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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

'Yes, we're all individuals.'

The uncharitably sectarian Agape Press reported on June 1 that "Texas officials have reversed an earlier decision denying tax-exempt status to a controversial religious cult in that state." ("Cult" in this case refers to us Unitarian Universalists. Who knew!) Rivka, whose prominent blog Respectful of Otters is a UU blog I've somehow missed, examines the evangelical and fundamentalist arguments about the cultishness of my liberal faith tradition.

Meanwhile, Stentor Danielson, thoughtful as always at Debitage, wonders why very conservative Christians accuse Unitarian Universalism of being a cult while simultaneously criticizing it for lacking cultic features. (We aren't exactly dogmatic, we don't subordinate the individual to the group, and we're certainly not disengaged from the wider world.) He comes up with an elegant theory: From the fundamentalist point of view,

It seems that the only way someone could resist faith in Jesus is that they're in the grip of some other ideology, some ideology deeper and more controlling than Christianity. UUs have been brainwashed into believing they can think freely, as it were.

Ah! Just like the following scene in Life of Brian, when the hapless, unwitting "prophet" tries to liberate all the followers he's accidentally acquired:

BRIAN:
Look. You've got it all wrong. You don't need to follow me. You don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves. You're all individuals!

FOLLOWERS:
Yes, we're all individuals!

BRIAN:
You're all different!

FOLLOWERS:
Yes, we are all different!

DENNIS:
I'm not.

Love that ironic twist at the end. Which leads me to wonder what sort of irony a cult can cultivate . . .

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 16 June 2004 at 10:33 PM

Previous: Buruma v. Lewis.
Next: Dear Uncle Sam: I'm watching you, too!

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3 comments:

dave:

June 16, 2004 10:40 PM | Permalink for this comment

Ah ha I knew you were mixed up in some cult, think for youself. Now that sounds dangerish to me :)

chutney:

June 17, 2004 12:31 AM | Permalink for this comment

Hey, I'm working on it, but I haven't sold enough of the t-shirts yet.

Philocrites:

June 17, 2004 09:36 AM | Permalink for this comment

You mean these T-shirts?

Step right up, folks, and buy your stars!



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