The faithless are rising! At least, they’ve risen to the front page of the Los Angeles Times, where “Doubt is Their Co-Pilot” raised the national profile of Universism, a national movement that I’m proud to be a part of.
The founder of Universism (Ford Vox) told me that he’d given my phone number to the LA Times reporter but she never called. Sigh… However, the article does mention Salem, Ore as one of just a handful of Universist discussion groups in the United States, so I sort of made the front page of the Times.
You just have to read between the lines. Really deeply. That’s what I told my daughter, Celeste, who phoned last night to tell me about the article’s mention of Salem.
I gently chided her for not keeping up with her father’s Church of the Churchless weblog, since she didn’t know that I myself had organized the Salem Universists—who now number a whole 10 strong (if you include a guy from Pennsylvania who joined to keep up on what we’re doing, 9 if you don’t).
The article notes that the 8,000 Universists in the country are equal to the number of worshippers at a single mega-church service. I say, “big deal.” Truth isn’t determined by a majority vote. Einstein was one man. Who just happened to be right about how the cosmos is put together.
Of course, the central tenet of Universism is that no one is right about religious truth. At least, no one can prove that he or she is right while others are wrong. This is what separates Universism from dogmatic religious groups, which is to say, all religious groups (for dogmatism is the lifeblood of religiosity).
The LA Times reporter recognized this refreshing characteristic of Universism, but unfortunately she chose to end her article on a “downer” tone. Read Ford Vox’s comments on the piece to get a better balanced picture of the Universist meeting the reporter attended.
The article ends with a quote from Universist newbie Kathleen White, who drove two hours to attend the meeting only to encounter a firm embrace of uncertainty that she called “frustrating.” “I don’t think it will be enough to keep me coming back,” she said.
But Ford says that she did come back to a second meeting, driving another two hours from Huntsville to Birmingham, Alabama (I figure that if Ford can round up twenty-two people in an Alabama town to come to a Universist meeting, our growth potential here in Salem, Oregon looks good, given that Oregon is one of the most unchurched states in the country).
The next meeting of the Salem Universists is Thursday, December 8 at The Blue Pepper coffee house—7-9 pm (in the loft area). If you live in the area, come and sip some uncertainty with us. We support each other in searching for answers to life’s most important questions. Just don’t expect any agreement about what may be found.