What is UU
Modified on: October 23, 2017
Unitarian Universalism is a caring, open-minded religion that encourages seekers to find their own spiritual path. Our faith draws on many religious sources, welcoming people with different beliefs. We are united by shared values, not by creed or dogma. Our congregations are places where we gather to nurture our spirits and put our faith into action by helping to make our communities-and the world-a better place.
Unitarian Universalism is a theologically diverse religion in which [we] support one another in our search for truth and meaning. We have historic roots in the Jewish and Christian traditions, but today individual Unitarian Universalists may identify as Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, Humanist, Pagan, or with other philosophical or religious traditions.
We promote reason and tolerance in our communities and embrace a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. As members of a non-creedal religious tradition, we Unitarian Universalists are encouraged to discern our own beliefs about different spiritual topics.
The Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA’s) seven principles express the shared values that UUA member congregations affirm and promote. Many Unitarian Universalists find rich personal and theological meaning in these principles.
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious tradition that was formed from the merger of two different religions: Unitarianism and Universalism. Both began in Europe hundreds of years ago. In America, the Universalist Church of America was founded in 1793, and the American Unitarian Association in 1825. In 1961 these denominations merged to form a new religion, Unitarian Universalism, through the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).
Both religions have long histories and have contributed important theological concepts that remain central to Unitarian Universalism. Originally, all Unitarians were Christians who didn’t believe in the Holy Trinity of God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost), but in the unity, or single aspect, of God. Later, Unitarian beliefs stressed the importance of rational thinking, a direct relationship with God, and the humanity of Jesus. Universalism emerged as a Christian denomination with a central belief in universal salvation; that is, that all people will eventually be reconciled with God.
Since the merger of the two denominations in 1961, Unitarian Universalism has nurtured its Unitarian and Universalist heritages to provide a strong voice for social justice and liberal religion.
Unitarian Universalism embraces theological diversity. While our congregations uphold shared principles, individual Unitarian Universalists may discern their own beliefs about theological issues. As there is no official Unitarian Universalist creed, Unitarian Universalists are free to search for truth on many paths.
We welcome people who identify with and draw inspiration from Atheism and Agnosticism, Buddhism, Christianity, Humanism, Judaism, Paganism, and other religious or philosophical traditions.
Flaming Chalice: Symbol of Our Faith
A flame within a chalice (a cup with a stem and foot), represents the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and is a symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith.
Hans Deutsch, an Austrian artist, first brought together the chalice and the flame as a Unitarian symbol during his work with the Unitarian Service Committee during World War II. To Deutsch, the image had connotations of sacrifice and love. Unitarian Universalists today have many different interpretations of the image. The flaming chalice image has changed many times over the past 65 years. Modern chalice designs often incorporate two overlapping circles which, for many people, represent our Unitarian and Universalist heritages.
Our current official UUA logo was designed to offer a visual representation of a modern and dynamic faith. Unitarian Universalist congregations are free to use the UUA’s logo in their congregational work, but they are not required to do so. Because of this, you may see many different styles of flaming chalices and other images used by Unitarian Universalist congregations.
Founded in 1979 by Unitarian Universalists, The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center is a nonprofit year-round retreat center and summer camp open to all. The Mountain is located in Highlands, NC, and is approximately a two-hour drive from Spartanburg.