Shawn, in the middle of one of his comments at Philocrites, commented (in so many words) that the he’s not an angry Humanist, and I realized I never thought he was. But I know of what he refers.
The old angry Humanists. I know the type, you know the type. To use a UU-ism, “they have influence out of proportion to their numbers.” I knew one older Humanist — an atomic physicist; I was in high school at the time — who was obviously interested in my welfare and that I not make mistakes (what would he think now?) but the stereotype of the haunch-standing, combative, and rude Humanist persists. Granted, it took me a long while to realize a lot of these Humanists were just being Yankee transplants in the South, so there might be a social or regional componant that we’re talking past each other. (Native Southern Unitarian Universalists — not from the old Universalist churches — don’t set me off the same way. But that’s my deal.) For the sake of arguement, consider the angry old Humanist a meme, and we can discuss the demographic validity of the concept later.
(For the sake of balance, I’ve known plenty of Unitarian and Universalist Christians were are socially inept, prone to esoterica — Esperanto? –, bitter, or a combination of these. The difference being there’s not enough of a social pattern there to develop a stereotype. I suppose that’s a good thing.)
But the thing is that among people my own age — broadly 25 to 45, with a few exeptions either way — I get along quite well, whatever their theology.
And then I thought: I knew there were bitter fights in the past, but there is enough ancedotal evidence to suggest ministers — since we have denomination-wide anecdotes about ministers — two and three generations ago must have felt something similiar across their peer group.
Hypothesis: we can make friends with unlike Unitarian Universalists of our own era, but this friendship doesn’t tranfer to other like Unitarian Universalists.
Comment please, and then I’ll write later about the non-Christian thing again.