A brief history of The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic
The Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic was founded in 1996. Initially it was a single page on the founder's personal web page comprised of the church's name, the three Articles of Faith, and the disclaimer found as a footnote to the current Table of Contents. There were no thoughts at that time that the web site would grow, nor that the Church would actually have a membership, not to mention the estimated 10,000 who have joined over the years. Rather, the page was intended as a light-hearted presentation of John Tyrrell's personal religious beliefs.
The roots of the church go back further. In 1965 while a student at The Royal Military College of Canada, John Tyrrell first used "I don't know and I don't care" to describe his understanding of god, and shortly thereafter thought of Apathetic Agnosticism as a name for this doctrine. (No claim for originality is made here. Several other individuals have been encountered over the years who independently have made the same linkage of the motto to the term Apathetic Agnostic.) Since that time, John has used Apathetic Agnostic to describe his personal religious conviction. However, until creating the initial web page, John made no effort to promote Apathetic Agnosticism to others.
In creating the church's first site, ironic terminology was deliberately chosen in selecting the overblown name of the church and in calling the first exposition of the church's doctrine "Articles of Faith." In spite of the church developing a serious side over the years, these terms are retained to remind us to laugh at ourselves as well as others.
Initially, as a small element in a larger personal web site (a typical "advertisement for myself") the first church web page attracted little notice, but in 1996 it started generating correspondence. This led to the expansion of the site starting with commentary on the Articles of Faith and the initiation of the Meditations section. Shortly afterwards, the Talk Back section was introduced to provide opposing views.
As the site expanded, it was removed from John's personal page and given its own separate space, first on Tripod, and later on Webjump.
In 1997, a membership option was introduced, making the Church a reality rather than a statement of personal beliefs. In 1998 a clerical hierarchy was created and the Church started offering ordination and degrees from the International University of Nescience.
While a considerable number of people joined the Church, became ordained, and some wrote articles for the web site, very few of them established a continuing relationship with the church. This changed in late 2000 when an increasing number of individuals joined who wished to actively participate and to influence the direction of the Church.
As a result of a more active membership, there were a number of new initiatives including the creation of a private message board for members, the creation of a Clergy Resource Site, a number of other web sites promoting regional elements of the Church including a German site. Also, John Tyrrell purchased on behalf of the Church the uctaa.org and ApatheticAgnostic.com domain names. From January 2001 to December 2002, the web site under both domain names was hosted by our Patriarch of Florida's company, SnapJax Web Services. In December, 2002, ApatheticAgnostic.com moved to a commercial host.
Some understandable conflicts arose out of the many changes in this period, relating to the direction of the church and to personality differences, which culminated in the head of the church revoking the appointment of one of the Patriarchs and severing personal contact with him. This is the only revocation to date, and it is hoped that it will be the last. It should be noted that the individual was not thrown out of the Church and is still a member as far as we are concerned. There is no mechanism for involuntary departure; the only way to leave the Church is by resigning.
Until January 2003, the Church was presented as a membership organization. However, it was never incorporated. Several incidents led to concerns about legal liability. As this organization had never been incorporated, the potential for liability fell solely on the founder.
The founder remains steadfastly uninterested in incorporation. The ApatheticAgnostic.com web site continues as before.
For those interested in a true membership association, UCTAA was legally incorporated in the United States in 2003. However, for various reason, the incorporation was allowed to lapse.
Over the years, the church has added several domain names. It can currently be found at uctaa.net; uctaa.com; apatheticagnostic.com; apatheticagnostic.org; apatheticagnostic.info; and agnosticism.ca. Uctaa.org is used as a message board address.
Looking to the future, the Church expects to continue to expand web site content and to continue to present a message of Agnosticism, balanced between seriousness and tongue in cheek.
Currently, we have friends, clergy and associates in the following places around the world:
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Northern Ireland
- Republic of Ireland
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South Korea
- John Tyrrell
- This list is not intended to indicate official support or opposition towards any particular political alignment, whether past, present, or proposed. The purpose is simply to indicate the geographical reach of the Church.