Is humanism theologically tolerant?
Is humanist tolerant? Please note I'm not asking about humanism within society. Clearly humanism certainly believes in tolerance within society and I'm forever glad they are often the only people in the media calling for a separation of church and state.
No, what I'm talking about is descriptions of Unitarianism like this and adverts like this, discussed at Peacebang here, which say that humanism is one option, Christianity is another, God is one option among many.
The trouble is, humanism, by definition is theologically opposed to theism. This is very different from the relationship between Christianity and Buddhism. These two traditions may be vastly different, but Buddhism, by definition, is not opposed to Christianity, and Christianity, by definition, is not opposed to Buddhism. But humanism is consciously defined in opposition to Christianity and theism.
So to say that humanism and theism can both be in the same religion is indeed to make God optional. The problem is if God is optional God is not God. You can't have both humanism and theism in the same religion, one will always dominate. The problem with this kind of thing is that it says to people who are theists, "you are welcome here as long as you change your definition of God. As long as you admit God is not important." But what's the point in being a theist if you believe God is not important? What's the point in going to church if it's a place that insists that your ultimate concern is not ultimate? How does that grow your faith?
God is a transforming life-changing reality, not an idea for a discussion group. I go to church to grow in my walk with God. But if my church says "you can believe in God, but only if you think of God as an optional idea, and you admit that it makes no difference if you are in relationship with God or not" then I have a problem. Because God does matter, God is the ultimate orientation of my life. I cannot with integrity say that God is an optional extra, that is asking me to lie about the truths I have found in my spiritual walk.
Of course the word "God" is just a word that points to a reality, which, while transforming, is still deeply mysterious. I am prepared to accept that. I am prepared to go along with people who have a different understanding or language about God. But only by saying "what I call God you may call by a different name and understand in a different way" but never by saying "what I call God is something that doesn't really matter anyway."
I hope I have expressed myself clearly, forgive me if I have not.