A liberal approach
Unitarians find their bond of unity in shared values, such as:
- The nurture of life’s spiritual dimension.
- The use of reason and honest doubt in the search for truth.
- Mutual respect and goodwill in personal relations.
- Constructive tolerance and openness towards the sincerely-held beliefs of others.
- Peace, compassion, justice and democracy in human affairs.
- Reverence for the earth and the whole natural system of which we are part.
It is the Unitarian experience that these values form a more effective foundation for true community than insistence on uniformity of belief and doctrine. Unitarians affirm that truth and humanity are best served where both the mind and the conscience are free. They maintain that no one book, institution or individual has the monopoly on truth, no matter what they may claim for themselves or their devotees may claim for them. Unitarians affirm that:
- Every person’s life involves developing a value-system by which she or he lives.
- People should enjoy individual liberty and private judgment in spiritual matters.
- Respect for integrity is preferable to the pressure to conform.
- Beliefs may change in the light of new understanding and insight.
- The final authority for your faith lies within your own conscience.
On our personal life journey we are aided and inspired by:
- The example and spiritual insights of others.
- Writings deemed ‘holy’ and ‘sacred’ by the various faith traditions of humanity.
- Inherited traditions of critical and philosophical thought.
- The ongoing creative work of artists, musicians and writers.
- The scientist’s search for knowledge and understanding.
The Unitarian path in one paragraph, by Andrew M Hill
The Unitarian path combines personal freedom in religious faith with mutual, interdependent and supportive community. It prefers reflective thinking to rigid believing. Emerging from the Jewish and Christian faiths it is fiercely loyal to Jesus and his teaching, that we should love both God and our neighbours as ourselves. This has brought Unitarians to a grateful recognition that their neighbours may be of other faiths or different values, and may draw upon alternative resources of faith and strength. Unitarian religion is more earthy and practical than heavenly and passive. It maintains an ongoing conversation of mind and body defining, refining and incarnating those qualities of life, growth and love which make for a better world.