Exploring Unitarianism

I. Unitarians around the world— Unitarianism is a faith with congregations in many areas of the world. This page will give you an idea of the scope of those connections and provide interesting ideas while you are exploring Unitarianism. (Click on the headings below to link to external websites of interest.) In Sections II and III you will find links to humanitarian organizations and other faiths that may be of interest to people on their own spiritual path.
Unitarian Universalist Association

All congregations in the the United States are completely independent, but the UUA is an umbrella organization that provides support to over one thousand congregations through the country. The term Universalist in the name comes from the merger in 1961 with the Universalist Church, a liberal church with similar ideas to Unitarians. This is a very large and complex site with a Google search feature to help find your way around. Immediately below are direct links to some  articles of interest to many people:



Discover UU – Searching for Truth and Meaning

This site includes columns, sermons, and blogs written by a number of ministers and lay people – a lot of fascinating material.

Unitarian Universalist Ministry for the Earth

We envision a world in which reverence, gratitude, and care for the living Earth are central to the lives of all people. Our purpose is to inspire, facilitate, and support personal, congregational, and denominational practices that honor and sustain the Earth and all beings. We affirm and promote the seven principles of the UUA, including: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

UU Parenting

Michelle Richards regularly writes a very popular blog about children and parenting. Join in the conversation with her and other parents about some of the unique challenges and joys of raising children in the spirit of Unitarianism

Pantheist Kids

This is not a Unitarian site, but its goals are admirable and it may resonate with parents exploring here. This site was developed by a Cape Town mother and suggests readings, videos, and craft projects for children to introduce them to the world of nature. Just a few of the beliefs of pantheists include reverence for Nature and the wider Universe, active respect and care for the rights of all humans and other living beings, and strong naturalism, without belief in supernatural realms, afterlives, beings or forces.

UU@Home

Our Unitarian Universalist faith tradition calls us to live our Principles and values the very best we can every day of the week; and let’s face it, this is not an easy task! In support of that ideal, this site provides many ways to build a UU Home; check-in each month for a new simple idea to help UUs, young and old, strengthen a sense of UU culture at home.

Church of the Larger Fellowship

This is an American group that provides education and a community for Unitarians world-wide who are too remote to attend a church or fellowship, although anyone can take advantage of their offerings.

Every Day Unitarian

This blog features spiritual material of great interest to many Unitarians. The theme of the site quotes a non-Unitarian (Father Dominic Garramone) saying, “It is the daily dew and the light afternoon shower that keeps the garden of our souls growing, rather than a once-a-year downpour of grace.”

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a non-sectarian organization that advances human rights and social justice in the United States and around the world. We envision a world free from oppression and injustice, where all can realize their full human rights.

Unitarian Universalist United Nations Organization Office (UU-UNO)

The vision is a peaceful, just and sustainable world community as called for in the UN Charter. The UU-UNO strives to engage in the work of the UN to advance a peaceful, just, sustainable and pluralistic world community that promotes human rights, and to engage and inspire Unitarian Universalists and others to support and participate in this work.

Interweave UU

Since 1973, we have been a member-based, grassroots organization of Unitarian Universalists working to end oppression based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and to connect bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer (BGLTQ) Unitarian Universalists and their allies.

International Council of Unitarians and Universalists

In South Africa, we have active communication with Unitarians in Western countries, but there are also healthy churches in Romania, the Philippines, India, Nigeria, etc. The ICUU provides a forum for exchange of perspectives and symposia on topics of interest to Unitarians from around the world.

Canadian Unitarians

The Canadian Unitarian Council is a strong, respected Canadian voice for a vibrant, liberal faith community, relevant to contemporary life in the twenty-first century. It takes a responsible role in theinternational community of Unitarians and Universalists and the interfaith community.

Unitarians in Britain

“Our Unitarian community consists of about 200 congregations that meet in Chapels, Churches and Meeting Houses right across Britain.”


II Religious & Humanitarian Sites of Interest – Unitarians are involved in and/or support many religious and humanitarian groups all across the globe. A sample of these organizations is shown below:

International Association of Religious Freedom

“The IARF is a UK-based charity working for freedom of religion and belief at a global level. We have a century-plus history of encouraging interfaith dialogue and tolerance, with member groups in 25 countries, from faith traditions including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Shinto and Zoroastrianism.”

Belief Net

“Even if YOU don’t know what faith you are, Belief-O-Matic™ knows. Answer 20 questions about your concept of God, the afterlife, human nature, and more, and Belief-O-Matic™ will tell you what religion (if any) you practice…or ought to consider practising.”

Religious Tolerance

“Almost all other religious web sites explain only the beliefs of the webmaster or sponsoring faith group. We are different: we try to explain accurately the full diversity of religious beliefs, worldviews, and systems of morality, ethics, and values. We hope that you will find our essays helpful and of interest.”

Turquoise Harmony Institute

Turquoise Harmony Institute was originally established in 2006 as Interfaith Foundation of South Africa (IFSA) in order to foster relations among different faith and cultural traditions to contribute to the well being of humanity. They encourage and facilitate exchange of views and experiences between different parts of the society and engage in activities that are aimed at stimulating critical thinking and analysis of affairs affecting the lives all people.

Center for the Study of World Religions

The CSWR at the Harvard Divinity School has particular interest in the historical and contemporary interrelationships among religions, and the theological, philosophical, comparative, political, and ethical challenges facing religious communities and those who study them today. This link is to their huge collection of written and video lectures indexed by the author’s name.


III A Few Faith Sites of Interest
Unitarians have interests in other faiths as sources of wisdom and sometimes they may continue to practice a religion that was important in their family.

LIBERAL CHRISTIANITY

Unitarian Christians
There are a significant number of people within the Unitarian community that consider themselves Christian. “We are non-creedal followers of Jesus rooted in the history and tradition of Unitarian Universalism.” This site explains more about the group.

John Mark Ministries
John Mark Ministries offers a course in liberal Christianity for those interested in learning more about this religious viewpoint.

Jesus is a Liberal
“We created this website because we believe the historical, Biblically documented teachings of Jesus Christ clearly show that Jesus is a Liberal.”

Quakers
“Quakers, members of the Religious Society of Friends, are an active, involved faith-based community living in the modern world. We are a diverse people consisting of several distinct branches. We continue our traditional testimonies of pacifism, social equality, integrity, and simplicity, which we interpret and express in a variety of ways.”

LIBERAL JUDAISM

Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
Reconstructionist Judaism is a progressive, contemporary approach to Jewish life which integrates a deep respect for traditional Judaism with the insights and ideas of contemporary social, intellectual and spiritual life.

World Union for Progressive Judism
The World Union for Progressive Judaism is the international umbrella organization of the Reform, Liberal, Progressive and Reconstructionist movements, serving 1,200 congregations with 1.8 million members in more than 45 countries. The practices of Progressive Judaism are anchored in Jewish thought and tradition. They seek to extend the range of observance by granting full equality to all Jews, irrespective of gender and sexual orientation, while challenging laws that are contrary to Judaism’s fundamental principles.

HUMANISM/AGNOSTICISM/SECULARISM

Spiritual Humanism

There are many sites about humanism on the Internet, but this may be one of the most interesting for Unitarians. Here are essays that should speak directly to the heart and mind of those who feel a deep need for a realistic, original and integral approach to spiritual development.

Center for Inquiry

The mission of the Center for Inquiry is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. This is a very active group with lots of educational materials.

What Atheism Can Learn from Religion 

Alain de Botton discusses in this TED video the idea that atheists can usefully adopt some concepts that have evolved over the centuries among religions groups without the baggage of doctrine.

PANTHEISM

World Pantheist Movement
Just a few of the beliefs of pantheists include reverence for Nature and the wider Universe, active respect and care for the rights of all humans and other living beings, and strong naturalism, without belief in supernatural realms, afterlives, beings or forces.

BAHA’I

BAHA’I International
Bahá’ís believe the crucial need facing humanity is to find a unifying vision of the nature and purpose of life and of the future of society. Their faith developed in 19th century Iran.  There are many similarities in the Baha’i and Unitarian views of our world.

BUDDHISM

UU Buddhist Fellowship
In recent years, Unitarian Universalists have increasingly been drawn to explore Buddhist religious practices, especially seated meditation, in order to ground the “free and responsible search for truth and meaning” that is one of the guiding principles of the UU tradition. Meditation invites a direct and immediate experience of reality and provides a balance to purely intellectual inquiry.

Digital International Buddhism Organization

A Buddhist group which would like to follow in Buddha’s teaching and his footsteps. It is a comprehensive directory service providing all the resources of Buddhism and Buddhist from around world and trying to spread out buddhism worldwide. The purpose of their website is to provide basic information and practicing methods. Buddhism for the modern world (Friends of the Western Buddhist Order). The forms in which Buddhist truths are expressed always adapt according to circumstances. But the essence of Buddhism transcends culture and conditions. Now that Buddhism has come to the West, westerners are faced with the task of creating new and viable Buddhist traditions for the modern world. Over the last thirty years the FWBO has grown to be one of the largest Buddhist movements in the West, with centres and activities in many cities around the world.

Frequently Asked Questions About Buddhism
John T. Bullitt responds to e-mail queries from people seeking answers to basic questions about Buddhism.

EARTH CENTERED SPIRITUALITIES

Ancient beliefs from the pre-Christian era as well as traditions and practices passed down from indigenous peoples are getting renewed attention from spiritual people. A few sites on this subject are listed below:

ISLAM

There is great interest among Unitarians to reach out to the Islamic peoples to gain a better understanding of their world view. These sites below contain much information about their faith and viewpoints.