My frustrating involvement with Universism ended a few years ago when this supposed non-religion turned out to be as fundamentalist freaky as any other faith (if you click on that link, scroll down past this post to find the history of my Universist involvement).
I hadn't thought about this naturalist philosophy, which foundered under the massive ego and administrative cluelessness of its founder, Ford Vox, until I received an email a few days ago from someone who wondered Why Universism?
Good question. I've shared Alexander Szeto's message below. His list of humanist / naturalist organizations is a handy guide. I enjoyed taking a quick look at the web sites.
Religious naturalism and pantheism seem to be philosophies compatible with my world view. But so is Taoism, which has a several thousand year philosophical head start on modern non-religious conceptions of the cosmos.
Universism was much more of a gimmick than a substantive evolution of naturalistic understanding. At first I liked the idea of people meeting locally under a non-dogmatic banner, discussing the big questions of life. It turned out, though, that it's tough to organize folks who resist top-down metaphysical organizations.
The groups Alexander mentioned serve a purpose, for sure. I just feel comfortable with my not-belonging now, so haven't felt a need to join up with any of them.
Here's the message:
I am a big fan of you. I agreed with most, if not all, of what you have said on your blog. I have a question regarding Universism. I asked because I have personally considered it seriously and found it appealing but I have one thing that I don't understand.
I asked you because I am aware that you were into it and have called for local meet-ups. Although it is dead now, something I still don't understand.
If Universism is a naturalistic (non-supernatural) religion, there are already non-supernatural philosophies around. The two most notable are humanism and naturalism.
Why people don't just go to humanism or naturalism and flock to Universism (though briefly)? Especially non-understandable is that organisations subscribing to these existing philosophies are already around for a long time.
International Humanist and Ethical Union www.iheu.org
Council for Secular Humanism www.secularhumanism.org
American Humanist Association www.americanhumanist.org
The Humanist Institute www.humanistinstitute.org
Religious Naturalism http://www.religiousnaturalism.org
World Pantheism Movement http://pantheism.net
What is the difference between Universism and humanism/naturalism?
Spiritual Seekers Society (Unitarian Universalist)