Who Are These UUs Anyway?
Unitarian Universalists do not require an unchanging set of beliefs. Rather, we believe faith to be a spiritual journey that will last our whole lives. Our members encompass a wide spectrum of beliefs. Some are firmly grounded in traditional faiths. Others view religion with skepticism. Still others embrace personally wrought conceptions of the divine. Our common ground is a respectful embrace of spiritual diversity.
Unitarian Universalism represents the union of two parallel denominations whose roots go back to the first few centuries of Christianity. Unitarianism and Universalism were characterized by philosophies that emphasized belief as a living process, which evolves as our knowledge and experience increase. Both denominations called on their adherents to put their faith into action through service to others. Both also recognized the wisdom of other faiths and incorporated teachings from diverse sources into the body of knowledge upon which believers could and should draw. In 1961, leaders of the two American branches of these faiths, the American Unitarian Association and the Universalist Church of America, merged to form the Unitarian Universalist Association, of which Emerson is a member. As a member of the UUA we affirm and promote the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism, and draw inspiration from Six Sources.
The Seven Principles
First Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
Second Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
Third Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
Fourth Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
Fifth Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
Sixth Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
Seventh Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
The Six Sources
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a 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.