Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Thought For The Day - Who should I love?

“This principle calls on us to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and it does not admit exceptions.”

Kenneth Colier, Our Seven Principles in Story and Verse, p. 15


  1. The deeper question, of course, is where does this "inherent worth and dignity" come from? Is it true that human beings have inherent worth and dignity?

    People, throughout the ages, have not thought this but the opposite, that some people are better than others, some people deserve more than others, some people are more human than others who are viewed as sub-human, less than human. This prevalent belief that some people are better than others and others are sub-human is the justification for slavery, racism, misogyny, homophobia, and war in which it is okay to kill "gooks", "krauts", "rag heads", and "terrorists".

    Human beings have been objectifying, "othering" people, since the existence of the species. So what is the basis for this claim that every person has "inherent worth and dignity"? It is a very strange belief, and something which goes against the historic evidence of our evolutionary development. How is it, that Unitarian Universalists have departed from the historic of humanity as us vs. them? It is remarkable position to take, isn't it? And one not widely accepted in our society which makes UUs outliers, post conventional, and often seen as a fringe element who are unpatriotic, liberal, do-gooders unsupportive of the customary norms and attitudes of society.

    This observation of Unitarian Universalism as being on the cutting edge of society, challenging its conventional norms and attitudes, helps us understand why Unitarian Universalism is a small denomination without majority support of the population in which it is situated. Unitarian Universalism may be the yeast in the dough, the seed of a Godsense which while it has germinated is yet to grow and blossom.

  2. Dear Mr. Markham:

    The answer to your question for where the belief in the inherent worth and dignity of every person comes from is in what Aldous Huxley called "The Perennial Philosophy" or what Unitarian Universalism calls its six sources. Ultimately, the question of whether humans, at base, are good or bad is a matter of faith. Many faith traditions especially Christian answer "bad" and without the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus, God's son, humans would be doomed. Unitarian Universalists and some others reject this answer and say "good", and as was pointed out before, the birth of each human being is a sign of the blessing of Life.

    Thank you for this wonderful discussion. I am happy to be a part of it.

    Samuel Stover