Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sanctimony

The Real Anonymous took offense at my last post. I began to respond in the comments of their blog, but it got long, so I'm bringing it back over here.

Real Anonymous, despite putting in the full quote (thank you), you seem to have only read the first part of that sentence. The point of the sentence was that as a UU, I do not have the boundary on me to believe that a) Jesus is Lord and b) the Bible is inerrant.

This was not facetiousness of my part. When you can say, “Well, I don’t believe the Bible is literal and without error,” it’s pretty easy to argue any biblical “truth,” right? Simply, “The Bible is wrong” or “That was metaphor,” etc.

Had you read the previous posting, A UU Seminarian in Bibleland, you would have seen me writing with admiration about a fellow student who made sense of the discrepancy between the two creation stories by pointing out that men carry both the X and Y chromosome in themselves. “These are intelligent people, trying hard to understand and make modern sense out of ancient words,” I wrote.

If you have a knee jerk response to what you see as a UU being critical of Christians, I have sympathy, as it is something I get frustrated with as well. However, I would suggest that you look a little further than one phrase before deciding that someone is sanctimonious.

I do not at all think that my reasoning is the best. However, I do put a value on reasoning, itself. I enjoy it when students like the above mentioned one, attempt to make sense of bibliology. Some, however, don’t. There are some students who simply say, “What the Bible says is true,” without trying to find an explanation for some of the more problematic issues. This is a matter of being lazy, theologically. The same can be said about UUs who have no use for scripture, seeing it only as an archaic instrument of oppression.

As for taking advantage of the blessing to be at a conservative Christian seminary … if it is true that our checkbook shows our real values, then I feel that I have adequate proof that I appreciate the opportunity. All of the time? No. Going to school in a place where the students and faculty consider my beliefs to be heresy and that I am probably going to Hell (and taking congregants with me) does occasionally chafe. And occasionally, I would like to get into a discussion about metaphor, rather than always working from the assumption that the Bible is the literal truth.

Going to seminary, whether one is attending a UU seminary, or a conservative Christian seminary, is about learning, questioning, and growing into a minister. That’s what I’m attempting to do, and I write about my experiences on my blog.

Sanctimony does not serve us well, whether it is in assuming that a fundamentalist does not use reason or assuming that a UU seminarian harbors a belief in the terminal uniqueness or superiority of our religion.

4 comments:

Jess said...

Nicely said, LE. (I think most of us knew this is where you were coming from in the first place. . . ;-) )

Robin Edgar said...

:a UU seminarian harbors a belief in the terminal uniqueness or superiority of our religion.

How about a UUA Presidential candidate who would appear to harbor beliefs about the terminal uniqueness and superiority of what he pretends in his campaign slogan can be "The religion of our time"?

ms. kitty said...

Well said, LE. At the same time, I find it really hard to keep the relief out of my tone when I think of how hide-bound traditional religions can be and how different it is to be a UU. That's not sanctimony, in my opinion, it's joy. It is such a relief not to be fettered in that way. And it's hard not to show it.

Robin Edgar said...

LE The Real Anonymous clearly says in his and/or her post about your *apparent* "sanctimonious-ness" -

I know what many of you dear readers are thinking---Real Anonymous, this seminarian didn't mean it the way you're reading it. You're right, this seminarian probably didn't mean it the way I read it. But it was said.

In religion, as in politics, *appearances* are everything. Regardless of whether or not you actually were being sanctimonious, or any of the other adjectives that can be justifiably applied to what you said, your words come across as having an air of holier-than-thou, or at least reasonier-than-thou. . . sU*Uperiority to them. I have witnessed rather too much similar "sanctimony" on the part of U*Us either in U*U "churches" or online. RA was simply using your words to speak out about something that is all too common in the self-described "Uncommon Denomination". Come to think of it, the UUA's "Uncommon Denomination" marketing slogan is just a tad conceited, egoistic, holier-than-thou, pompous, puffed-up, self-contented, self-righteous, snobbish, stuck on oneself, stuck-up, superior, vainglorious don't U*Us think?