The Sources of our Living Tradition
One of the most frequently asked questions about our faith is, "What do Unitarian Universalists believe?". The simplest answer is that we believe that each person possesses an inherent worth and dignity. We believe each person is entitled to respect and the right to explore, question, and to responsibly find meaning in life in his or her own way. Unitarian Universalists believe in equality and strive to bring justice to the world. We believe all people should be treated equally and with compassion. We believe in the power of love, and the connectedness of all life on this planet.
What many people mean when they ask that question however, is, "What do Unitarian Universalist believe about God, and about where we come from and what happens to us after we die?" Again, the simplest answer is that Unitarian Universalism leaves these questions - the questions humans have asked since the beginning of time - up to each individual. Your understanding of God or of whatever you consider to be the ultimate source of existence is your life's journey. We come together in community to share our experiences, the possible answers we may be exploring, and our continuing questions. In loving community we challenge ourselves and each other to grow in understanding. It is often said that rather than providing an answer, Unitarian Universalism is about "living the questions".
Individual Unitarian Universalists hold a wide variety of beliefs and theological positions. While both the Unitarian and Universalist faiths sprang from Jewish and Christian roots, modern Unitarian Universalism recognizes many sources of inspiration. We refer to these as the "Sources of Our Living Tradition". We typically express them in this form:
THE LIVING TRADITION WE SHARE DRAWS FROM MANY SOURCES:
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 Godís 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.
Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision.