Thursday, January 26, 2006

Common-Sense Religion

The Chronicle has a thought provoking article about critically evaluating your faith:The Chronicle: 1/20/2006: Common-Sense Religion.

Here's a quote:
That's why those who have an unquestioning faith in the correctness of the moral teachings of their religion are a problem: If they
haven't conscientiously considered, on their own, whether their pastors or priests or rabbis or imams are worthy of such delegated authority over their lives, then they are taking a personally immoral stand.

That is perhaps the most shocking implication of my inquiry into the role religion plays in our lives, and I do not shrink from it,
even though it may offend many who think of themselves as deeply moral. It is commonly supposed that it is entirely exemplary to adopt the moral teachings of one's own religion without question because — to put it simply — it is the word of God (as interpreted, always, by the specialists to whom one has delegated authority). I am urging, on the contrary, that anybody who professes that a particular point of moral conviction is not discussable, not debatable, not negotiable, simply because it is the word of God, or because the Bible says so, or because "that is what all Muslims (Hindus, Sikhs...) believe, and I am a Muslim (Hindu, Sikh...)" should be seen to be making it impossible for the rest of us to take their views seriously, excusing themselves from the moral conversation, inadvertently acknowledging that their own views are not conscientiously maintained and deserve no further hearing.

Read the whole article.


At 1:05 PM, Blogger franky said...

ER, I've been meaning to ask you: why do you attend the UU church in the first place? I thought that was one of the nice things about being atheist, you get to sleep in on Sundays!
No, in all seriousness, what's your rationale.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Early Riser said...


I was raised Jewish and my wife was raised Catholic... neither of us felt comfortable in the other's birth religion. Before we had kids, it wasn't an issue - neither of us had a burning desire to belong to a church or synagogue.

Once we had kids, everything changed. My wife and I decided they needed to be exposed to a community of like-minded (at leach from a theological perspective) folks who all believe there is no single religious 'Truth' and who respect and celebrate both of our families' religious traditions.

Despite my complaining about UU political issues, our church is truly our second home... it's the place where everyone knows our name. It can be frustrating being around all those liberals :-), but it's always intellectually stimulating and I've made some good friends.

You should wake-up some Sunday and check-it-out for yourself... you may actually be a closet UU.

At 3:48 PM, Blogger franky said...

There is actually a UU church close to where I live and my wife has expressed interest in checking it out and seeing what it's like. She also likes the communal aspect of churches and think that it would be good for the kids. We'll see if I can muster the effort one Sunday morning. Cheers

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for the post. This guy pretty much said what I've been thinking for the past 20 years. BTW, I was directed to your blog while meandering through the UU conservative forum website. I am attracted to the religious open-mindedness of UU but was pretty much ready to dismiss it because of the thick political liberalism. Attitudes like yours are making me reconsider.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Early Riser said...


Glad you enjoyed the post. Being a free-market, small government type guy in a UU world can be trying at times. It has, however, clarified my beliefs and I think I'm bettor for the experience.


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