Is God Necessary? NO! and YES!
By Herbert F. Vetter
What are the working principles of socially responsible liberal religion? How do we daily express our faith through our action in today’s society? With respect to democracy in America, what is the role of a socially concerned congregation?
There is never any single way to answer such questions, and it is important to note that we are neither the first to raise such issues, nor the first to answer. For generations, those who have gone before us have fashioned working principles of liberal religious living, saying Yes to what enhances Life and No to all that thwarts movement toward the fullness of life. We are continuing heirs of enduring working principles of socially responsible religion, faithful principles which undergird and overarch our institutions.
- We stand for individual freedom of inquiry and belief as a vital center of responsibly creative and concerned community.Therefore, we stand opposed to every idol of infallibility: Idols of the Book, the Person, the Church, the State, the Tradition—idols meant to have immunity to criticism, idols which forever retard advancing truth by rigid requirements of conformity in faith and life.
- We stand for unrestricted use of reason in religion as a guiding, disciplining agent of the faith that makes people free and whole, members one of another in an emerging world community of life.Therefore, we stand opposed to every wall of antirational devotion which cripples life: Walls of nationalistic prejudice, religious exclusiveness, racial arrogance, and vindictive caste and class.
- We stand for tolerance of differing religious views and practices within a context of commitment to the democratic process in church and state, school and industry and home.Therefore, we swear upon the altar of God eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the human body, mind, heart, and soul.
- We stand for religion as a human experience of what is real, yet waiting to be realized; what is ideal, yet the greatest of present facts; religion as adventure, a flight after the unattainable; religion as integrating encounter with life as it is and life as it can be.Therefore, we stand eternally opposed to the irreligious force of fragmentary purpose which disregards the religious vision; and, likewise, to every form of faith that surrenders creative zest to stifling uniformity.
- We stand for fellowship which is truly ecumenical, embracing east and west and north and south; uniting men and women and children of diversity of faith in sacred common quest for:
truth for the mind,
good works for the hand,
love for the heart,
and for the soul that aspiring after perfection,
that unfaltering faith in Life which, like lightning in the clouds,
shines brightest when elsewhere it is most dark.