Atheist? Finally, a Religion for You!

New Religion Opposing Moral Certainty Gets Executive Director

from Religion News Service

What if there were a religion that does not presume to declare universal religious truths? The meaning of your existence would be yours to determine.

What if there were a religion able to generate respect among all of humanity by embracing our equality in the most important questions we face?

What if there were a religion to unite freethinkers - atheists, deists, transcendentalists, pantheists and agnostics?

What if there were a religion that demands no blind faith in prophets or their writings?

What if there were a religion that asserts no moral authority, religious or secular?

What if there were a religion born of this century that would instantly unite millions of people around the world - maybe even you?

An upstart religion called Universism has named a new leader who hopes to spread the neo-Deist movement nationwide. Todd Stricker, 25, has been named executive director of the nonprofit organization and said he hopes to launch a new branch in Chicago.

University of Alabama-Birmingham medical student Ford Vox started Universism in 2003, saying that Christianity, Islam, and to a lesser extent other world religions are harmful because they attempt to impose their own version of moral certainty on others.

Through the Internet, Universism has recruited 8,000 atheists, deists, freethinkers, and others who rally around the notion that no universal religious truth exists and that the meaning of existence must be determined by each individual.

Stricker said he met Vox when they both showed up at an opposition rally to support the removal of a granite monument of the Ten Commandments placed in the state judicial building by former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

"I met him in Montgomery at a protest of the Roy Moore rally," Stricker said. "He was holding a sign that said `Osama Bin Laden hates the separation of church and state."'

They immediately hit it off.

Stricker wants Universism to be the basis of civic activism and benevolence, like a church with social outreach and activities, but without the dogma.

Other Universist groups have popped up in various cities, sponsoring showings of documentaries and panel discussions.

But Russell Moore, dean of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said Universism faces an uphill battle: "Church is a community united around a common storyline and revelation. It's hard to mimic that sense of community without the storyline and revelation."


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