By Andrew Caulk
Let me answer that question with two more – Why are you here and what are you looking for?
We may all have different reasons. I’m here because of my children. I look at the world today, and, while I’m known to be a very optimistic person, the world doesn’t appear to be getting better. I refuse to let my children’s future have less opportunity than I have today – not without a fight.
But, how does one fight to change the world? Despite the fact that I’ve been non-religious most of my life, I think the answer is church. Church builds community, brings different people together, heals divisions, provides strength when we are weak, offers refuge when we’re overwhelmed, and helps focus our purpose.
I grew up Catholic and the church provided me significant benefit, though I found the inconsistency ultimately unacceptable. The priest provided me counseling, I sang in the choir for community, and the ran a school near where I lived. So while that church didn’t end up resonating with me, I can see why so many others are drawn to it and others like it.
Churches and religions of the past have tried to help humans make sense of their scary and confusing world. Without science or understanding of the world, religious leaders likely did the best they could with some of the stories created then. Today, we see many of those stories as inconsistent with current human understanding, science, and even other stories from history or religious mythology. Church has always been where people go to consider the big questions. We just think the church should be able to adapt to the times as humans have over the millennia.
We built Being Human Church from the conceptually good parts of traditional church and matched it with our understanding of all human learning up to this point. Therefore, we see three main benefits in this church – community, purpose, and consistency.
Being part of a community is critical. Humans are social creatures. We are frail as individuals, but resilient as communities. Feeling like we belong to a community is also a force that binds our modern society together as we’ve grown far beyond tribes. Whether we like our neighbors or not, we know we have to coexist peacefully to enjoy the advantages modern society (particularly in the west) offers such as plentiful food, shelter, and safety.
This church offers community to anyone who wants to Be Better and help humanity Survive and Thrive. Church provides us a place to also enjoy routine, comfort, like-mindedness, and connection just like religions – but without the baggage of inconsistency. More on that later.
Being part of a community is also one of the strongest predictors of individual resilience to stress or hardship.
James Lane Allen said, “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.”
That means we must build our character and our community before adversity strikes – not during. We can build communities using science to experiment and optimize. We can only Be Better together.
We offer purpose. Why did we not align with a Unitarian or some other non-theistic church? We looked and didn’t find one that inspired us to action. While many of them do offer community to those traditionally without one, they don’t seem to offer a clear goal for humanity. Purpose provides perspective. Without a purpose or goals, we cannot know if we are headed in the correct direction.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.”
-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Our purpose is to Be Better for humanity to Survive and Thrive. We will provide a future for our children that is better than today. We will promote human expansion into space to protect against planetary catastrophe. We will build communities that heal ideological divides and strengthen human bonds. We are all in this existence together – we are all human.
Finally, our philosophy strives to provide consistency. We do not rely on faith. We act with purpose, backed by science, and without dogma or mysticism. In everything we do, we aim to be transparent, so anyone can examine and decide for themselves what makes sense. One key to this pursuit of consistency is the willingness to make mistakes, be wrong, and evolve. Consider this open-source humanism.
We look forward to you joining us as we strive to Be Better.