Unitarian Universalism

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Unitarian Universalism was formed from the merger in 1961 of two historically Christian denominations, the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association, both based in the United States. At the time of the North American merger, the theological significance of these terms had expanded beyond the traditional Christian understanding. Unitarian Universalists today draw from a variety of religious traditions. Individuals may or may not self-identify as Christians or subscribe to Christian beliefs.[3] Unitarian Universalist congregations and fellowships tend to retain some Christian traditions, such as Sunday worship with a sermon and the singing of hymns. The extent to which the elements of any particular faith tradition are incorporated into personal spiritual practice is a matter of personal choice for congregants, in keeping with a creedless, non-dogmatic approach to spirituality and faith development.

Historically, New England Unitarians evolved from the Pilgrim fathers' Congregational Christianity, which was originally based on a literal reading of the Bible. Liberalizing Unitarians rejected the Trinitarian belief in the tri-partite godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost/Spirit. Instead, they asserted a unitary notion of God.

New England Universalists rejected the Puritan forefathers' emphasis on the select few, the Elect, who were reportedly saved from eternal damnation by a just God. Instead Universalists asserted that 'all were universally saved.' Universalists rejected the hellfire and damnation of the evangelical preachers who tried to revive the fundamentalist Christianity of the early Pilgrim fathers.

Universalism

Universalism broadly refers to a theological belief that all persons and creatures are related to God or the divine and will be reconciled to God (Universal Salvation).

Christian Universalism

Proponents of Christian Universalism claim a long history, beginning with Origen and Gregory of Nyssa, though both of these are questioned by modern scholarship and Greek Orthodox scholars.[4][5][6] It is based upon the doctrine of universal salvation through Christ (universal reconciliation) and an interpretation of the "restitution of all things" (apocatastasis). In 1793, Universalism emerged as a particular denomination of Christianity in the United States, eventually called the Universalist Church of America.[7] Early American advocates of Universal Salvation such as Elhanan Winchester, Hosea Ballou and John Murray taught that all souls would achieve salvation, sometimes after a period resembling purgatory.[8] Christian Universalism denies the doctrine of everlasting damnation, and proclaims belief in an entirely loving God who will ultimately redeem all human beings.

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