What Does “UU” Mean?
The word Unitarian derives from “one God.” The word Universalist derives from “all are saved.” View this video to get a good sense of what Unitarian Universalism is all about.
Our Roots Are in Protestant Christianity
Unitarians and Universalists were separate denominations that merged in 1961. Unitarianism was founded by people who wanted to follow the moral teachings of the human Jesus rather than worship Jesus as a deity. They emphasized the unity of God rather than the trinity. Universalism was founded on “universal salvation,” the principle that a loving God would not condemn human beings to hell. Both traditions encourage religious freedom. They were influenced by 19th century transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman. They embraced the findings of science and were instrumental in the development of humanism in the 20th century.
UUs Do Not Adhere to Only One Sacred Text
We believe that the Bible is a valuable book containing many important lessons and that it was written by humans over a long period of time. The Bible and its many interpretations have shaped our Unitarian Universalist history. Today it is used in most Unitarian Universalist congregations as one of many sources of inspiration and reflection. Modern day Unitarian Universalism does not hold to the Bible as the word of God and the source of absolute truth. Most of us believe that religious authority lies not in a book, person, or institution, but in ourselves.
UUs Put Their Faith Into Action
Both Unitarians and Universalists have emphasized making this world better rather than waiting for paradise. They have been instrumental in expanding human freedom through abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage and gay rights. UUs were instrumental in the founding of such institutions as the Red Cross, the Humane Society, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the NAACP. Members of our Fellowship through our Social Action Council, have founded organizations such as Piedmont Environmental Alliance, the local chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Vigils for Healing. We work in concert with many others such as Neighbors for Better Neighborhoods, Habitat for Humanity, GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), Crisis Control Ministries, The Women’s Fund, Climate Reality Project and many others.