1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email

Unitarian Universalist Beliefs and Practices

Distinctive Beliefs of the Unitarian Universalists Association

By

The Unitarian Universalists Association (UUA), one of the most liberal religions, encourages its members to search for truth in their own way, at their own pace. Although Unitarian Universalist beliefs borrow from many faiths, the religion does not have a creed and avoids doctrinal requirements.

Unitarian Universalist Beliefs

Bible - Belief in the Bible is not required. The Bible is a collection of profound insights from the men who wrote it but also reflects biases and cultural ideas from the times in which it was written and edited.

Communion - Each UUA congregation decides on how it will express the community sharing of food and drink. Some do it as an informal coffee hour after services, while others use a formal ceremony to recognize Jesus' contributions.

Equality - The religion does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual preference, or national origin.

God - Some Unitarian Universalists believe in God; some do not. Belief in God is optional in the church, one of the most liberal religions.

Heaven, Hell - Unitarian Universalism considers heaven and hell to be states of mind, created by individuals and expressed through their actions.

Jesus Christ - Jesus Christ was an outstanding human being, but divine only in the sense that all people possess a "divine spark." The religion denies the Christian teaching that God required a sacrifice for the atonement of sin.

Prayer - Some members pray while others meditate. The religion sees the practice as spiritual or mental discipline.

Sin - While the UUA recognizes that human beings are capable of destructive behavior and that people are responsible for their actions, it rejects the belief that Christ died to redeem the human race from sin.

Unitarian Universalist Practices

Sacraments - Unitarian Universalist beliefs state that life itself is a sacrament, to be lived with justice and compassion. However, the religion recognizes that dedicating children, celebrating coming of age, joining in marriage, and commemorating the dead are important events and holds services for those occasions.

Worship Service - Held on Sunday morning and at various times during the week, services start with lighting of the flaming chalice, the Unitarian Universalism symbol of faith. Other parts of the service include vocal or instrumental music, prayer or meditation, and a sermon. Sermons may be about Unitarian Universalist beliefs, controversial social issues, or politics.

To learn more about Unitarian Universalist beliefs, visit the official Unitarian Universalist Church website.

(Sources: UUA.org and Religions of America, edited by Leo Rosten.)

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.