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Religions of the world


Unitarian Universalism

Two jokes:

Jokes of the day as supplied by that we just could not resist posting here:

  • Three children were talking about their religions.
    "I'm a Catholic," said one, "And our symbol is the cross."
    "I'm Jewish," said the second, "And our symbol is the Star of David."
    The third child said, "I'm a Unitarian Universalist and our symbol is a candle in a cocktail glass!"

  • A Unitarian Universalist dies, and on the way to the afterlife encounters a fork in the road with two options: The left path has a sign "to heaven;" while the right has a sign "to a discussion of heaven." Without pausing, the UU turns right.

Beliefnet once posted the following disclaimer that seems applicable here as well.

"We recognize that religious humor can be risky. It is our hope that by laughing at ourselves (and others) we can make this subject more approachable. If you find any of these objectionable, we apologize."

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Two main features of Unitarian Universalism:

  • From a sign at the UU church in Las Vegas, NV: "Different Beliefs, One Congregation"

  • The first of seven principles of Unitarian Universalism: "We affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

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Unitarianism Universalism is an unusual religious organization. Unlike most religions in North America, it does not require its members to adhere to a specific set of beliefs. Its membership includes individuals who identify themselves as Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Humanists, Wiccans, members of other religions and of none. Many inter-faith couples find it to be a comfortable religious home in which both spouses can gain spiritual nourishment without bending each of their personal beliefs out of shape.

UUs view the main function of the congregation as facilitating the spiritual quest of its members. The main function of a UU minister is not to tell the members of the congregation what to believe. Rather, it is to help them develop their own personal religious beliefs, and ethical system.

Major concerns of the UU religion include social justice and service to humanity. Most UUs readily modify their beliefs to match the findings of science. Thus, they were very active in the abolition of slavery. More recently, they have actively working towards achieving equal rights for women, and the attainment of equal rights, including the right to marry, for homosexuals and bisexuals, and the acceptance of transgender persons and transsexuals. They have an influence on the culture that is far beyond what one would expect from their membership numbers.

A Brief history of Unitarian Universalism in the United States:

The North Shore Unitarian Church (NSUC) posted this two minute video on You Tube.

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Topics discussed in this section:

bullet Introduction: Overview, definitions, principles, history
bullet Beliefs

bullet Concerns for the environment

bullet Homosexuality
bullet UU groups and Internet resources
bullet An essay donated by Dr. Tony Larsen: "Why You Should Be A Unitarian Universalist"


Additional information: Comparison with Christianity; recent developments


Unitarianism and Unitarian Universalism groups across the world:

bullet The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (commonly called the Unitarian Universalist Association or UUA) is a liberal religious organization, serving the Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations in the U.S.

bullet The Canadian Unitarian Council links Unitarian congregations in Canada.

bullet The General Assembly of Unitarian & Free Christian Churches links Unitarians in the UK and Ireland.

bullet The International Council of Unitarians and Universalists is a network of Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalist organizations from about two dozen countries. Their web site contains a very useful brief histories of its member organizations.

Resources available on the UUA web site:

Although created for UU congregations, fellowships and individuals, they should also be be of interest to religiously liberal and progressive individuals and congregations:

  • Videos: The Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations has produced a series of short videos called "A Religion for our Time." The series highlights: "... inspiring work in Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations, including innovative projects relating to worship, religious education, social justice, membership, and fellowship." They have titles such as "Joining Voices," "Opening the Doors to Diversity," "Worship that Rocks," "Connect, Respect, Protect," "Multicultural Ministry," "Deepening Faith through Service," "Cluster on the Cutting Edge," etc. See:

  • "Tapestry of Faith:" These are "... programs and resources for all ages that nurture Unitarian Universalist identity, spiritual growth, a transforming faith, and vital communities of justice and love." See:

  • Email lists: There are hundreds of mailing lists hosted by the UUA. Their functions range from providing announcements of activities to discussions on various topics. See:

  • Books:
    • book cover Meg Riley, editor, "Testimony: The Transformative Power of Unitarian Universalism," Skinner House Books, (2017). Meg Riley is the Senior Minister at the "Church of the Larger Fellowship." This is a "congregation without walls," with more than 3,500 members around the world who do not live in the vicinity of a UU congregation. The book sells for $7.83 in Kindle format, and $14.00 in Paperback. Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store.
      Full disclosure: The author of this essay wrote one of the short essays contained in the book.

    • "UU World: the Journey is the Joy:" This is a special "seeker issue" of the UU magazine which is intended to introduce people to the faith. The 32-page magazine is an anthology of articles and photographs, organized in four sections: Who We Are, What We Believe, How We Gather, and What We Do. It is available in packs of 10 or 25. See:

    • book cover Rev. Peter Morales, "The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide, 5th Edition," The inexpensive book is available in Kindle and Paperback formats. Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store

    • book cover Jerrie Hildebrand & Shirley Ranck, "Pagan and Earth-Centered Voices in Unitarian Universalism,"  Skinner House Books (2017) Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store has a free app available that you can download into your PC, Mac computer, or most tablets. It enables you to read Kindle books. See:

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Resources about UUs on the Internet:

  1. The chalice symbol on either side of this essay's title was supplied by Steve Brindenbaugh.
  2. The UUA maintains a web site at
  3. Marta Flanagan's essay, "We are Unitarian Universalists" is at
  4. Rev. Charles Eddis's pamphlet, "What Unitarians and Universalists Believe" is at: This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from: 
  5. has a section on Unitarian Universalism at:
  6. "Principles and Purposes," at:
  7. James Estes, a UU seminarian, has produced an informative guide for persons wanting to become a UU minister. It might also be useful to persons wanting to investigate UU religion more deeply. See:
  8. "The Seven Principles," Unitarian Universalist Association, 2017, at:

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Full disclosure:

The author of this section and of most of the essays on this web site, B.A. Robinson, joined the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto in 1954 and has considered his religious affiliation to be UU ever since, although he has been inactive in the church for decades.

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Copyright 1996 to 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2019-DEC-04
Author: B.A. Robinson

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