Tuesday, February 13, 2007

After Life

I've only been to a church two times this century. Both were for weddings (my brothers' and my cousins'). From time to time since moving to Rochester 10 years ago, I've thought about going to a house of worship. Not because I want (or need) to increase my faith, but just to socialize a bit, hear some nice tunes, and listen to an uplifting sermon. The religion whose beliefs seem to most match my own are the UU's.

Here are some of their beliefs courtesy of Wikipedia:

UUs believe in complete but responsible freedom of speech, thought, belief, faith and disposition. They believe that each person is free to search for his or her own personal truth on issues like the existence, nature, and meaning of life, deities, creation, and afterlife. UUs can come from any heritage, have any sexual orientation, and hold beliefs from a variety of cultures or religions.

To affirm and promote:
1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part

There is a UU congregation in Rochester. Perhaps one Sunday morning if the mood strikes me, I will finally attend one of their services. It's just that they only meet on Sunday mornings and, oh, how I love to sleep in on the weekends! I only hope that God understands.


Rocketstar said...

Even with my militant agnostic views, we have even thought about taking the girls to a UU, but just haven't had a big enough desire yet.

Mags said...

I just left a big comment and tried a few times, and now it's wiped out.


So here's the abridged version:

Go to the church of UU and report back.

Thomas said...

Rocket, some agnostics actually do go to the UU church. In fact, according to a recent survey that they did, 33% of their congregations said that's what they were, the definition of agnosticism being "that it is not possible to have absolute or certain knowledge or, alternatively, that while certainty may be possible, they personally have no knowledge. Agnosticism in both cases involves some form of skepticism." I personally am not agnostic or skeptical, but respect those who are.

And Mags, I will most certainly give you a report once I've taken the plunge (probably in the next couple months).

Rocketstar said...

yeah, I know but the issue I still have with the UU, is that at least the UU's around here still incorporate Jesus, I can't dig on that.

" I personally am not agnostic or skeptical, but respect those who are."

What are you not skeptical about, exactly? Do you believe in a certain "God", a generic "God" or no "God" etc..."

I'm interested...

Thomas said...

Here are my beliefs in a nutshell:

1.We are all One.
2.There's Enough.
3.There's Nothing We Have to Do.
4.Ours Is Not A Better Way, Ours Is Merely Another Way.

The first statement is understood to mean that existence is essentially nondual in nature. At the highest level there is no separation between anything and there is only one of us; there is only God, and everything is God. The second statement, following from the first, means that we, in this seeming existence, lack nothing and if we choose to realize it, we have enough of whatever we think we need (or the means to create it) within us. The third statement combines the first two to conclude that God, being all there is and is thus always sufficient unto Itself, has no need of anything and therefore has no requirements of humanity. The final concept puts an end to our need to always be right. Given that we have and are everything, and there's nothing we have to do, there are an infinite number of ways to experience this, not just the one way we may have chosen so far.

Life is essentially a game, entered into by agreement (before incarnation), to remember who and what we are and enjoy and create, knowing that ultimately there is no finish line that some will not reach, no understanding that is not without value, no act that does not add meaning to the future or for others. We have a common interest in keeping the game going, for there is nothing else to do except to experience our existence and then experience more of it, to uncover deeper layers of truth and understanding. There are no external rules, because all experience is subjective, and is chosen. But within this, there are ways that people will gradually come to see their thoughts, words, actions are either working or not working. A thing either is functional or dysfunctional.

Feelings are more important as a source of guidance than intellect.

We are not here to learn anything new but to remember what we already know.

Physical reality is an illusion.

Rocketstar said...

thomas, very interesting, thanks for such an in depth answer.

Rocketstar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

Hm, sounds like an interesting "religion". I could actually like it, maybe I ought to see if there's any UU churces around here.