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Unitarian Universalist Fourth Principle

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Oct. 11th, 2010 | 11:05 pm

Unitarian Universalist Fourth Principle:  We affirm and promote a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

In many ways, this value is at the core of a theologically and philosophically diverse religion.  Our members draw from many personal and community based sources for their beliefs.  We have members who are atheist, humanist, pagan, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic, theist, earth-centered, and more.  In order for people of such diverse backgrounds to worship together, the first three Principles combined with this one are necessary.

Frequently, I have heard people say that Unitarian Universalists can believe whatever they want.  However, this is simply not true.  The key is that our search for truth and meaning is both free and responsible.  Responsible means that we take into account not just our worth and dignity, but that of all people.  It means that we take into account many different perspectives and that we are accountable to more than just ourselves.

In my seminary, we were asked the question, “to whom does our work matter?”  To whom are we accountable?  Just ourselves?  Just our families?

Freedom means that we have the freedom to explore, contemplate, meditate, and worship in ways that make sense to us in order to make sense of the fullness of life.  Responsible means that we take into consideration what our faith means for more than just ourselves and that we consider the freedom of others as well as ourselves.  This goes back to the principle that we “encouragement to spiritual growth.”  In other words, we not only wish for freedom to search for truth and meaning, but we wish it for all others, as well.

My last congregation has stated clearly above the entrance to the church: “One Church, Many Paths.”  We support our community and the many beliefs and spiritual paths within it.

How is your search for truth and meaning both free and responsible?

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