The Electric Commentary

Friday, November 18, 2005

"The World's First Rational Religion"

I've always had trouble labeling myself when it comes to religion. If you've read my increasingly rare posts on this blog you've probably noticed that I'm somewhat skeptical of religion to say the least. I've never been able to say emphatically that I'm an atheist or and agnostic. On one hand, the Judeo/Christian/Islamic god is logically impossible. But on the other hand, I'm not willing to say emphatically that there is no higher power of any kind. I think it's unlikely but I'm not arrogant enough to be sure. Some people would label this atheist and others agnostic.

That's why I'm intrigued by the Universists. I'm not saying I'm ready to join up or anything, but I like their message a lot. I was certainly happy to see that they got a front page article in the LA Times.

The only dogma they must accept is uncertainty. Relinquishing any hope of cosmic truth, Universists worship by wondering how we got here, and why, and what lies ahead.

"What if there were a religion that does not presume to declare universal religious truths?" Vox [Ford, the founder of Universism] wrote in an online manifesto. "What if there were a religion that demands no blind faith in prophets or their writings?"

"Universism seeks to solve a problem that has riddled mankind throughout history: the endless string of people who claim that they know the Truth and the Way." His religion, he wrote, would "dispel the illusion of certainty that divides humanity into warring camps."

I'm not sure calling it a religion was a good idea. In fact, I'm not sure calling it "Universism" was a good idea. But I like the message.

12 Comments:

  • I still think it sounds like hooey. I don't like the concept of accepting uncertainty. Screw that. I'm going to try to figure stuff out.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 8:53 AM  

  • Universism encourages the search for truth. It just reminds us that we may very well be wrong, and we shouldn't claim with certainty that our findings should be the only ones valuable.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:07 AM  

  • I'm working off of this quote:

    "Universism seeks to solve a problem that has riddled mankind throughout history: the endless string of people who claim that they know the Truth and the Way." His religion, he wrote, would "dispel the illusion of certainty that divides humanity into warring camps."

    I too am agaisnt those that insist that they know "the truth" through irrational means. I simply fail to see how embracing uncertainty is useful. Basing a "religion" around not having any dogma seems pointless. It seems like it is based in opposition to to other organized religion.

    I have no problem with encouraging the "search for truth" but can't we just call it the "search for truth" instead of coming up with silly names?

    And really this is just silly:

    The only dogma they must accept is uncertainty.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 9:48 AM  

  • Religion? That ain't no real religion. They need a God or gods. You need a book you can carry around with you and quote from at weddings, funerals, and times of thanksgiving or peril. You need something that allows the person dying to welcome death on the field of battle (Valhalla I am coming) or in old age (Lord please forgive my sins as I have tried to forgive thos who sin against me and I am ready for your judgment) and also something that comforts those left behind (Don't mourn him, he sups with Thor) or (Cool, I think Grandma came back as our kitten!) In the meantime, they can use the opportunity of organized religion to feed and clothe the poor, counsel and comfort the needy, be realy nice to everyone, forgive so as to cut down on conflicts, and have youth group gatherings and best ball scrambles. Now, with any luck, they will pick the right religion, mine. I am not being sarcastic either, even though the tone of my coment may seem like I am. I think mine is the most right. Yeah Lutherans! In closing, go in peace, serve the lord. Thanks be to God.

    By Anonymous Phil, at 10:41 AM  

  • I don't know Paul. I think his point is also that he is agaisnt those that insist that they know "the truth" through irrational means. I think the group is intended to seek the truth in one way or another. But I totally agree, as I noted, that calling it a "religion" and more specifically "Universism" is silly.

    "And really this is just silly:

    The only dogma they must accept is uncertainty."

    I'd blame the writer for that line. It wasn't a quote, was it?

    I think the point is more about trying to maintain the sense of community or belonging that comes with religion but remove all of the fairy tales. I know a lot of moderate Christians that say they no that most of the bible and the doctrine is BS but they got to church anyway because they like the community etc.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 12:46 PM  

  • I'm all for community and whatnot.

    http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2005/11/the_debate.html

    But I'm troubled by the focus on uncertainty. Even if that's not a quote, it's a recurring theme in the article. I don't like others claiming that they know "the truth" either, but the problem isn't anything to do with certainty or uncertainty. It's that those people don't understand what the term "truth" means, or that they are outright liars.

    I don't like certainty, but I'm not a big fan of relativism either, and when I read this I thought it had relativistic undertones.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 1:02 PM  

  • "Credo in at most unum Deo..."

    -- P. D. Q. Bach

    By Blogger Stephen, at 2:58 PM  

  • Uh it's clearly not a religion, which requires devotion to some being or principle or at least a system of beliefs. The proper label for universism would be a philosophy.

    Sounds to me like a bunch of agnostics who are lonely.

    By Anonymous Scott, at 6:37 PM  

  • Try: HomoRationalis.com

    By Anonymous William V. Van Fleet, M.D., at 9:44 AM  

  • And here it is 2010 and I stumbled upon this when googled 'Rational Religion' which I found in News Groups, 'Alt.Religion.Rational'. I propose there IS an existence after death but there is no God whom we need to bow down to otherwise he burns us in hell forever.

    By Blogger Blank, at 2:24 PM  

  • The Creator described in Torah is not a logic impossibility.

    I recommend you to read an article in my blog (http://bloganders.blogspot.com/2009/08/proof-of-existence-of-intelligent-and.html). It contains a formal logical proof, based on scientific premises, that proves the existence of an Intelligent and Perfect Creator of this universe (i.e. the Prime Cause of this universe (the cause of Big Bang)); and it also proves that His instructions are found in Torah, and that His purpose of humankind is for us to practise those Instructions in Torah.

    By Blogger Anders Branderud, at 8:52 AM  

  • Myself, I've cast off the blinders called religion. Enduring the loss of my wife gave me the insight that death was neither good nor bad, it simply was. Religion exists on one side to gain personal wealth and control and on the other side to appease the fear of death. My view is there is existence after mortal death. As naturally as awakening in the morning. There is no god to appease, worship nor bow down to. Existence after mortal death free of superstition, free of religion. In summary, there is an afterlife unfettered by god/s. Free of dogma, creed, opinion. A personal opinion cannot change what is.
    Michael

    By Blogger Michael, at 3:05 PM  

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