Given By Rev. Dr. Roger Ray May 7, 2017
Our guest preacher is the Rev. Dr. Roger Ray. Our sermon today takes its message from a Unitarian hymn. According to Voltaire, “anything too silly to be said is sung.” This song, while difficult to sing, does carry a interesting message – Religion should bring you joy. Rev. Ray wants us to remember three points. First, the ancient iterations of faith from texts, creeds, myths, and traditions has no future in a rational and scientific society. While the demise of magical thinking has been talked about for more than two hundred years, it has managed to reinsert itself into society time and again. The rise of Islamic Fundamentalism is just the latest example of the last gasp of a mythology-based religion. Rev. Ray believes that with new technologies, the oil that funds this will become less important and the religious fervor will decrease. Within our lifetime, we may see the end of gas stations. He believes the three major world religions are ripe for a major reformation. It may come from critical thinking, social transformation, or from economic necessity. These religions will be revealed to not be useful in interpreting the meaning in our lives. The second point Rev. Ray makes come from his favorite quote from Voltaire, “Those who can persuade you to believe in absurdities, can convince you to commit atrocities.” Ethics becomes a matter of assertion. Critical thinking must remain so everyone can be well-informed citizens. Many religions teaches through indoctrination and does not allow critical thinking. While we would not want to live in a world that has not been influenced by religion, we need to be careful not to lose those benefits we fought so hard to gain. We must decide whether to abandon our faith communities because we no longer believe in the ancient texts or find a way to reinvent our faith communities. There has to be something between absurdity and no religion at all. It is through faith communities that real reforms occur. This is where our critical mind blends with our generous heart (compassion). Lastly, while organized religion usually makes us feel guilty before it brings joy, we must make happiness a priority. Most of our activities bring comfort or offer distractions but they do not bring us true joy/happiness. Joy is a gift that can be shared with everyone. As we fight against injustice, poverty, racism, and the host of other issues facing us today, we must find a way to happy about it. Choose to dance!