Monday, June 2, 2014

Thought for the day - Religion is no longer something you are but a commodity in the marketplace of ideas

"Secularism is not about the elimination of religion, but about the proliferation of choices."

Galen Guengerich, God Revised, p. 10

Betty Butterfield searches for a church.



  1. Barbara McMullenJune 2, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    While the Betty Butterfield skit is a caricature, there is a lot of truth in the character she portrays. Some people are very needy and new mental health help not a church. While churches and faith communities can minister to people with mental illness and personality disorders, they cannot solve their problems for them. Unitarian Universalism requires minimal amounts of self awareness, and self discipline. I don't think Betty and people with similar needs are good candidates for Unitarian Universalism. UU requires a bit more from a person and Betty is not ready to walk the path of UU. As Jesus says, "Many are called, but few are chosen."

  2. We can all identify with Betty. We all probably have said at least one of the things she complains about in the churches she has visited and like her we all are looking for the perfect church which, of course, does not exist. Betty has made me think about what I want and other people seem to want out of a church, and for that I am grateful.

  3. Freedom is having choices, this or that or the other. Without choices, a person is stuck with the status quo. Sometimes the lack of choices is self imposed when people say, "I really don't have a choice" when they do, they just don't want the consequences that go with a certain choice.

    Moving up a level of systemic conceptualization, we can ask where do the choices come from? Who assigns what advantages and disadvantages to each choice? The people, or group, or society who decides what choices are available and what the consequences are for choosing one choice or the other are the people in power. Looked at from this perspective, freedom of choice is an illusion. The real freedom and power is in defining, describing, and framing the choices that we will allow ourselves and other people to have and exerting consequences for making one choice or the other..

    Along with freedom, the ability to choose, and maybe the power to create options to begin with, comes responsibility. This responsibility is defined and constrained by our ethical values. This is where religion comes in. Religion helps people make choices, but it also defines and describes not only what the choices are, but what they ought to be. Unitarian Universalism is post conventional, that is, way ahead of society in defining choices that fit values not commonly shared by the majority of those in power in our society. As such it is seen as a "fringe" group, and easily ignored by those who subscribe to the conventional norms. To be a Unitarian Universalist is our current society takes courage and bravery if its principles are actually followed and taught. As Barb said in an earlier comment, "Many are called but few are chosen."