Unitarian

From Wikipedia

A Unitarian is a follower of, or a member of an organisation that follows, any of several theologies referred to as Unitarianism:

  • Unitarianism (1565–present), a liberal Christian theological movement known for its belief in the unitary nature of God, and for its rejection of the doctrines of the Trinity, original sin, predestination, and of biblical inerrancy
  • Unitarian Universalism (often referring to themselves as “UUs” or “Unitarians”), a primarily North American liberal pluralistic religious movement that grew out of Unitarianism, but later became more associated with Humanism, no longer officially opposing Trinitarianism nor officially supporting Theism, and which holds no specific creeds.
  • In everyday British usage, “Unitarian” refers to the organisation formally known as the General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, which holds beliefs similar to Unitarian Universalists
  • International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, an umbrella organization
  • American Unitarian Association, a religious denomination in the United States and Canada, formed in 1825 and consolidated in 1961 with the Universalist Church of America to form the Unitarian Universalist Association
  • Biblical Unitarianism, a scripture-fundamentalist non-Trinitarian movement (flourished c.1876-1929)
  • Nontrinitarianism, a generic name for a Christian point of view that rejects the Trinity doctrine

Unitarian Universalism (UU) is a liberal religion characterized by a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning”. Unitarian Universalists assert no creed, but instead are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth, guided by a dynamic, “living tradition”. Currently, these traditions are summarized by the Six Sources and Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism, documents recognized by all congregations who choose to be a part of the Unitarian Universalist Association. These documents are ‘living’, meaning always open for revisiting and reworking. Unitarian Universalist (U.U.) congregations include many atheists, agnostics, and theists within their membership, and there are U.U. churches, fellowships, congregations, and societies all over America, as well as others around the world. The roots of Unitarian Universalism lie in liberal Christianity, specifically Unitarianism and universalism. Unitarian Universalists state that from these traditions comes a deep regard for intellectual freedom and inclusive love. Congregations and members seek inspiration and derive insight from all major world religions.

The beliefs of individual Unitarian Universalists range widely, including atheism, agnosticism, pantheism, panentheism, pandeism, deism, humanism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Taoism, syncretism, Omnism, Neopaganism and the teachings of the Baháʼí Faith.

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) was formed in 1961 through the consolidation of the American Unitarian Association, established in 1825, and the Universalist Church of America, established in 1793. The UUA is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and serves churches mostly in the United States. A group of thirty Philippine congregations is represented as a sole member within the UUA. The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) became an independent body in 2002. The UUA and CUC are, in turn, two of the seventeen members of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists.

Unitarian Universalists practice a non-creedal religion. Their individual beliefs are diverse and they acknowledge each other’s beliefs and traditions with acceptance or tolerance. Rather than focusing on doctrine or belief systems, or on keeping a narrow religious tradition, Unitarian Universalists place primary significance on the formal statements of their mutual covenant, or shared agreement, of religious community. Accordingly, congregants and member congregations of the movement agree to “affirm and promote” the Seven Principles and to embrace a “living tradition” that comprehends the Six Sources as drawn from the multitude of sources of human knowledge and experience.

Seven Principles
Main article: Unitarian Universalist Association § Principles and purposes
Adopted in 1960, the Principles, Purposes and Sources are incorporated in the Bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association:

We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.


Six Sources
Unitarian Universalists emphasize the responsibility of the individual as well as the community for achieving spiritual growth and development. The complete statement of the Unitarian Universalist covenant describes the Six Sources upon which current practice is based:
1. 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;
2. 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;
3. Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
4. Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;

5. 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.
6. 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.
Over time, Unitarian Universalist principles, purposes, and sources have been changed, or ‘grown’, by the movement to manifest a broadening acceptance of beliefs and traditions among the membership. For example, both the seventh Principle, (adopted 1985), and the sixth Source, (adopted 1995), were added to provide inclusion for members with neopagan, Native American, and pantheist spiritualities.

Approach to sacred writings
Originally, both Unitarianism and Universalism were Christian denominations, and U.U.s still reference Jewish and Christian texts. Today, the Unitarian Universalist approach to sacred writings, including the Christian Bible and Hebrew Scriptures, is taken more broadly:

While Unitarianism and Universalism both have roots in the Protestant Christian tradition, where the Bible is the sacred text, we now look to additional sources for religious and moral inspiration…. We celebrate the spiritual insights of the world’s religions, recognizing wisdom in many scriptures.

When we read scripture in worship, whether it is the Bible, the Dhammapada, or the Tao Te-Ching, we interpret it as a product of its time and its place,…not to be interpreted narrowly or oppressively…Scripture is never the only word, or the final word.

From the beginning we have trusted in the human capacity to use reason and draw conclusions about religion… Each of us ultimately chooses what is sacred to us.

Unitarian Universalists regard the texts of the world’s religions as venerable works of different peoples attempting to understand and explain ‘the mystery’ and ‘the sacred’ that surrounds all human existence and experience. They treat with respect the scriptural works of peoples of all religions or spiritual backgrounds.

REV. ERIC MICHEL 2012 ORDINATION
REV. MARIE YVONNE 2012 ORDINATION
Three Rivers Home Church 2010 – 2014

1 thought on “Unitarian

  1. What does the mitzva of Tzitzit teach?  The 2nd paragraph of kre’a shma: “ובלכתך בדרך” links the mitzva of tefillin together with the mitzva of tzitzit, as commanded in the 3rd paragraph of the kre’a shama.  All Torah mitzvot command mussar.  What mussar does the language of: “וראיתם אתו וזכרתם את כל מצות” come to teach?  In our ובלכתך בדרך walk as the chosen brit Cohen nation, the Torah commands us to search for the אצבע אלהים/finger of HaShem within our lives.  All mitzvot learn from the mitzva of tzitzit on this score.  Remembering with thanks giving the “finger of God” within and throughout our lives defines the k’vanna of all the תרי”ג Commandments.

    An Israeli Response to the Rome Treaty in General and the International Criminal Court in Particular.

    The Versailles Treaty condemned Germany for total guilt of the deaths, damages, and anguish – resultant of WW1. Britain and France demanded war reparations from Germany consequent to Germany’s invasion of the low countries & France, which caused a chain reaction domino effect of atrocities against humanity.Israeli foreign policy – post Shoah – views the EU and Britain, based upon the precedent of the Versailles Treaty, upon this model Israeli diplomats conducts diplomacy with EU States; comparable to how early America sought to establish the Monroe Doctrine as the basis of the United States relations with hostile European empires. 

    European cruelty, injustice and oppression of Jewish refugees for over 2000 years, branches out from ancient Roman imperialism, which originally expelled the Jewish people from our homelands in Judea. Europeans, not just ancient Rome, they bear the mark of Cain – guilty for all eternity, of committing criminal crimes against humanity, black slavery and 19th Century barbarity in Africa serve as degrading examples of European guilt. The Israeli government must hold the European peoples accountable for their mass crimes against humanity. Israel opposes any and all European governments sitting as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. All Europeans, not just the Nazis, lost WW2. Shoah guilt expels all European governments from the ‘Great Powers’ status.

    No European Court ever, not even once, forced  Xtian Church leaders to stand trial for war crimes committed against humanity. Not for the Roma People, nor for differing Xtian sects who opposed the dominant Catholic or Protestant belief system Creeds, nor the blatant injustice of the persecution and cruel murder of women accused of witchcraft – guilty of the crime of healing the sick or serving as midwives! Therefore, the Rome Treaty merits nothing other than total contempt; the ICC has no jurisdiction to judge Jews in general and Israel in particular.

    The key issue of writing a Sefer Torah, the sofer has to write the Name of HaShem לשמה.  Doing a mitzva לשמה requires a subject and a predicate.  The latter informs what the subject does.  For example, P’sach Jews remove all leaven products from their possessions.  Korbanot have a halachic prohibition to switch from one korban type to another korban type.  Tanning the hide of an animal intended by the sofer to write a Sefer Torah: that hide requires a dedication for the purpose of writing a Safer Torah. 

    Therefore what predicate sets the Name of HaShem apart, when the sofer writes the Name לשמה?
    גיטין: המביא גט ממדינת הים, צריך שיאמר בפני נכתב ובפני נחתם
    This opening Mishna describes the services of a notary, an individual officially licensed by a governmental body to perform certain actions in legal matters.  The Rosh did not require the sofer to נחתם an impressed seal whenever the sofer wrote the Name of HaShem.  The masoret of writing a Sefer Torah permits the sofer to inscribe straight lines.  Consequently it appears to me that the language נחתם implies some type of impressed seal, which all notaries employ today.  The notary seal impressed upon the margin of the Torah on the identical line as written the Name of HaShem, serves as evidence that the sofer wrote the Name לשמה.

    However, what precisely defines the k’vanna of the sofer when he writes the Name of HaShem לשמה?  Forty days after the sin of the Golden Calf, on Yom Kippor, Moshe heard the voice of HaShem declare the 13 tohor middot.  Why the second repetition of the Name of HaShem in the revelation that addresses the tohor middot of logic?  The second Name of HaShem comes to teach that the middot thereafter, beginning with אל, that these middot serve as pronoun extensions of the noun HaShem.  Therefore the sofer should set aside 13 specific “Crowns” to precisely indicate which middah of HaShem which the sofer holds as his k’vanna at that moment in time, when he writes the Name of HaShem לשמה.

    A safer Torah which does not נחתם with a defined tohor midda crown, the question stands: what proof exists which testifies that the sofer wrote the Name of HaShem לשמה?  The opening Gemara of גיטין teaches that g’lut Jewry do not know how to do mitzvot לשמה.  Consequently, it appears to me that a sofer has an obligation to prove his k’vanna when he writes the Name of HaShem לשמה.  This requirement which this commentator strongly advises, it compares to the time of Ezra, when he changed the shape of the letters of the א – ב.

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