See transcripts of the conversation where it was confirmed that atheists are welcome in their weekly conversations: http://ifcmw.blogspot.com/2011/04/goals-of-interreligious-dialogue.... (you might want to search the page for the term if you don't want to read or scan the whole page)
Can atheists not participate because atheism isn't a religious belief?
Hi UUMom, I totally missed this post - but found it now - might have been because I went overseas and skimmed my email around that time and overlooked it.
I'll make a note to have a look at this when I've got a moment. Hope the topic is still relevant!
UUMom - Interesting conversation. It's great that inter-faith groups are open to including atheists. How have you been going since this time? Have you spent time in the group and gained anything from it? I'm keen to hear what you found. :)
I've been busy and only attended a few of their online chats - they're online, not in-person. I did help this same organization with an interfaith service for Children's Sabbath in-person before the internet became popular, but the only atheist participation then was among the Unitarian Universalists. I was honored to receive a U.N. Humanitarian award, nominated by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee for that service for being the most diverse service in Washington, DC.
well done! I wonder in America if being involved with the UU church holds more respect from society generally.
My husband, who's been actively involved in the church, also thinks of himself as an anti-theist, which I don't think is compatible but other UUs think is fine since we have a large umbrella and he basically believes in our principles (though probably not all of the UU sources - only 2 would match) and he's respectful of others (in the Tim Minchin's Storm way). He is very active in the atheist forums and any news and surveys about atheists and it seems there is definite evidence that atheists have more disapproval than pagans and Muslims. I know that saying I go to church makes some people more comfortable with me, though it makes some atheists more uncomfortable with me.
The first American Atheist rally in 2002 - Godless Americans, the man who runs the About.com Atheist web site said he wouldn't attend because they didn't want supporters to attend and he's married to a Christian. I emailed Ellen Johnson, who was the president at the time, and asked if I'd be welcome as a person who goes to a church and I don't use "atheist" for my beliefs, I prefer "agnostic". She said I was welcome to attend as a non-theist.
I don't know how they feel this year for the Reason Rally, which I plan to attend. If theist people who believe in reason will be welcome as supporters. They can't stop them, but I hope they don't discourage them. Tim Minchin says 10% of his audience is usually not atheist and a free concert from Tim Minchin would be a great draw for those who prefer entertainment over lectures. Some UUs will be wearing our yellow "Standing on the Side of Love" t-shirts - it's not a UU-only social action campaign.
Your position seems reasonable to me - you have found a place that you are comfortable with, and suits your world view. It's sad that you don't feel more accepted by the atheist community. But you do have your UU community.
I think we do what works for us, based on our circumstances. :)
I know that C. Hitchens had theist friends, so it's not necessarily a problem to hold different views to others, but still be able to maintain good friendships. I think honesty about your position and a good will to all.