The Denomination – UUA
Unitarian Universalism is a religious denomination with a vast and proud heritage. Our roots date back to 16th Century Europe, during the Protestant reformation, when the words were penned, “No one shall suffer on account of their religion.”
Individuals such as Thomas Jefferson articulated Unitarian values early in the life of this country. The rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity and the adoption of a concept more compatible with science and rational thinking began in Boston following the Revolutionary War.
The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) represents the consolidation in 1961 of two religious traditions– the Universalists, who organized in 1773, and the Unitarians, who organized in 1825.
Originally, the Universalists represented a Christian theology in opposition to the doctrine of salvation only for the Elect. They did not believe that a loving God would condemn people to an eternity of hell. They believed that all souls would eventually be reconciled to this loving God after death, though it would take a longer time for some to get to heaven than others.
The Unitarians declared that God was one being and not a trinity of three, regarding Jesus as more of a moral and ethical teacher than a supernatural being. They believed in the divinity of Jesus as the son of God, but not the same as God. They did not believe that any person was born in a state of “original sin” from which they could only be rescued from at the whim of an arbitrary God. They believed that all people had the potential for good or evil, depending upon the life they chose to live and the social environment in which they were born and raised. They believed that people should interpret the Bible in the light of human reason.
United, the Unitarian Universalists have since become a fellowship of liberal religionists with a strong ethical and cultural content in their programs, with freedom as a hallmark of their faith. Today’s congregations often contain a variety of beliefs: humanist, agnostic, theist, atheist, liberal Christian, pagan, Buddhist, etc. We find wisdom in all the world’s religions. Feminist theology has made an impact on our denomination over the past decade. Our hymnbooks are gender inclusive, and half of our fellowshipped ministers are women.
Today, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) provides leadership in over 1,000 communities throughout the world and maintains the Church of the Larger Fellowship for those in remote countries and communities. Its headquarters and its publication arm, the Beacon Press, are located at 25 Beacon Street, Boston, MA.
For more information, please go to the UUA Home.