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Compliments and Questions

from: Susan Renton

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Dear Patriarch,

Hello. My name is Susan Renton. For a great while, I have had doubts in all religions and felt like an outsider because I did not believe wholeheartedly in anything. In the past few months, I had been researching religions and theories. I stumbled onto uctaa.org and finally felt like I had found my niche in society.

First of all, I would like to thank you and all of the members of the church for having a web site like uctaa.org. I felt so relieved when I read through the site, that something like it existed. It was as if all my life I had been travelling through a desert and the beliefs of UCTAA were that drink of water my parched being desired and needed.

My mother is Methodist, my father is Lutheran, and my sister is Baptist. They don’t like the fact that I have chosen to be Agnostic. Any time religion comes up, my sister tells me she is distraught about the "fact" that I am going to Hell. Then I ask her, "How can you be so sure there is a Hell?" and I chuckle.

I have found too many fallacies in "normal" religions. I don’t understand how someone can believe in something so far-fetched. Along my journey of finding a religion, I discussed that issue with my boss, whom is a devout bible-thumper, and her response was "Susan, that is what faith is all about. One has to have faith that the writings in the bible are the only way to believe. Christianity is right, you should realize that." She is the type of person who gives Christian people a bad name because, in a way, she is a hypocrite. She says that any other religions are wrong, yet her religion (from what I understand) teaches acceptance of all people. I feel that "I don’t know, and I don’t care" is the perfect mantra for me.

I have a few questions I was hoping you could answer. First off, are there any branches of UCTAA in the central Illinois region? I would like to get involved if there are, because it would be nice to be able to socialize and discuss issues with people who share my beliefs. Secondly, is there a UCTAA marriage ceremony? I am not involved with anyone at this point in time, but I am 19 years old and look forward a marriage in the next 5-7 years (hopefully!).

the Patriarch replies:

Susan:

First, I'll answer your two questions:

While we have several clergy in Illinois, none of them is very active currently. Feel free to contact one of the Illinois Senior clergy listed in the Contacts section of the Clergy Resource site if any are near you. Perhaps when I publish your letter, you may hear from some local fellow agnostics - just exercise due caution if anyone does email you.

As to a marriage ceremony - we have a few on our Clergy Resource Site - www.ApatheticAgnostic.com/crs - then work your way through to the ceremonial section.

It can be a challenge when you have to deal with believers both at home and at work. And I always find the threats of Hell to be strange. How can these people believe "God is love" while at the same time claim he is so cruel as to give out eternal torment just for the sin of disbelief. Their loving god treats us the same as mass murderers? The mind just boggles.

Best wishes, and lots of luck dealing with your boss.