Classical Humanism and Unitarianism
As I’ve discussed before, I’m not always sure how polytheism fits in with the cultural milieu of Unitarianism. I’ve always seen my participation in Unity as being pretty separate from my polytheistic armchair philosophizing (I would be mis-representing myself if I were to say practice!)
Here and there, I have conversations with other Pagans/polytheists that make me realize how UUism gives me a distinctive outlook. I come across forms of paganism which don’t seem compatible with UU ethics and philosophy. Other times, I wonder about the classical roots of the Enlightenment & Renaissance philosophy that heavily influences UUism. How might we re-emphasize those roots, and bring a more pagan/polytheist ethos into UUism? Because for the most part, Neo-Paganism has seemed more like yet another religious movement that UUism has broadened to include. Feminists exploring Goddess theology, and people interested in eco-spirituality brought it into the fold. This brings an emphasis on immanence, rather than the more traditional deist transcendence of UUism. The Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) is a sub-group within the UUA and individual congregations, I don’t know how typically well-integrated elements of Pagan liturgy and theology are into general services at these congregations. I’ve never been especially interested in forming a chapter because UUism is already so broad and generic enough, that I don’t want another super-broad watered down Pagan group. And all this touchy-feely emotional ritual stuff seems often out of place in a tradition that otherwise seems to be all about the mind, the logic and reason of humanist atheism or deism.
I’ve been finding myself moving away from Hellenismos due to simply feeling very culturally and temporally out of place in the tradition. I’m familiar with the mythology, but the customs and practices feel all too strange to me. I could say the same about any Pagan or polytheistic religion really. I need my religion to be personal, I need it to be relevant to my urban American life. We all do. In looking at ancient Greek and Roman religion and philosophy, could we find some of that relevance, and perhaps find some compromise between the awkward gulf between theists and atheists?
To be honest, I haven’t studied philosophy formally much. It tends to give me a headache. Heck, so does theology after a point. Theoretical questions are interesting to ponder sometimes, but I need practical philosophy. For those of you who are more familiar with this area of study, do you have any suggestions?
Entry filed under: Unitarian Universalism. Tags: classical humanism, classical philosophy, compromise, CUUPS, Enlightenment, generic paganism, Greek philosophy, humanism, path-forging, Renaissance, Roman philosophy, unitarian universalism, Unitarianism.