About Unitarian Universalism
UU Beliefs and Principles
With its historical roots in the Jewish and Christian traditions, Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion — that is, a religion that keeps an open mind to the religious questions people have struggled with in all times and places. We believe that personal experience, conscience and reason should be the final authorities in religion, and that in the end religious authority lies not in a book, person or institution, but in ourselves. We are a “non-creedal” religion: we do not ask anyone to subscribe to a creed.
Instead we, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), are committed to affirm and promote seven principles that include the worth of each person, the need for justice and compassion, and the right to choose one’s own beliefs:
- The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
We use a simpler version with the kids in our Religious Education programs:
- Each person is important.
- Be kind in all you do.
- We’re free to learn together.
- We search for what is true.
- All people need a voice.
- Build a fair and peaceful world.
- We care for Earth’s lifeboat.
In addition to the above 7, First Parish has also adopted the 8th Principle to deepen our understanding and the work we do. Our principle states:
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”
Sources of UU Beliefs
We live out these seven Principles within a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, drawn from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
- Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
- Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
These seven Principles and six Sources of the UUA grew out of the grassroots of our tradition, were affirmed democratically, and are part of who we are.