Thoughts on Unitarian Universalism

Readers will perhaps remember the account of my first visit to a Unitarian Universalist service at the end of January. Now that I have attended a total of five services, I would like to share my thoughts and explain why it no longer interests me.

The second service I attended was the following week. I found the sermon by a different speaker far less interesting and engaging than the first week. After that, I spent the next couple of weekends with a woman I was dating and so I didn't go. The third service I attended was at the beginning of April. I found the sermon boring and rather self-congratulatory. I didn't intend to return after that and didn't give it much more thought. A couple of weeks ago, however, I decided to attend again in hopes of meeting some new friends, despite my failing to have done so on the previous occasions, not because people weren't friendly and welcoming, but because they were generally older and married. Last week's sermon was somewhat interesting, but I didn't really enjoy it. Today I returned because there was a guest speaker who spoke about “positive atheism.” The sermon was mostly uninteresting, however, because I already knew all about everything he said, including the jokes and quotes. I don't intend to return again and I would like to explain why.

Essentially, it's still too “churchy” for my tastes, but there are several other issues:

  • The general focus has been on liberal faith, not reason.
  • The sermons have been mostly uninteresting.
  • The music has been rather boring.
  • The hymns and readings too often mention God or faith or simply make no sense.
  • The sharing of joys and concerns is too similar to actual prayer.
  • The tone is too self-congratulatory.
  • It costs time and money.
  • I doubt I would make any friends by continuing to go.
After leaving a service, I generally feel that my mind has been clouded with vague concepts and notions which make clear, rational thinking more difficult. It's not easy to explain. I just don't know what they're talking about half of the time and it hurts my brain. That is a common reaction for me to religion, especially liberal religion.

I am not seeking to criticize Unitarian Universalism. The society I visited was very warm, friendly and welcoming. They are not at all dogmatic. They do not proselytize. They are strong political allies on issues which atheists generally support. They provide a good home for liberal believers and even for some unbelievers. They are certainly the only religious group which invites an atheist speaker to give a sermon about atheism! I have concluded, however, that it's just not the place for me, which is really a shame since I would love to make some more friends.



vjack said...

I'm sorry to hear that you didn't find the social outlet you were seeking. It sounds like you really did give it a good chance and that you have many valid reasons for deciding it wasn't for you. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Greg said...

Hi there. You have been tagged. Check out my blog, Free Mind Joe for info.

Have fun,

Paul Wilczynski said...

Since the sermons didn't appear to work for you (for the most part), you might try http://www.UUAudioSermons.com to see if sermons by another minister are more to your liking.

Anonymous said...

I had essentially the same experience with the local UU church I visited. It was too "churchy" for me, the sermons were new-agey and a bit hokey. The couple (friends who had invited me) I spoke with about it afterward were open to the "possibilities" and had none of the skepticism I require.

On the upside, they were doing some great community service and it turned out I already knew several of the members. I wished we could do this without the "church" label.