— How about a UU Mental Health Study & Is TheNewUU Destined for the UCC?

April 24, 2013 at 5:13 pm | Posted in Online Ministry | 1 Comment

A new study from the Journal of Religion and Health concludes that individuals who believe in a punitive, vengeful God display 4 out of 5 classes of psychiatric symptoms. Well, that’s not too surprising, I guess. A  Huffington Post news story about the study enticed me in but there wasn’t much meat there.

It made me think that a study of UU mental health might be a good thing for both lay people and clergy.

Here’s a quote from the study’s abstract:

“Three beliefs about God were tested separately in … regression models to predict five classes of psychiatric symptoms: general anxiety, social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion. Belief in a punitive God was positively associated with four psychiatric symptoms, while belief in a benevolent God was negatively associated with four psychiatric symptoms, controlling for demographic characteristics, religiousness, and strength of belief in God. Belief in a deistic God and one’s overall belief in God were not significantly related to any psychiatric symptoms.”

Meanwhile, Heather and I are still trying out a number of UU congregations in Massachusetts that are within driving distance of our second home. Two weeks ago I entered one and a greeter and I began a conversation. “Where do you live?” he asked right away. I answered. He said: “Uh, you know there’s a church there…” Silence and an awkward look on my face. He realized what he had sounded like. “But, we’re better!” I smiled and said: “I think we’ll go where we feel comfortable and accepted,” He smiled back, and I walked into the sanctuary.

I’m beginning to wonder, folks, if this NewUU, who considers herself religious, can actually be religious if Heather and I can’t find a congregation that feels right. We’re trying.

I can’t believe I’m going to say this but here goes: This NewUU may turn to the UCC if things keep going at this rate. Parts of our family on Heather’s side are life-long UCC members. Our sister-in-law’s father is a UCC minister. The UCC near to us actually markets itself with a UU chalice on some of its literature.

I don’t know. I may resort to being spiritual and not, ironically, religious, if being religious means belonging to a physical congregation.

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  1. Maybe you need to think about whether you are comfortable with a more pluralistic religious environment or prefer a more traditional christian environment. I don’t think many realize the comfort level they experienced with environments that they experienced earlier in life even if those environments fell short of expectations. As liberal christian environments become more welcoming, they are creating welcoming experiences not previously available. As a HUUmanist I find UU environments are becoming more complicated, i.e. more work. I think this is growing pains, we are only 50+ years old 🙂 I am committed to sticking to the vision of a welcoming beloved community. This may change in the future, but I hope not.


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