(Gee, this is starting to sound like a UUism blog again…)
I am a UU because the concept of refining belief through reason has been salvific in my rather difficult life. Of every religion I’ve looked into, UUism offers the best mix of thinking and feeling. If it errs on the side of thinking, that’s fine, because so do I.
People should join UU churches because UUism offers institutionalized religious freedom. We’re a place where you can continue to explore faith and leave your mind open, but do it in a community. We come together knowing that we’re blind men touching an elephant. Some of us think that which is greater than ourselves feels like a trunk, some a tail, some a leg, etc. Our church lets us try to get a feel for as much of the elephant as we can, even if that means suggesting that someone else might be jumping to incorrect conclusions about the elephant’s nature.
People should join because they find that they are missing something. Either their current religion leaves them wanting more or they don’t have a religion and long to explore the nature of that which is greater than themselves.
I’m not sure what you’re asking on the third question. It benefits individuals to join a community like this because it provides a place to worship and an hour or two a week when one is guaranteed to look beyond oneself for something greater. The network of community support is vital. After all, if we cannot depend on a personal God who will intercede and help us, then the need for us to take care of one another becomes glaringly obvious. Each new person brings new experiences and new ideas.
And we hold a mean pancake breakfast.