History of Unitarian Universalism
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious tradition that was formed from the consolidation of two different religions: Unitarianism and Universalism. Both began in Europe hundreds of years ago. In America, the Universalist Church of America was founded in 1793, and the American Unitarian Association in 1825. The two faiths consolidated in 1961, becoming Unitarian Universalism.
Unitarians originally included Christians who didn’t believe in the Holy Trinity of God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), but rather in a single aspect of God. Later, Unitarian beliefs stressed the importance of rational thinking, a direct relationship with God, and the humanity of Jesus. Universalism emerged as a Christian denomination with a central belief in universal salvation.
Since the merger of the two denominations in 1961, Unitarian Universalism has nurtured its Unitarian and Universalist heritages to provide a strong voice for social justice and liberal religion.
To learn more about Unitarian Universalism, please refer to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Website’s article “Unitarian Universalist Origins: Our Historic Faith.”
The Seven Principles
There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- This foundational principle asserts that every person has inherent value that should be supported and encouraged. It does not say that a person can do or say whatever they wish, without regard for the impact upon others. The member congregations will support each member to be the best person they can possibly be.
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- We work together so that all activities the congregations pursue will move toward core values of justice (fair treatment for all), equity (fair distribution of resources), and compassion (feeling for others as well as one’s self).
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- Naturally, this follows from the first two principles; we strive not just to tolerate, but to accept one another and to nurture each person’s individual connections to that which energizes and challenges them in life.
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- It is no accident that this principle lies at the center, for it has been at the core of all Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist history and heritage; that human beings must be free to explore their truth while behaving responsibly toward one another.
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- An assertion that the results of one’s search for truth and meaning need to be shared within community to create a greater truth with more inclusive understanding and more fulfilled actions for the greater good of all.
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- As we recognize that human beings now live in a global village, we also recognize that we need to share our resources so that all may be free and connected.
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part;
- In like manner, we discover that we human beings are not the sole inheritors of creation but must share it fairly with all beings.
Link to video: http://www.uua.org/beliefs/47881.shtml