Universist Movement Forum Closed

“This forum is closed. We host chats on Sundays at Universist.net”

Board Message

…and thus ends Universism. It’s an interesting idea of a religion of freethought so check it out if you want. It still exists even though they’ve closed down the online forum. Now the only way to meet other Universists will be to meet them in person. There’s the main problem: very few local Universist groups have been formed and chances are there is NOT one in your area.

I firmly believe shutting down the online forum is definitely a shot in the foot (and maybe the head) and this will stop Universism before it really has a chance to take hold. They may think a real world grassroots effort will make it flourish, but I think freethought grows best online and their movement will die away without that virtual connection.

Personally, I like the main idea of it and the few principles that make up Universism. It’s a religion for freethinkers that rejects dogma and faith and is much more appealing than Unitarian Universalism. But in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t actually necessary for me as an Agnostic.

I guess I will just remain an individual that has found my belief and will remain true to that idea. I don’t need Universism or the Universist Movement and am quite content with the religious philosophy and viewpoint that I’ve found: Agnosticism.

American Chronicle: Governments, Churches and the People

Many people have come to same conclusions that the Universists have. Here’s another viewpoint:

I came up with a name, the Mutualist Alliance. The basic premise being that everyone born into this world has an equal right to existence.

I said that a Mutualist is someone who believes in the mutual right of humankind for food, clothing, shelter, health, and safety; has a strong desire for universal peace and goodwill; and has a high regard for the virtues of tolerance and charity. And, I said that a Mutualist would be able to carry and defend the message of humane coexistence when speaking with friends, family and others. That a Mutualist could accept that we don?t all believe in the same god and be able to at least tolerate the religion or spirituality of others. Finally I said that a Mutualist would seek out and support like-minded individuals for leadership positions in their community and country.

…I?m not ashamed of the conclusions I?ve drawn from the past sixty-five years. I despise capitalism for how it has elevated greed above all other human virtues, and I despise organized religion for how it has played it?s part in turning people against one another the world over. Between the two, the possibility of even the hope of peaceful and humane coexistence across the face of this planet is extremely remote.

…I remain staunchly agnostic. If there is a god, there is no evidence for me to presume that god is a benevolent spirit. Maybe the Mutualist Alliance was a pipe dream better left to the smokey haze of a lost evening. Perhaps the best anyone can hope for is to find those who share their values and pray that they are not preyed upon by the rest. As for me, I will continue to write about what I see, and continue to search for like minded people.

American Chronicle: Governments, Churches and the People

Guy is not alone. Maybe he should check out Universism since it sounds like some of the same views that he believes and feels. Read the rest of Guy’s article for a typical lament of an Agnostic that does not see the work of God in the world or the ability of religion to make people good.

Universism and Private Law

Universism states that any action’s ultimate rightness or wrongness can only be determined by those involved in the action and that there is no universal morality and no moral authority. This brings up the question that in crimes, can only the criminal and victim decide what is right or wrong? Click here for an article on private law that has an answer for this.

Private law is a concept where people submit themselves to the “jurisdiction” of a private judge. Cynics of the concept dismiss this because the accussed would not willingly do this.

However, this glib dismissal overlooks the fact that most disputes in modern commercial society are not between an ?obvious? innocent and an ?obvious? malefactor. Rather, it is often the case that both parties to a dispute genuinely believe themselves to be in the right, and would be happy to make their cases in front of a disinterested third party.

I don’t think in practice this concept of private law would be able to hold, particularly under the anarchist environment that the author presents it in. However, the Objections section of the article and the following paragraph is applicable to laws and justice in general as it relates to Universism and enforcement of morality.

One major objection to such a system is that there wouldn?t be one uniform set of laws applicable to everyone. So what? If orthodox Jews want to have a rabbi apply the Mosaic Law to their disputes, while atheist libertarians want Stephan Kinsella to apply The Ethics of Liberty to their disputes, why shouldn?t they be allowed to do this? Yes, ?bad laws? might be produced under anarchy, but people would not be subjected to them, or at least not nearly to the extent that they are forced to submit to bad government legislation. (In the same way, bad books will be produced under anarchy, but no one would be forced to read them.) In any event, under the government right now, there isn?t a uniform set of laws applied to everyone, so this objection is silly on its face.

Boycott of Cool Beans Coffee Shop – Homewood, Alabama

The Universist Movement, which has for over a year met in a variety of businesses and private homes across the Birmingham area, has for the first time been told where it is not welcome: Cool Beans in Homewood, AL.

Shop owner Amy Anderson said on Monday ?I am a Christian, and I am not comfortable with your group putting fliers on our table or having meetings here.? Other local religious groups do meet at the business, which gladly hosts fliers for Christian groups including CASBA (Catholic Singles in the Birmingham Area) and Elevate College Ministry. Confronted with the discrimination, Universist Movement Director Ford Vox informed Anderson that ?Over the years, businesses have discriminated against people for reasons of race, gender, sexual orientation and religion. Your policy is part of that sad history.?

Boycott of Cool Beans Coffee Shop – Homewood, Alabama

People are sometimes uncomfortable with being around and interacting with those that are different from themselves. Fortunately, discrimination, fear, and hatred are generally on the decline in this country. However, anytime we see discrimination and fear such as what happened at the Cool Beans coffee shop, we should remind them that humans are essentially human no matter what they believe.

We open our arms to our fellow humans no matter how wrong we think their beliefs are and we don’t even have a god to tell us that this is the right thing to do. I wonder why Amy Anderson’s god tells her she should reject Universists and tell us we’re not welcome?

Well, if I’m ever in the Homewood, Alabama area, I’ll be sure I won’t visit:
Cool Beans Coffee House
1014 Oxmoor Rd.
Homewood, AL 35209
205-871-2665

A Democratic Religion?

Universism sets out to change the landscape of religion and to be the religion for freethought. However, it could also be considered the true religion of Democracy. Its foundations of personal reason, moral relativism, uncertainity, opposition of faith, the personal search for truth, and the lack of an absolute Truth help define the core of the religion. The Universism FAQ discusses absolute Truth as follows:

Rejecting platonic dichotomies such as good and evil does not equate with an endorsement of those concepts, and rejecting faith is not a manifestation of faith. In the Universist perspective, the individual determines for herself what is absolute, so for society as a whole, there are no collective absolutes. In society there are a variety of voices that we must individually judge with our imperfect reason, and acknowledge that we are doing just that. We must not be tempted by righteous absolutist thinking. Universism maintains that group consensus on absolute Truths adds nothing to their validity, and goes so far as to maintain that were something the religious realm determined absolutely true even by science, it would be too dangerous to our preeminent religious value of the ongoing search to endorse such a Truth as a group. The existence of cosmic Truths is an entirely personal matter, and this personalization destroys for all utility in moral pronouncement the validity of absolutes.

FAQ: Is the statement “There is no absolute Truth” itself an absolute Truth?

Even though the FAQ says that Universism makes no claim as to which governmental system is best, the viewpoint on absolute Truth points out a kinship with Democracy. We do have some shared main ideas of right/wrong and truth in the same way as the citizens of this country have them. We will argue and work to redefine the shades of right and wrong and they will definitely change based upon circumstances just like we do in this country. When it comes down to it, as a country, we can’t even say “killing is wrong” is an absolute truth. There are many circumstances where killing is justified, just ask a police officer.

If the American Democracy didn’t work without absolute Truths then we wouldn’t need the Legislative branch to continue to evolve the laws of the land; the Executive branch to try to keep a certain amount of guidance, focus, and leadership; and the Judicial branch to judge the imperfect reality against the “guidelines” of our laws. If law was absolute, we wouldn’t need trials by our peers to determine guilt and punishment and the laws wouldn’t be allowed to change as we hopefully grow wiser.

In comparison, all of this points out that traditional religions are typically totalitarian groups trying to control society. Faith-based religions decree absolute Truth with judgements and condemnation handed down from a select few. A totalitarian government can do some good for its people just as a religion can, but absolute powers corrupts absolutely. The natural tendency of faith-based religion then will be towards a totalitarian abuse of power. American history has decried and fought against totalitarian forms of government, yet ironically a majority of Americans embrace Christianity even though the core of its teachings matches more with the totalitarian definition.

Definition of totalitarian

Of, relating to, being, or imposing a form of government in which the political authority exercises absolute and centralized control over all aspects of life, the individual is subordinated to the state, and opposing political and cultural expression is suppressed: ?A totalitarian regime crushes all autonomous institutions in its drive to seize the human soul?

Definition of faith-based religion???

Of, relating to, being, or imposing a form of society in which the religious authority exercises absolute and centralized control over all aspects of life, the individual is subordinated to the religion, and opposing religious and cultural expression is suppressed: ?A faith-based religion crushes all autonomous institutions in its drive to seize the human soul?

Definition of democracy

Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
A political or social unit that has such a government.
The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
Majority rule.
The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

Democracy redefined in the religious context. Does a faith-based religion think this way? I think not! Only Universism is a close match.

Religious belief by the people, exercised directly.
A religious or social unit that has such a belief.
The common people, considered as the primary source of religious belief.
Majority rule.
The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

Conclusion: Universism and other freethought movements are truly American in concept and faith-based religions are really un-American at heart.