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HANDOUT 4: Unitarian Universalism Fact Sheet

Founded/Created: Two Christian denominations with religious traditions dating back 2,000 years to early Christianity consolidated in 1961 to form the Unitarian Universalist Association.

In the United States, Unitarian thought arose within established churches in the late 1700s; the American Unitarian Association founded in 1825. Universalist thought arose in opposition to Calvinism in the 1700s; a regional group (the New England convention) organized and adopted a profession of beliefs in 1803.

Adherents: 800,000 worldwide

Ranking: Approximately 20th

Sources of Religious Authority: There are six named Sources of religious authority: personal experience; words and deeds of prophetic people; wisdom from the world's religions; teachings from Jewish and Christian scripture; reason and the teachings of science; the natural world.

Prophets: Many Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists have contributed their prophetic voices to the shaping of their faith tradition and to issues facing the broader community and world.

Symbol: Flaming chalice

Terms and Fundamental Precepts:

Human beings

Every human being has worth and dignity. All people are deserving of love and compassion.

God

Unitarian Universalists have many different ideas about God. Some believe in God and others do not. Some use words like Nature, Love, Humanity, or Spirit of Life to name a force greater than themselves.

Truth

Truth is revealed in many different ways and there is always more truth to be found. Every person is responsible for seeking truth and meaning in life and for tending to their own spiritual journey.

Community

We are all connected to one another. Unitarian Universalists strive to build beloved communities of peace and justice in congregations and in the world.

Nature

We are part of the natural world. Our actions and choices should support the well being of all life that shares the interdependent web of life on earth.

Action

Actions matter far more than belief. As Unitarian Thomas Jefferson said, "... it is in our lives and not from our words that our religion must be judged."

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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Learn more about the Beliefs & Principles of Unitarian Universalism, or read our online magazine, UU World, for features on today's Unitarian Universalists. Visit an online UU church, or find a congregation near you.

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