Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Riddle and Mystery: A Program on the Big Questions for Grade 6

Leader Resource 2: UU Responses to Big Questions

1. Where do we come from?

Most Unitarian Universalists believe everything in our known universe comes out of the stardust created by a Big Bang. Our history from then to now can best by traced by science. Why there was a Big Bang, and why there is anything at all remains a mystery.

2. What are we?

We are Unitarian Universalists. We are what we say. We are what we do. We are what we make ourselves. These are some of our humanistic beliefs.

3. Where are we going?

We agree that we humans play a huge part in deciding where we are going. We have the power to move individually and together toward goals like peace and justice and equality—goals reflected in our Unitarian Universalist Principles.

4. Does God exist?
Most Unitarian Universalists do not believe in a god who resembles a human, who lives in Heaven and who decides what will happen to people. Many Unitarian Universalists feel there is a power beyond us, a mysterious power we can never fully know. Some believe this power is the power of love. Some UUs, even some Humanists, call that power God, and their ideas of what God is like may vary tremendously. Others call a power beyond us the Spirit of Life, Great Mystery or other names.

5. How did life begin?

Unitarian Universalists believe that science and the theory of evolution best explain how life began. Many UUs enjoy stories and myths about the beginning of life. They see these as artistic and poetic explanations and may find in them some meaning or some truth—but not literal truth.

6. What happens when we die?

Most Unitarian Universalists say we do not know what happens when we die. That is a mystery we cannot fully solve while we are still alive. Most UUs do not believe in a physical afterlife, but a natural ending to our physical beings. UUs have different beliefs about how one's spirit may exist after physical death, but most UUs would agree that we may leave a "spirit legacy" in the people who loved us and the good things we did to make the world a better place.

7. Why do bad things happen?

Not because God or the Devil makes them happen. Nature causes some bad things, and people cause a lot more. The idea of human agency and the tools of science help us understand how, if not why, bad things happen. As Unitarian Universalists, we like to know how and why bad things have happened when that information helps us make things better.

8. Is life fair?

No. Unitarian Universalists generally agree that life is not fair. Our humanist ideas say our job as people is to work for justice and equality and do all we can to make life more fair.

9. How can I tell right from wrong?

Unitarian Universalists find guidance in our Unitarian Universalist Principles, the Golden Rule and ideas from many UU Sources. A very important guide is our inner feelings, especially our conscience. It is helpful to discuss moral issues and decisions with others you respect, and to explore these issues in a faith community like our UU congregations.

10. What is truth?

There are different kinds of truth, such as scientific truth, which can be supported by evidence, and spiritual and moral truths that are based not on science, but on reason, values, opinions, beliefs, and even feelings. These non-scientific truths — such as "all people are created equal" — are some of the most important truths. UUs find their own spiritual truths, with the help of their UU communities and UU Sources. Some truths that UUs share are expressed in the Principles.

11. How am I connected with everything else?

Unitarian Universalists say they have been connected with everything from the Big Bang on. UUs believe all life is connected. Love cements our connections and helps build community. Because of these connections, UUs believe we should act responsibly toward others and all life that shares our planet.

12. What should I do with my own life?

Unitarian Universalists say people should follow their inner calling. Most UUs try to live according to their own beliefs and values. Most find their own beliefs and values reflected in our UU Principles as well as the Golden Rule.

13. Do I have a soul?

Many Unitarian Universalists use the word "soul" to speak of their deepest inner self. They likely do not think of "the soul" as the piece of them that travels to a place called heaven or is reincarnated on earth after death.