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Religion Library: Unitarian-Universalism

Quick Facts

Formed1825 CE
OriginUnited States
DeityVarious or none
Sacred TextsBible (contested)
HeadquartersBoston, MA USA

Unitarian-Universalism (commonly referred to as UU) is the result of the 1961 merging of two, pluralistic, Christian-based religious movements (even though many Unitarian-Universalists claim they are not a Christian denomination). Unitarianism was originally organized during the 16th century C.E. Reformation in Poland, Transylvania, and England, and then later developed from a break with the Protestant Puritans in New England. The Unitarians reject the doctrine of the Triune nature of God, which is held common among most Christian denominations. They claim a singular unity of God. The Universalists formed in the 18th century C.E. after a split with Baptist and Congregationalist churches over a teaching that claimed only a small number of people would be saved. Universalists claim that God will restore all humanity and that eternal torment in hell is a fabrication, not supported by the Bible. Even though Unitarians and Universalists originally viewed the Bible as an authority, there is currently much variety regarding its authority and sacredness. Many Unitarian-Universalist congregations use hymns and other ritual practices, but the majority of their religious beliefs are based on experience and reason. Unitarian-Universalists reject the use of confessions or creeds and do not rely on tradition or clerical authority, but believe in freedom of religious thought and tolerance regarding differing rituals and customs in worship and religious practice. The majority of Unitarian-Universalist congregations are in the United States, where they are noted for their attention and participation in issues of social justice including equality in race and gender.

Pauline Rooney explains what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist in today's world.

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