What do Unitarian Universalists Believe?
“Unitarian Universalism is a liberal faith which draws on the truths of the world’s great religions. We are bound by no statement of belief, and our members tend to keep open minds in a continuing quest for their own religious and spiritual truths. We abide by our Covenantal relationships.”
Unitarian Universalism celebrates and affirms a wide range of individual theological beliefs. All people of good will are welcome to bring their whole selves into our community, a community where no person should ever feel a stranger.
Freedom of individual belief is the hallmark of Unitarian Universalism. We have no creed nor is there a test for membership based on a specific doctrine. Ours is a faith which places final authority in these matters to the conscience of each person. We do not hold any specific scriptural text or religious tradition as authoritative. It would not be unusual to find a Unitarian Universalist who, based on his or her own experience and reasoned examination, holds the mission and life of Jesus to be unique and inspirational, seated beside another Unitarian Universalist on a Sunday morning who has come to the conclusion that God does not exist.
Unitarian and Universalist views have evolved under the impact of science, philosophy and encounters with world religions. Although many Unitarians and Universalists come from a Christian background, our numbers today include people raised in most of the major world religions and in other traditions. Some describe themselves as theists. Others call themselves Humanists, others Pagans, and still others Buddhists. Many feel uncomfortable with labels, whether Christian or other.
This does not mean that we don’t hold a number of very important principles in common or that, as is sometimes implied, that “Unitarian Universalists can believe anything they want.” We are quite united in our basic values and core beliefs. We believe that each person possesses an inherent worth and dignity. We believe each person is entitled to respect and the right to explore, question, and to responsibly find meaning in life in his or her own way. Unitarian Universalists believe in equality and strive to bring justice to the world. We believe all people should be treated equally and with compassion. We believe in the power of love, and the connectedness of all life on this planet.
You will often hear Unitarian Universalists express the basic beliefs of our faith in terms of “The Seven Principles” – while actually a COVENANT between our congregants is what binds us.
The PRINCIPLES are the core values of what we hold in common:
- 1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- 2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- 3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- 4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- 5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- 6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- 7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Likewise, we draw our inspiration from a wide variety of traditions and perspectives, often expressed as “The Sources of our Living Tradition”
THE LIVING TRADITION WE SHARE DRAWS FROM MANY SOURCES
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures which moves us to renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Words 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;
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
- Spiritual 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.
OBERLIN UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST FELLOWSHIP MISSION
The Oberlin Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is a welcoming, caring community that promotes religious freedom, encourages spiritual and personal growth, and works for a peaceful, just, and sustainable world. (Revised June 6, 2010)
We the members and friends of the Oberlin Unitarian Universalist Fellowship covenant to live together in our quest for truth, love, social justice, and environmental responsibility. In this spirit of caring fellowship, we offer our combined gifts and resources that ours may be an open, affirming, and welcoming congregation.
Want to know more? Check out this informational video about UU congregations:
Note: the current President of the UUA is Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, and the Co-Moderators are Meg Riley and Charles Du Mond.