Plumbing the depths
"The old watchwords of liberalism – freedom, reason and tolerance – worthy though they be, are simply not catching the imagination of the contemporary world. They describe a process for approaching the religious depths, but they testify to no intimate acquaintance with the depths themselves. If we are ever to speak to a new age, we must supplement our seeking with some profound religious findings."
O. Eugene Pickett
OK, ya'll have helped me articulate what it is I really want to say.
The foundation, and central purpose, of religion is for people to go deeper within themselves. To live a transformed life through our acquaintance with the religious depths. Committing to this process involves learning to pay attention, to quieten our busyness, to open to something greater than our ordinary selves.
I accept, joyfully, a diversity of experiences and languages in these religious depths. I'm happy for any atheist to join in a Unitarian community dedicated to this purpose. But I'm not prepared to accept that this commitment to the inner journey is optional or unimportant. It is central and necessary.
If someone involved in this journey doesn't want to use the language of traditional religion, and calls themself a religious humanist, then that's fine. But I think I want to challenge humanism to come up with a more articulate language to deal with these things, and to be able to dialogue with other languages around these things. I don't think humanism has such a language at the moment and so where it predominates I think it tends to create communities that are unable to deal with the religious depths.