though I frequently invoke the deity when I'm angry, I think you can safely classify me as an atheist these days. Please don't tell Stella... especially don't tell her family.

ellroon said...

Lol, Steve. Tread carefully! Family packs can be dangerous.

I am grateful for you sharing your UU experiences. It sounds the absolutely perfect place if I find a need for a church. But right now, after having lived and moved for so long in a religious bubble, I find it freeing not to belong to any.

My spiritual connections involve only me, and at the moment I need no community to define it. Which, in the end, is how we all end up.

Steve Bates said...

I am in more or less the same frame of mind, ellroon. Unlike you, I had no confining religious experience as a child... my parents sent me one time to Sunday school and accepted with good grace my pronouncement that I did not want to go back. They NEVER went to church, though both were brought up in religious households. They took me that one time mostly so I would have a referent for everybody's religious chatter, and so that I could join if I wanted to. I didn't.

Part of me misses the UUs, and I can't say I'd never go back. But at the moment, that's not quite what I need. I'm not sure what it is that I DO need, but Sunday-go-to-meetin' isn't it.

ellroon said...

Exactly, Steve. And amen.