This live-and-let-live philosophy is at odds with many of today’s belief systems. Evangelicals want to make everyone a born-again Christian. Atheists say religion is dangerous and violent and chiefly responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist plot and the battles in the Middle East.
In the moderate middle ground, few are as open-ended as the Unitarian Universalists. “
Unitarian Minister the Rev. Chris Schriner (pictured) writes on InsideBay Area.com in response to the identification of Representative Pete Stark as a Unitarian: “I know lots of atheists. They include some of the most moral and selfless people I have ever met…I have discovered that there is much more that unites them than divides them.
What could unite theists and atheists? Values. The commitment to make the world a better place…Some theists are saints and some are scoundrels, and exactly the same is true of atheists. You can’t determine a person’s character by finding out his or her theory of reality….People don’t need to fear eternal torture in hell in order to be moral.”
The American Humanist Association applauded Rep. Pete Stark for publicly acknowledging he does not believe in a supreme being. The declaration, it said, makes him the highest-ranking elected official – and first congressman – to proclaim to be an atheist.Stark’s spiritual inclinations were sought by the Secular Coalition for America, an association of eight atheist and humanist groups, which offered a $1,000 prize to the person who could identify the “highest level atheist, agnostic, humanist or any other kind of nontheist currently holding elected public office in the United States.”
Fred Edwords, a spokesman for the American Humanist Association, told the Los Angeles Times that he hopes Stark’s identification will end discrimination against atheists. Read articles on SFGate.com and ABC News.
The News Record reports how the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro has a unique level of acceptance, uniting around such concepts as respect and a sense of community — not the things that divide them, such as belief and non belief. The Rev. Alex Richardson (left) says that the church’s collective and individual search for truth and meaning is broad enough to include atheists.The undergirding, Richardson said of the congregation, is a sense of ethics and morality. “I think it’s critically important that people come together in groups and learn how to … care not only for themselves but for the larger world,” he said.
The point, Richardson said, is that a society too reliant on its faith is scary. “I find great power and great stupidity terrifying, “ he said. “I think good Christians are probably drawing good wisdom from what [Richard] Dawkins and [Sam] Harris have to say,” he said. “They both affirm the importance of spiritual community.”