A Brief look at our history

In December of 1973, Tom Blackburn organized the Unitary Mission Church while stationed at the Arnold Air Force Station in Tennessee as a way of committing himself to the one (unitary) mission of living a life based on reason and reasonable principles. He soon found others of like mind, including Bob Dunn from Cleveland, Ohio. Dunn has been the most influential in organizing all of the thought processes to methodically pursue the seeking of truth so as to be able to live a life based on Reason.

In the fall of 1974 Dunn organized the Seekers of Eternal Truths. The name was chosen to reflect the vital importance of the role of knowledge in human affairs, especially the spiritual. In January 1977 the name of the Church was changed to The First Church of Rational Conscience: 'First' indicating that, so far as known, no religion had been previously established to serve our specific views; 'Church' used to make it clear that this is a religious activity and not to be confused with philosophic or other types of organizations; 'Rational' designating our belief that reason is man's ultimate means to truth and thus his proper guide to action (fallible as reason might be in use, man does not have any other real place to turn; and 'Conscience' serving to identify the fact that we are concerned with the most basic views that our members hold and that they will be fully honest in their efforts to act routinely in accord with those views, judging their own actions by the highest standards known to themselves.

In early 1988 the name was changed to the Church of Reason (principally in the interest of clarity and simplicity). Other Churches affiliated with this pursuit of reason followed suit and adopted the name as well.

In 2001, at the beginning of the new Millennium, Reason's Fellowship provides what, fundamentally, the Baptist church provides for the Baptists, the Catholic church provides for the Catholics, the Jewish temples provide for the Jews and so on: that is, any successful organized religious establishment--regardless of the content of its beliefs--fulfills certain basic human psychological needs and desires by manifesting the following characteristics:

  1. CONTINUITY -- uninterrupted persistence over time without essential change,
  2. STABILITY -- resistance to change and the strength to stand or endure,
  3. IDENTITY -- a reflection of one's own beliefs in the institution,
  4. FELLOWSHIP -- association with other of like mind, and
  5. FRATERNITY -- an opportunity for division of labor.

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