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What Do Unitarian Universalists Believe?


Unitarian Universalists affirm and promote 7 Principles

  • ​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.

Learn about the 8th Principle.


A common covenant used by many Unitarian Universalists:

Love is the doctrine of this church,

the quest of truth is its sacrament, and service is its prayer.

To dwell together in peace, to seek knowledge in freedom, to serve human need, to the end that all souls shall grow into harmony with the Divine.

Thus do we covenant with each other and with God.

— L. Griswold Williams, in UU Tapestry of Faith

Contemporary Unitarian Universalism embraces numerous faith traditions within its communities, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Humanism, Earth-based Spirituality, and more. Everyone is welcome to practice faith traditions from their background or culture and to hold personal beliefs of what is their truth. Each person may hold their own Spirit of Life, God, or Great Unknown. All beliefs held in the responsible search for personal truth are accepted within our community. However, that doesn't mean UUs are encouraged to believe "anything they want." For instance, UUs agree that one's personal beliefs must not cause harm to others and that love and respect are important, as are equity and inclusion.

Some newcomers to Unitarian Universalism inquire along the lines of, "If you don't have to believe in God, how is it a religion?" Yet several core UU tenets, regardless of personally-held beliefs, can be reshaped into the language of shared theology. This is often helpful as a comparison for those learning about our faith community.

James Luther Adams, a well-known 20th-century Unitarian theologian, published an article in 1976 on the 'Five Smooth Stones of Liberal Religion,' alluding to the Biblical story of David and Goliath. Adams' work became the basis of the Theology Statements below, written by UU Revs. Nancy Bowen and Mike Morran. For a good introduction, see "The Five Jagged Rocks of Unitarian Universalism" by UU young adult, Kari Gottfried. 

UU Beliefs rephrased as "Theology Statements"​

  • There is a unity that makes us one.

  • All souls are sacred and worthy.

  • Courageous love transforms the world.

  • The truth continues to be revealed.

  • Salvation is in this lifetime. 

Unitarian Universalism is a Living Tradition which draws from many Sources of Wisdom.

  • 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 people 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.

Image by Joshua Earle
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