Unitarian Universalists believe that every person has a responsibility to develop beliefs based on personal experience, the shared wisdom of great leaders, and the precepts of compelling documents. Because each person's experiences are unique, beliefs among UUs differ. Still, there are seven principles expounded by the Unitarian Universalist Association that are broadly shared among UUs as a basis for religious orientation. Subscription to those principles is not a prerequisite for membership, and the list is subject to periodic review.
The Seven UU Principles
We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
- 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Unitarian Universalism some kind of cult?
No! If anything, UU is the opposite of the mind control that characterizes cults. There is not even a creed to which members must swear allegiance. There is no great leader to whom we swear fealty. Instead, UU provides room to wonder, encouragement for personal growth, food for the mind and spirit, a loving, supportive community for life's journey, and opportunities for service to the larger community.
Is UU a new religion?
Definitely not! The roots of our denomination go hundreds of years deep. Unitarianism grew out of the early Christian church's debate over how many aspects the divinity has. The dominant view was that the divine has three aspects: father, son and holy spirit. Another view, though, was that it is not helpful to split up the divine into discrete entities, but rather to regard the divine as a single force—with countless manifestations. People who made that claim became known as Unitarians, for their belief in a single unit of divinity. Over the centuries, Unitarians were often persecuted as heretics and sometimes killed for their beliefs. Still, Unitarianism persisted in Europe through the centuries and became an organized denomination in the U.S. in the 18th century. Today UUs worldwide number in the millions.
Universalism developed as a branch of early U.S. Protestantism. Its adherants disagreed with the popular view that God divides humanity into those bound for heaven and those bound for hell. Instead of using the threat of hell as a tool for conformity, Universalists emphasized the steadfast love of God for all people and the promise of salvation not just for some, but universally.
Over the decades the Unitarians and Universalists became increasingly alike in their open-minded, life-affirming style, until they merged in 1961.
What do you have to do to become a member of the UU Fellowship of Topeka?
There are two requirements for membership: 1) Sign the membership book, and 2) make a donation with your name attached to it (the amount is up to you). Joining any religious organization is a big decision, so we have literature on the subject, introductory classes, and lots of people who would be delighted to respond to your questions.
Why a Flaming Chalice?
The flame represents the fire of truth and love. The chalice represents the supportive vessel of community.