October 9, 2012

Unitarians Seeking Those With No Religious Affiliation

IUUA Logo attended church regularly for the first 14-15 years of my life. In addition to attending the same church with my family, I've been to several others. Sometimes it was with my family after they were invited to try out the church their friends attended; other times it was with friends who invited me to join their family at church. I've been to Methodist churches, Presbyterian churches, Lutheran churches, Catholic churches, and at least a couple others I cannot specifically recall.

As soon as I was old enough in my parents' eyes, I stopped going to church regularly. I've still been quite a few times since then, but not without good reason. I was married in a church, have been to several church weddings, funerals, holiday services, and the like.

I can honestly say I've never missed anything about church. I've disliked it as long as I can remember. I'm not sure what it would take to get me into one today, but it would probably have to be either a wedding in which I was part of the ceremony or a funeral of a family member or very close friend.

With this as background, I'm sure you'll understand why I've always been puzzled over the apparent appeal of Unitarian Universalist churches to some atheists. Do some atheists really miss church? While I don't believe I've never attended a Unitarian church, I have real trouble figuring out what the appeal would be. I cannot relate to the desire for church, with or without the doctrine.

According to Religion News Service, people like you and I are considered a core part of the membership the Unitarians are trying to attract. I don't get it, but the growth they seem to be experiencing suggests that I must be an outlier. My best guess is that the appeal must be social - a Unitarian church could provide an easy mechanism for a non-religious person living in an extremely religious area to find like-minded individuals. I do understand why that would be appealing even if I don't understand why it needs to be dressed up as a church.

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