The Case for Religious Atheism The following is excerpted from Bradford Greely, a U.U. min

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The Case for Religious Atheism The following is excerpted from Bradford Greely, a U.U. minister who is an atheist: Religion And The Atheist Prejudices against atheism, which are rooted in our culture, ob- scure the religion of which an atheist is capable. One does not have to believe in a Supreme Being to find comfort, support, courage and insight in a worship service. One does not have to affirm a belief in a deity to feel awe, in- spiration or mystery in life. One does not have to maintain obei- sance to Almighty God in order to be humble and believe in the existence of things unseen and higher than oneself. One does not have to worship God to be able to lead a life motivated by the good, the true and the beautiful. Most Unitarian Universalist atheists believe that death marks an end to personal existence. The arms of no deity (nor devil) awaits the soul after death. That is a cold and fearsome idea for many but for the atheist it appears true. However this does not mean than an atheist would not seek solace and encouragement after the death of a loved one. The ministerings of a religious community, including a memorial service, would be essential and appropriate. For the U.U. atheist such a community and such a re- ligious service speak to needs more real than theology. The religious atheist believes that life needs constant examina- tion and evaluation, that the moral ideals taught by Jesus and other great teachers of ethics need constant attention and per- sonal affirmation. To this end the activities and services of a U.U. society meet important needs for a person who calls her/himself a religious atheist. The worship services, the study and discussion programs, the religious education, the social con- cerns and socializing serve vital aspects of human life whether a belief in God is present or not. We U.U. atheists find that we have the same need for religious community as those who profess a belief in God. We desire the op- portunity to celebrate our beliefs in the warm and supportive at- mosphere of a religious community. We need the stimulation and challenge that such a community provides as we continue the pro- cess of developing and practicing our religious beliefs. Daniel O'Connell


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