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Beliefs about Life and Death in Unitarian Universalism

How do Unitarian Universalists understand death?

The Universalist tradition, which is an integral part of Unitarian Universalist heritage, was a Christian movement grounded in the belief in universal salvation and God's love for all people.

Many Unitarian Universalists trace their Universalist roots back to Hosea Ballou's Treatise on Atonement, published in 1805. This manifesto argued that it was not a fear of eternal damnation that led people to do good on earth, but an understanding that paradise is here and now. The gift of this knowledge is given to those who practice the ethics of paradise.

Today, Unitarian Universalism is a theologically diverse religion. Although Universalist influences are still woven into our faith in our Unitarian Universalist principles and emphasis on social justice work, we also welcome many different beliefs about death and the possibility of an afterlife.

Coping with the death of a loved one or facing death oneself can also be an important time to find comfort and support in a loving spiritual community. Unitarian Universalism strives to provide that for members, regardless of particular religious beliefs.

Unitarian Universalist memorial services and funerals are also common. These ceremonies may be developed by the loved ones of the deceased working closely with the presiding minister. If you would like arrange such a service, please contact a congregation near you and make arrangements to speak with the minister.

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Last updated on Friday, February 8, 2013.

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Learn more about the Beliefs & Principles of Unitarian Universalism, or read our online magazine, UU World, for features on today's Unitarian Universalists. Visit an online UU church, or find a congregation near you.

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