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What is Unitarian Universalism?

Unitarian Universalism formed from the consolidation of two religious movements, Unitarianism and Universalism, which both have roots stretching back hundreds of years to Europe. In the United States, the Universalist Church of America was founded in 1793, and the American Unitarian Association in 1825. In 1961, these two movements merged to form the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).

Early Unitarians emphasized the importance of rational thinking, the humanity of Jesus, and that we humans should work together to change this world for the better. Early Universalists rejected the idea of hell in a next world, and over time their focus evolved toward "loving the hell out of this world."

Although the roots of both Unitarianism and Universalism are in the Christian tradition, twenty-first century Unitarian Universalism is a non-creedal religious movement which allows individual Unitarian Universalists the freedom to search for truth on many paths. In the words of a former president of the UUA, "the memory we seek to embody is of forebears wise enough to put aside the creedal question of 'What do we all believe in common?' for more profound, covenantal questions: 'How shall we treat and help one another here? What hopes might we share? What promises shall we make to help deepen one another's lives in the time we have?.

We are a "big tent", and you will find Unitarian Universalists, who draw inspiration from Atheism, Agnosticism, Buddhism, Christianity, Daoism, Humanism, Islam, Judaism, Paganism, and other religious or philosophical traditions.

We believe in deeds more than creeds, and that "We don't have to believe alike to love alike."

One contemporary attempt to name some core characteristics of Unitarian Universalism is that,

  • It's a blessing each of us was born;
  • It matters what we do with our lives;
  • What each of us knows...is a piece of the truth;
  • We don't have to do it alone (by Laila Ibrahim)

You may also be interested in some of Rev. Carl's blog posts about UU history:

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