podcast 168 – The Death of Unitarian Congregationalism

January 16, 2017

How and why did American Unitarian Congregationalism die?

In this episode I react to last week’s chapter by Dr. Alvan Lamson, and talk about some further statements of his.

I then put this movement into its historical context, briefly explain how it ceased to be Christian, and then discuss factors which led to its demise. I focus in particular on their extreme anti-creedalism, their anti-intellectualism, their devotion to politics and focus on various humanitarian causes, the upper-class nature of the movement, their elitism and dismissal of more “emotional” piety, and their fetishizing of theological diversity.

Finally, I discuss ten factors which sociologist Dr. Rodney Stark has suggested explain the success or failure of religious movements, and how they apply to the case at hand. If I’m right, Stark’s theory reveals some key weak points of the movement.

Links for this episode:

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.

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