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what keeps you a Unitarian Universalist?

Well, it looks like my boyfriend is going to volunteer at our local congregation come Sunday!

Just a simple question: what brings you back to Unitarian Universalism? Why not just be 'spiritual' or in one of the other spiritual centres out there?


aspiring biblical scholar
Well, it looks like my boyfriend is going to volunteer at our local congregation come Sunday!

Just a simple question: what brings you back to Unitarian Universalism? Why not just be 'spiritual' or in one of the other spiritual centres out there?

I'm not sure what you are asking here. Would you clarify?


Active Member
I'm active as a UU because by being in community, instead of "doing our own thing", I am challenged and engaged. It's too easy to be "spiritual, but not religious".

As far as other spiritual centers, the Unitarian church is the one that isn't pushing ideas and concepts that I can't get behind. It seems the most aware of reality, the least hypnotized by old mythology, while being willing to recognize the value of some of that heritage.
I keep going because the exchange of ideas is essential to my growth. While we as UUs have guiding principles, our journeys are diverse, and the input from others is great for reflection and growth.

Most other organizations that I am aware of have a doctrine (written or otherwise) that assumes that everyone's paths are the same... Within UUism, it is understood that while our individual paths may cross, or even join together for a time, that as long as we are guided by the principles, we belong, even when our paths diverge.

Sand Dancer

Crazy Cat Lady
I thought the UU church might be a place to study different religions to see if one wanted to choose one, or maybe none. I want to find a place like that. My local UU church wasn't about that at all. It was very generic and nothing about religion was talked about. In fact, in the Inquiring Minds meeting, a guy got up and did a presentation about Peru. What?
If you are looking for comparative religion information, a good university course or book would probably be more appropriate than a UU church. A UU congregation would present the beliefs of a particular religious group occasionally, but I wouldn't expect it to be the norm, or to think that what you would hear would lead you to be able to choose a faith. UUs are seekers in a way, but we are not just hanging out here until we make up our minds... We are a distinct faith, just not a doctrinal faith.

To really understand UUs, you need to realize that as a group, the only thing we have that is close to doctrine are the 7 principles... In general, if anyone explores or discusses a doctrine, it is to learn from it, and not to hold to it.

A big factor in the UU church is the interconnected web of life, and so a presentation on Peru would be very relevant for inquiring minds. If you are looking for digging into doctrine (which I have had fun with in the past), then UU is not the place for you. It is not likely to be a good place to try to compare doctrines either, as you may only hear snippets from a variety of sources to paint a broader picture.

You will find in some congregations, groups that will discuss matters more deeply... For example, we have a member who leads meditation periodically from various perspectives. I have seen a mention of our Christian members meeting as a group, and our Pagan group meets regularly, and invites the rest of the congregation to join them in events like solstice celebrations etc.

So, you could get information from a variety of sources, but don't expect it to be in a format to help you choose a faith.


Spiritually confused Jew
Premium Member
It's pluralism and attitude to social justice. Just being an overall open community with respect to most, if not necessarily all, religious traditions.


Humanist... "Animalist"?
Social justice too. And because we should focus on what makes us the same rather than what's different, as said a famous Japanese philosopher (I wonder if someone will get this! ;)).


Terrible with Titles
What brings me back more than anything is the community. Yeah, my personal beliefs do not require that I go to a church service every week in order to be 'saved' or whatever, but I do anyways, because the sunday service is usually a highlight of my weekend. I love the music, and usually am entertained and inspired by the sermons, and more than anything, I really crave that feeling of togetherness and belongingness that comes with being a member of a church community and with doing good for the larger community as a whole. That's why I go to a weekly service, and volunteer often with other events and service programs that the church puts on.

My local UU church also happens to have a really nice weekly series on exploring different doctrines and talking about them in small groups, both with adult groups and children groups, so in that respect it does expose an individual to all different kinds of doctrines out there... but it doesn't tell you what is right and what you should believe. This isn't the main service, though, and I don't think anyone attending a UU church really trying to find answers should expect to be spoon-fed at all, but especially not in the regular weekly services.
I really like what I have read so far about the UU church. It seems like a very healthy organization. I think it is completely in line with my own belief about spirituality and religion in general. As I grew up in Japan in a Christian family and later became a Buddhist on my own. I always felt the need to be more inclusive and universal. The emphasis on interconnectedness of all life is the same in my current Buddhist organization, which holds a pretty exclusive single way view. It places too much emphasis on proselytizing and it has this approach of what's known as mentor-disciple relationship with the organization's international president being the only way to practice Buddhism correctly. I would really like to learn more about the UU church.

Rainbow Mage

Lib Democrat/Agnostic/Epicurean-ish/Buddhist-ish
I'm new to Unitarian Universalism, only having discovered it last year. I think what will always keep me UU is the work of the church, and how important I think it is. I believe in it. I believe in our vision for a better humanity with equality, liberty, and justice for all. I think people can co-exist in spite of differences. It takes effort, but we can. I love all my pagan, Christian, etc friends in UU, who are like-minded with me and the other UU atheists. We're all in agreement we're choosing love. We're putting aside even a day a week, if that's all we feel we can do- to unite.

Rainbow Mage

Lib Democrat/Agnostic/Epicurean-ish/Buddhist-ish
I love the community and the work I believe it represents. I love declaring that we are 'people of the open covenant' and of the 'church universal', because of what those things mean. The ideal.
We are a distinct faith, just not a doctrinal faith.

I have spent time with the Unitarians and I both like and respect the Unitarian community. But Unitarian Universalism is not a religion, it’s a philosophy of religion and for that reason I did not find a home there.

An authentic religion can’t be invented the way one would invent a school of philosophy, though there are usually philosophical elements which develop in or in association with, an authentic religion. The idea of an “invented religion,” which, in my mind more accurately describes the Unitarian phenomenon, something put together in a wholly rational manner, assembled from the favored parts of other religions or based on the philosophical tenants of the founders, as opposed to a religion inspired from “above,” is an oxymoron. Every authentic sacred tradition insists on this “received” aspect. An authentic religion is created through an experience of original revelation, through a mystical encounter with a higher being or a higher level of the Self. This experience, which may be expressed in the form of a vision, a parable, a dream or some other mode of prophetic content, may inspire a following, a group of individuals who form a community to support the beliefs engendered by the revelation.

While UU incorporates or supports the sacred messages of other authentic religions, it lacks this essential element of unique prophecy.


one world.jpg


This will be emotional, I'm sorry.

I've never "fit in". I have Asperger's, and since I was three, I knew that I was different. Kids ignored me. I never could say the right thing. I was always invested in one thing, and my peers went off and did a bajillion things at a time. In Kindergarten, kids excluded me. I could never follow directions because I didn't understand them, and teachers were pretty fed up with the dumb little girl who takes everything literally.

By first grade, I was the outcast. I couldn't make friends, and you know kids, they never hesitated to let me know how much they hated me. Throughout Elementary, I did have friends on and off, but they mostly kept their distance and broke it off after a year.

Middle school and again I had no friends, was constantly ridiculed by staff and student, and was severely depressed. By seventh grade, I was displaying signs of bipolar disorder, and I was pulled out of school twice the following year. Then, it got too much for the alumni, so they sent me to an alternative program, where kids never saw me as desirable and classes were last-rate. I started high school there, and had only one friend, who was highly manipulative and dishonest. I couldn't do sports, clubs, or a theater group. I was moved to a class in a more mainstream school where the kids seemed to think they had to be "mean girls" , as though they were eleven instead of fifteen. I was generally despised.

I came back to my home district. It's been better, but I still haven't had a chance to connect with my grade, grow in a club, or do a sport. I am tolerated, kids are kind, but I never "belong". Some kids still seem to think it's acceptable to mock me behind my back, so I'm on my toes. It sounds dumb, but compared to them, I feel like I've missed my chance at being a teenager.

What does this have to do with UU?

Religiously, UUism dictates that all beliefs are equal, but also states that every human being is equal one another as well. I was born UU. In my church, I experienced people so willing to accept me that I didn't have to try for them. They wanted me, and they wanted me to be me. Even in my own home, I have not been as unconditionally supported. I had kind of known the kids in my youth group, and I started going again after about five years. I genuinely felt at ease, and it was easy to socialize with them. Of course they weren't goody two shoes kids, but they accepted me, for all my quirks.

We took a trip to Boston to learn about our heritage. There, we had fun and talked and laughed and lived. We were messing around on swings at night when I realized: I felt like a teenager. I felt like how I thought kids my age did. And I felt like I belonged.

My minister is the kindest woman, and I adore her. She is endlessly supportive and knowledgeable. I was never a "church girl", but now I sure am! I try to go every Sunday, and youth group is sooo important to me, too.

So, in the end, one can follow their own independent spirituality, but that will not necessarily teach them acceptance, nor will they find it with other atheists. The culture that unconditional tolerance and diversity creates extends past a religious context. It branches out to shelter someone like me, a depressed, bipolar, autistic teen outcast who thought she would never find friendship.

It is so much more than a "new age cult". It is a way of life, a way of thinking, and above all, a community.

In my experience, anyway.