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What's your opinion on unitarian churches?

The other half wants me to join her at a unitarian church, but I'm reluctant. What are your thoughts?

By Mattfrommco3
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The Alcohol free beer of religion.


They really vary widely as each congregation has its own culture. Unfortunately, the local one in my area is very classist and cliqueish and will probably always be that way, which is why I've stayed away for the last couple years. More than a decade ago, they had an interim minister for two years that confronted the congregation the best she could about those faults, but what ended up happening is that the culture either changed temporarily or at least went underground until she left after her two years, as required, and then the congregation's culture went back to the old ways when the new permanent minister came in. Many of the assholes from back then are still around and that galls me too.

I agree with the other commenters that your beliefs or lack of will be accepted at any UU church. That's not an issue with me and the local church. My issue is the majority attitude they have that you don't belong there unless you make at least 75K a year (which puts you in the top 10% for this area) or have a high status job, preferably both. Otherwise, they treat you as inferior and not worth getting to know or socializing with at the church. In other words, a country club for intellectuals with its own blatant admission standards and only upper-middle class or higher need show up.


We have three here in NYC. One is almost Catholic in its churchiness. Another is more freeform, with what a friend tells me are Buddhist touches -- possibly even including, considering how many people with Jewish backgrounds join either Unitarianism or Buddhism, "Bujews." I forget what the third is like. It's been a while.

Many years ago, I used to keep tabs on them and the two Ethical Culture congregations, promoting their events when I thought they'd suit my atheist group. I've always thought that Ethical Culture seemed like a blend of Quakerism and Klingons, with laughable invented rituals given greater solemnity than they deserved. Back then I also thought the UUs, like Humanistic Judaism, were pathetic for trying to imitate congregational Christianity and Judaism without the Jesus and Yahweh. Now I'm not so certain. Familiar structures impose less of burden of novelty. If someone held a gun to my head, I'd pick the UUs' candle lighting over the Ethical Culturists and their goddamn chimes. . . .


Don’t join yet. Attend some services, maybe go to some social or social action events and take some classes before you make a decision. Also, know that every congregation is unique: if you don’t like your SO’s congregation, you might like one in the next town. A compromise may be in order.

UUNJ Level 8 Jan 17, 2019

Great advice.


Not a fan. We once had an atheist group in town. The UU put an end to that group. They had an Atheist night and most joined.

To quote Tracie Harris from episode 740 of the “Atheist Experience” “ . . . does it (Unitarian Church) foster and cater to liberal religion, Yes I think it absolutely does. Now is that a problem? well, They're not looking at it like you (the caller) are looking at it. Yes that a problem because liberal religion buffers criticism of more fundamental religions and more extreme religions and so it does cause a bit of a problem especially if the liberal group is is standing up to buffer up criticism like openly if they are saying you should not criticize people for the beliefs if this is what they are teaching they really are teaching you something that keeps you from being able to hammer the more dangerous sects of religion that need hammering um so I do think they can be a problem. And I understand the problem you're describing and I've written about it as well and I agree that the liberal branches of religion do buffer extreme religions and they also prop it up because the problems with the extreme religions is they believe in authoritarian deity that is telling them to do these things and what's happening is when you have a liberal belier that believe in that deity but they believe it tells you to do different things and so when they are both operating on faith, there is no mechanism for one to demonstrate the other is wrong. So they are saying basically I have faith my god my god is telling me to do these nice things and you have this other guy over here saying I have faith my god is telling me to do these horrible things and I don't see how I can criticize the guy whose god is telling him to do horrible things when person over here is telling me it is perfectly fine to believe in this god, to believe in this god's authority and do whatever he says. But I just believe he says to do good things, Then how do I criticize the guy who says I believe it's evil things. You can't tell me how you know god has told you to do anything you just have faith so yes it does buffer it and it does create a big problem I agree.”


Unitarian churches were my first step toward atheism. I knew I didn't fit into anything else and the Unitarian churces gave me the opportunity explore everything from paganism to wiccan. I met some nice people, did some community service, etc. One of the churches I went to did almost nothing but sing throughout their services...which I hated! I did get the opportunity to hear some great talks. I'm not into any real "organized religion" and this still felt like "organized religion".


Not being a "joiner", I'd say "no, thank you."
Unitarian churches are STILL churches.
Woo is woo.

KKGator Level 9 Jan 17, 2019

Actually the one I attended with my kids called itself a society and the church name was never used. I liked that.

@Beowulfsfriend Glad you like it. I still have zero interest.

@KKGator I don't go now. And I never would push anything on another. I state what is true for me and respect what is true for others.

@Beowulfsfriend That's cool. I grew up being forced to be involved with
the catholic church. I'm a staunch anti-theist now, in addition to being an
I tried the whole "live and let live" thing, but the believers just won't allow it.

@KKGator forced religion is the worst. Didn't have that myself, but saw it. My parents were non practicing, marginally Christian. My mom, raised Southern Baptist, still had bad ass strict parent controls, but not with god. Asked her as an adult why we weren't pressed into the SB life and to her credit, on that, said I didn't want to inflict it upon you.


As i state below, you won't find many places more accepting as far as I have encountered. Of course each group gets to set their own agenda. If you like gathering with people who are open to the multitude, I know if no better place. Again, like anywhere, the people make or break the place. I vote take at least one visit, if only for the relationship.

Well said


And ask this group "Unitarian Universalists "

RavenCT Level 9 Jan 17, 2019

That is the group I started ?


I am told many welcome/accept Atheists just fine. Ask the officiator perhaps?

RavenCT Level 9 Jan 17, 2019

I consider ALL churches to be bullshit.

I usually do too, but the other half insists that I try


Unitarians I have met are nice people and with out question accept my point of view. Churches are groups of a number of people, so different ones might be just fine and others not so much.


Omaha has an excellent Unitarian Universalist church. I'd go more often, but it is far far east in Omaha and I'm far far west. And on Sunday mornings I just don't want to drive that far.

Consider the Church of the Larger Fellowship, which is an online UU congregation—our largest congregation, as a matter of fact!


i have no opinion about unitarian churches because i have never been to one. first of all, unitarianism has to do with christianity (it simply rejects the trinity). i've never been a christian and have no interest in becoming one. second of all, it's all about the unity of god. as an atheist, i feel sure enough to say there are no gods, so why would i want to go to a church that's about a god (or a church at all)? so i don't know if they're nice or nasty but they're certainly not of any use to me.


genessa Level 8 Jan 17, 2019

The UU's I've attended are far from Christian. Two of my kids consider themselves UU and neither is Christian. In Romania the church is still Christian and even its roots here are Christian. The ones I have attended have people of many religious thoughts including athiests, agnistics, Jews, Christians, Wicca, and much more. On a side note: I am curious about the huge, beautiful UU church near Central Park in NYC.

I am a UU, and I work for the national association. We do not consider ourselves a Christian faith anymore.


I am strongly averse to any such thing.
That's just me.

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