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Where our treasure is, there our heart be also. And where our heart is there will be our reason and our premises. — James Luther Adams

Throughout history, humans have proclaimed the sources of their religious knowledge as a means to establish a basis of authority for their religious beliefs. The Principles and Sources of the Unitarian Universalist Association include human reason as an important Source of our living tradition. This workshop recounts some historical events and philosophical ideas that shaped the use of reason as a source of religious authority and tracks how this Source became ingrained in Unitarian Universalism.

Before leading this workshop, review the Accessibility Guidelines for Workshop Presenters in the program Introduction. Make preparations to accommodate individuals who may be in the group.


This workshop will:

  • Offer a historical perspective on reason as a source of religious knowledge
  • Introduce several Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists who upheld reason as a source of authority in religious thought
  • Offer the opportunity to consider the place of reason in religion.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Learn about the history of reason as a source of authority in Western religious thought
  • Learn about religious forebearers who upheld reason as a source of religious knowledge
  • Identify the basis(es) of authority for their own religious beliefs.

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