Unitarian Universalism

A liberal religious movement embracing a wide spectrum of beliefs and traditions, united by a search for spiritual growth and social justice.

Unitarian Universalism (UU) represents a liberal religious movement that traces its roots back to Protestantism and liberal Christianity, specifically to Unitarianism and Christian universalism. These traditions emphasize intellectual freedom and inclusive love, drawing from all major world religions to form a rich, diverse theological tapestry. This inclusivity means that beliefs among Unitarian Universalists can range from religious humanism, various forms of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and many others, to atheism and agnosticism, reflecting a broad spectrum of spiritual and philosophical perspectives​​.

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) was established in 1961 through the merger of the American Unitarian Association (founded in 1825) and the Universalist Church of America (founded in 1793). The UUA’s headquarters are located in Boston, Massachusetts, and it primarily serves congregations in the United States, although it also includes a group of congregations in the Philippines as a single member. The Canadian Unitarian Council, which was part of the UUA, became an independent body in 2002. The UUA is one of the seventeen members of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, highlighting its global connections and influence​​.

The historical foundations of Unitarian Universalism are deeply embedded in the Reformation period, with Unitarianism emerging in Poland, Transylvania, and England, and later in North America from the original New England Puritan churches. Unitarians sought a reformation aligned with the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, particularly rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity. Universalism, on the other hand, developed from 18th-century radical Pietism and dissent in Baptist and Congregational churches against predestinarian views, advocating a universal salvation as opposed to eternal damnation​​.

Unitarian Universalism is characterized by its commitment to a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, with no creed but a shared search for spiritual growth. This creedless approach allows for a wide variety of beliefs and practices within the community, ranging from traditional Christian worship elements to practices from other religious traditions, depending on individual choices. The movement’s emphasis on inclusivity, social justice, and environmental stewardship reflects its broad, encompassing philosophy​​.

UU congregations affirm and promote seven Principles, which serve as strong values and moral guides, fostering a community that lives out these principles through a living tradition of wisdom and spirituality drawn from diverse sources. This commitment to principles over dogmatic beliefs allows for a flexible and evolving religious practice that is responsive to the needs of its members and the wider world​​.

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