Unitarians, Baha'i, and the Singularity

David Lubkin (lubkin@unreasonable.com)
Mon, 30 Aug 1999 01:32:34 -0400

>Do you know anything about Unitarianism? I met a woman last night who
>claimed to be one. It was the first I've ever heard of it. Apparently they
>believe that people can believe what ever they want. The have a church,
>minister, everything. What I can't understand is if you can believe
>whatever you want then what are they worshipping? I understand there are
>atheists as well as theists in this religion, if you can even call it that.
>Also is this related in any way to Baha'i?

They are both very tolerant of other beliefs. Unitarians often make their churches available for outside groups, like folk-acoustic concerts or SCA events.

It's never been clear to me if Unitarians have a theology of their own. There's an old joke that Unitarian prayers start out "To Whom It May Concern". The Baha'i have an elaborate theology and several holy books. Unitarian is considered a denomination of Christianity; Baha'i is considered a religion.

Then there are Buddhists, who are largely tolerant and rational. Many embrace science. But I've always thought of Buddhism as more of a philosophy than a religion, despite its mythological side. And it is not inherently incompatible with transhumanism or extropianism.

I suspect that virtually all current religions will survive the Singularity. They may shrink in numbers, they may modify their beliefs, but they will survive. Tough memes to kill. And it wouldn't surprise me if Buddhism wound up with the highest number of adherents out of current religions, with the smallest modifications to their teachings.

I'm recently re-inspired to write sf again. One theme I'm looking at is how the devoutly religious will adapt to an extropian future. I'm finding a few surprises. Jewish theologians, for instance, first considered the ramifications of non-human intelligences in the Talmud nearly 2000 years ago.

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