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Monday, February 23, 2009

Spring issue of UU World now available.

UU World, Spring 2009The Spring 2009 issue of UU World went in the mail last week, but you don't have to wait for the magazine to arrive in your mailbox to read it. Browse the issue online, sign up for weekly email updates from, and share articles with your friends.

In this issue, William Murry celebrates the influence of Darwin's theory of evolution on liberal religion; Anthony David asks whether Unitarian Universalist aspirations for a peaceful world are well-grounded in our biology; Christine Robinson urges UUs to take spiritual risks; Kimberly French profiles Mark Morrison-Reed, whose new memoir describes growing up black in Unitarian Universalism in the 1960s; Chuck Collins recommends forming "common security clubs" to cope with the economic crisis; President William Sinkford reflects on his visit to the African slave port at Île de Gorée; Victoria Weinstein celebrates the intimacies of the theater; Doug Muder rejects the notion that religion is a collection of true-or-false beliefs; and Stephen Shick recounts the history of the UU Peace Network.

In my "From the Editor" column, I invite professional illustrators and artists who are also UUs to let the magazine know about their work. I also round up highlights from the UU blogosphere for the quarterly magazine's "On the Web" column.

Your letters to the editor are always welcome. Please include your city, state, phone number (not for publication), and any congregational affiliation.

Members of congregations affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association receive a subscription to UU World as a benefit of membership. Others may subscribe for only $14 a year in the U.S.

Copyright © 2009 by Philocrites | Posted 23 February 2009 at 9:45 PM

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Colin Bossen:

February 24, 2009 01:09 PM | Permalink for this comment

You should check-out my brother Jorin's work. A number of paintings are available on-line at his, rather primitive, web-site He has been featured on the cover of New American Painting and his alumni magazine and had shows of his work in Washington, DC, Chicago, IL and Arcata, CA.

He has some illustrations that he should be putting on-line soon but he's been rather busy applying to graduate school...


March 3, 2009 08:07 PM | Permalink for this comment

Contra Murry's article, Darwinism did enormous damage to liberal religion and Unitarianism in particular. The early Unitarians were Lamarckian, they believed in human progress and that such progress was generated by individual and community efforts such as education. They may have emphasized secular self-culture more than religious conversion, but like traditional Christians they believed that all people have value. It was an optimistic philosophy. They believed that Nature was fundamentally benign.

Darwinism is quite different. The fundamental point of Darwinism is that individuals and groups within a species are genetically different and that these differences are the driving force in evolution. Some groups are more fit and survive. Others aren't and don't. Without this competition, there is no evolution, no Progress.

If one believes, as Murry puts it, "We are of great worth precisely because we are highly evolved..", then more "evolved" groups and individuals are worth more than their less evolved competitors in the same species. If evolution is to continue to make us even better, the weaker need to be weeded out.

So maybe war, especially genocidal race war, may be a good thing if it helps humanity to weed out the weak. Even within a community some individuals are more fit than others. The disabled are an obvious group that should be eliminated, most humanely by sterilization.

While conservative Christians recoiled at the implications of Darwin's thought, many Unitarians accepted the implications and supported eugenics. The American Unitarian Association published the work of Unitarian eugenicist David Starr Jordan. Unitarian jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. famously upheld Virginia's compulsory sterilization law stating "Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

This made for a pretty dreary religion. Who wants to go to church to hear about sterilizing disabled people? Politically, social Darwinism was discredited by the atrocities of the Nazis. Since World War II it has been unacceptable in polite society to express a Darwinian view of human inequality. That's fine by me.

But I think it a tragedy that the dream of deriving a Natural Religion died when Nature's God turned out to be such a nasty piece of work.

Murry's approach, applying Darwin's name to Lamarckian ideas, is pure evasion.

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