Can Atheists feel comfortable in a Unitarian Universalist setting?

Have considered checking out a Unitarian Universalist "church", but since it's over an hour from where I live, I thought I'd send out some feelers and wondered if any atheists have felt comfortable in such a setting.  Seems to me they do a lot of talking about "spiritualism", and I get visions of wiccans or people who think that humans have a soul of some kind.  I'm definitely not interested in being further exposed to that sort of stuff. 


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I wouldn't feel comfortable. Unitarian Universalism is a religion. It isn't science, rational or free thinking so the participants are barking up the wrong tree. 

Love this.  Made my day! Thanks, N.P.


very good cartoon

Good question.  I live in a small southern town, more than an hour from anywhere that might have a secular humanist group and the only things I've found along those lines involve night meetings and I don't drive at night due to poor eyesight.  So... I thought a Sunday morning group might work, if I could find some kindred spirits.  Secular humanists don't meet during daytime hours, UUs do.

Also, if I had children (mine are grown) I MIGHT want to provide them with some sort of education in the cultural aspect of religion.  I imagine some parents use a UU church to fill that function.


From what I've heard, UU churches vary widely. I know an outspoken atheist who's comfortable and active in hers.

I saw a little Youtube blurb explaining the diversity of people who attend UU churches.  It was going along fine (had mentioned atheists and agnostics, among others), but then it said they all WORSHIP at the same place.  What exactly are atheists "worshipping"? 

What are atheists worshipping? According to the theists we are just like them. This is because "everybody has to worship or serve something."

You might worship your cup of coffee, money, or your car. You might worship TV or actors, clothing, shopping, your spouse, your car, OR, if you are a wanker . . . . . let's not go there. LOL

Theists believe that you "worship" something. This gets them off the hook for worshipping an imaginary god. Now let's look at it realistically for a moment and have you bowing down asking guidance, blessings, and advice from your clothing or car and we see just how stupid these theists really are!

According to the theists we are just like them. This is because "everybody has to worship or serve something."

Theists say that because their book and most of their preachers tell them the world is an awful place and they are sinners. In their misery they need company.

During my teens I worshiped wanking.

You could just as well pray to a jug of milk!

(more at "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?" )

At the most secular UU that I went to, they often joked that they worshiped the coffee shrine.  The "sermons" were like a do-it-yourself TED talk, with thoughtful discussion of ethics, living, values, and sometimes religious history.  They are usually, but not always, very liberal.  I remember once in celebration of MLK, everyone joined hands and sang "We Shall Overcome".  Which struck me as incongruous, since they were all white people.  But their hearts were in the right place, and the idea  was of solidarity.  That was the one in Indiana.  Things may have changed, it was 30 years ago.

I remember the place being threatened and picket by local Baptists, who were very much against the values at UU.

It was also a place where kids could be brought up around other kids with similar values.  They taught about religions, values, humanity, and responsible sexuality, among other things.

At the most religious-seeming - in Portland, OR,  it was really as much of a church service as if you were at a megachurch.  I hated that.  But they also had a homeless support center and reached out nonjudgementally to the homeless youth population in that area.  I liked that.

I haven't gone in years.  Too religious for me.  But if it was like the first one I attended, I would go again.  I miss having face-to-face community where I can just be myself.

That rather secular UU church sounds like a good place for fellowship and focusing on goodness!

"They often joked that they worshiped the coffee shrine" reminds me of this repurposed hymn tune... (to the tune of "Holy, Holy, Holy"; words by Christopher Raible in Hymns for the Cerebration of Strife)

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee,
Praise the strength of coffee.
Early in the morn we rise with thoughts of only thee.
Served fresh or reheated,
Dark by thee defeated,
Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

Though all else we scoff, we
Come to church for coffee.
If we're late to congregate, we come in time for thee.
Coffee our one ritual,
Drinking it habitual,
Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

Coffee the communion
Of our Uni-Union,
Symbol of our sacred ground, our one necessity.
Feel the holy power
At our coffee hour,
Brewed black by perk or drip or instantly.

I've attended services at several UU fellowships - Lafayette, Indiana, Chicago, Corvallis Oregon, Portland Oregon, and Vancouver Washington.

They were as different from one another as they could be.  The one in Lafayette was the most atheist friendly, and least formal, of the bunch.  Atheists were outspoken members of that one.  The one in Chicago was OK, a bit on the aging-hippy side of things, too much marijuana for my taste.  The one in Portland was like going to a megachurch.  Way too formal, to many hymns, too much ritual for my taste.

I think you have to go and sample a service, to find out.  There is no single way to be a UU. 

In the end, most were too religion-friendly, and imitated other religions too much for me.



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