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UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM

Beliefs

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Unitarian Universalist beliefs

The two religious organizations that became the "UUA" were originally viewed by the public as Christian churches who were defined largely by their heretical beliefs about the nature of God and the afterlife. However a gradual change started during the 19th century and continues today. It is now a multi-faith religious group.

Emerson was a powerful force in starting this change. His Divinity School Address emphasized the importance of intellectual freedom and reason. Most modern day Unitarian Universalists share the following beliefs -- that:

bulletEach person, because of her/his humanity inherently has dignity and worth.
bulletEach person seek his/her unique spiritual path, based upon their personal life experience, the use of reason and meditation, the findings of science and her/his fundamental beliefs concerning deity, humanity, and the rest of the universe.
bulletThe prime function of a clergyperson and congregation is to help the individual members to grow spiritually.
bulletAll the great religions of the world, and their sacred texts, have worth.
bulletThere should be no barrier to membership, such as compulsory adherence to a creed.
bulletTheir lives, their congregations and association are governed by the concepts of democracy, religious freedom and religious tolerance
bulletMuch of their effort should be directed towards civil rights, achieving equality of treatment for everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. They have played a major role in these battles for equal rights, in spite of their relatively small numbers.

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Unitarian Universalist Statement of Principles and Purposes:

The UUA adopted the following Principles and Purposes in 1997:

The Principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association

"We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:

bulletThe inherent worth and dignity of every person
bulletJustice, equity and compassion in human relations
bulletAcceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
bulletA free and responsible search for truth and meaning
bulletThe right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
bulletThe goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
bulletRespect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part

The living tradition we share draws from many sources:

bulletDirect experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life
bulletWords and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love
bulletWisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life
bulletJewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves
bulletHumanist teachings which counsel us to keep the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit
bulletSpiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision. As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support."

The Purposes of the Unitarian Universalist Association:
"The Unitarian Universalist Association shall devote its resources to and exercise its corporate powers for religious, educational and humanitarian purposes. The primary purpose of the Association is to serve the needs of its member congregations, organize new congregations, extend and strengthen Unitarian Universalist institutions and implement its principles.

The Association declares and affirms its special responsibility, and that of its member societies and organizations, to promote the full participation of persons in all of its and their activities and in the full range of human endeavor without regard to race, color, sex, disability, affectional or sexual orientation, age, or national origin and without requiring adherence to any particular interpretation of religion or to any particular religious belief or creed.

Nothing herein shall be deemed to infringe upon the individual freedom of belief which is inherent in the Universalist and Unitarian heritages or to conflict with any statement of purpose, covenant, or bond of union used by any society unless such is used as a creedal test.
"

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Site navigation: Home page > World religions > Unitarian Universalism > here

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Copyright 1996 to 2002 incl. by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2002-DEC-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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