The following is an exchange with an evangelical Christian.
Modern Unitarian universalism is a product of rationalism and the enlightenment.
Unitarian Univeralism refers to itself as a “living tradition” and identifies at least six sources for that tradition:
- Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder
- Words and deeds of prophetic women and men
- Wisdom from the world’s religions
- Jewish and Christian teachings
- Humanist teachings
- Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions.
The Unitarians emerged in the later part of the 16th century in response to the Protestant revolution and did argue against the Trinitarian notion teaching that there was only one God. This is what the Jews taught, based on the idea of monotheism. Francis David, a Unitarian pioneer said, “We need not think alike to love alike.”
The affirmation we say in church on Sunday where I attend, First Univeralist Church of Rochester is:
“Love is the doctrine of this church.
The quest for truth its sacrament,
And service is its prayer.
To dwell together in peace,
To seek knowledge in freedom,
To serve humanity in fellowship.
To the end that all souls shall grow in harmony
With the source and meaning of life.
Thus do we covenant with each other and with all.
Both the Unitarians and Univeralists were thought of, at one time, as Christian denominations, and as you point out with the introduction of rationalism and transcendentalism they no longer are welcome in the National Council of Churches. However, many UUs, myself included, identify strongly with Christian roots.
Personally, I love Jesus, but like Gandhi say, “I would become Christian if I ever found a church that actually followed the teachings of Jesus.” Having been raised a Roman Catholic, I have found Unitarian Univeralism to more closely embrace the actually teachings of Jesus than any other denomination or religion I have studied.