Universalism is a philosophical and theological concept that some ideas have universal application or applicability. A community that calls itself universalist may emphasize the universal principles of most religions, and accept others in an inclusive manner. It is centered on the belief in a universal reconciliation between humanity and the divine.

Christian Universalism is focused on the idea of universal reconciliation. Also known as universal salvation, it is a doctrine stating that every human soul will ultimately be reconciled to God because of divine love and mercy.[1]

A belief in one fundamental truth is another important tenet in Universalism. The living truth is seen as more far-reaching than the national, cultural, or religious boundaries or interpretations of that one truth. As the Rig Veda states, "Truth is one; sages call it by various names."[2]

Universalism has had an influence on modern day Hinduism, in turn influencing western modern spirituality.[3]

Unitarian Universalism emphasizes that religion is a universal human quality, and also focuses on the universal principles of most religions. It accepts all religions in an inclusive manner.



In philosophy, universality is the notion that universal facts can be discovered and is therefore understood as being in opposition to relativism.[4]

In certain religions, universalism is the quality ascribed to an entity whose existence is consistent throughout the universe.

Moral universalism

Moral universalism (also called moral objectivism or universal morality) is the meta-ethical position that some system of ethics applies universally. That system is inclusive of all individuals,[5] regardless of culture, race, sex, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing feature.[6] Moral universalism is opposed to moral nihilism and moral relativism. However, not all forms of moral universalism are absolutist, nor do they necessarily value monism. Many forms of universalism, such as utilitarianism, are non-absolutist. Other forms such as those theorized by Isaiah Berlin, may value pluralist ideals.

Secular universalism

Universalism is not only a set of values, but a worldview to which any can subscribe if they observe and believe in the universality of the human experience—and that of all sentient life—and work to uphold the principles, ethics, and actions that safeguard these fundamental things.[7]

Indeed, many Universalists may be attracted to the logic of universally applicable principles, rather than any belief or dogma. Human unity, solidarity, and the perceived need for a sustainable and socially conscious global order are among the tendencies of non-religious Universalist thought.[8]


Bahá'í Faith

Wilmette how side
Symbols of many religions on a pillar of the Bahá'í House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois, U.S.

In Bahá'í belief, a single God has sent all the historic founders of the world religions in a process of progressive revelation. As a result, the major world religions are seen as divine in origin and are continuous in their purpose. In this view, there is unity among the founders of world religions, but each revelation brings a more advanced set of teachings in human history and none are syncretic.[9]

Within this universal view, the unity of humanity is one of the central teachings of the Bahá'í Faith.[10] The Bahá'í teachings state that since all humans have been created in the image of God, God does not make any distinction between people with regard to race, colour or religion.[11] Thus, because all humans have been created equal, they all require equal opportunities and treatment.[10] Hence the Bahá'í view promotes the unity of humanity, and that people's vision should be world-embracing and that people should love the whole world rather than just their nation.[11]

The teaching, however, does not equate unity with uniformity; instead the Bahá'í writings advocate the principle of unity in diversity where the variety in the human race is valued.[12] Operating on a worldwide basis this cooperative view of the peoples and nations of the planet culminates in a vision of the practicality of the progression in world affairs towards, and the inevitability of, world peace.[13]


The fundamental idea of Christian Universalism is universal reconciliation – that all humans will eventually be saved. They will eventually enter God's kingdom in Heaven, through the grace and works of the lord Jesus Christ.[14] Christian Universalism teaches that an eternal Hell does not exist, and that it was not what Jesus had taught. They point to historical evidence showing that some early fathers of the church were universalists, and attribute the perpetuating idea of hell to eternal mistranslation.[15]

Universalists cite numerous Biblical passages which reference the salvation of all beings.[16] In addition, they argue that an eternal hell is both unjust, and against the nature and attributes of a loving God.[17]

The remaining beliefs of Christian Universalism are generally compatible with the fundamentals of Christianity

  • God is the loving Parent of all peoples, see Love of God.
  • Jesus Christ reveals the nature and character of God, and is the spiritual leader of humankind.
  • Humankind is created with an immortal soul, which death can not end—or a mortal soul that shall be resurrected and preserved by God. A soul which God will not wholly destroy.[18]
  • Sin has negative consequences for the sinner either in this life or the afterlife. All of God's punishments for sin are corrective and remedial. None of such punishments will last forever, or result in the permanent destruction of a soul. Some Christian Universalists believe in the idea of a Purgatorial Hell, or a temporary place of purification that some must undergo before their entrance into Heaven.[19]

In 1899 the Universalist General Convention, later called the Universalist Church of America, adopted the Five Principles: the belief in God, Jesus Christ, the immortality of the human soul, the reality of sin and universal reconciliation.[20]


Origen, traditionally considered a 3rd-century proponent of Universal Reconciliation

Universalist writers such as George T. Knight have claimed that Universalism was a widely held view among theologians in Early Christianity.[21] These included such important figures such as Alexandrian scholar Origen as well as Clement of Alexandria, a Christian theologian.[21] Origen and Clement both included the existence of a non-eternal Hell in their teachings. Hell was remedial, in that it was a place one went to purge one's sins before entering into Heaven.[22]

The first undisputed documentations of Christian Universalist ideas occurred in 17th-century England and 18th-century Europe as well as in colonial America. Between 1648-1697 English activist Gerrard Winstanley, writer Richard Coppin, and dissenter Jane Leade, each taught that God would grant all human beings salvation. The same teachings were later spread throughout 18th-century France and America by George de Benneville. People who taught this doctrine in America would later become known as the Universalist Church of America.[23]

The Greek term apocatastas came to be related by some to the beliefs of Christian Universalism, but central to the doctrine was the restitution, or restoration of all sinful beings to God, and to His state of blessedness. In early Patristics, usage of the term is distinct.

Universalist theology

Universalist theology is grounded in history, scripture and assumptions about the nature of God. Thomas Whittemore wrote the book "100 Scriptural Proofs that Jesus Christ Will Save All Mankind"[24] quoting both Old and New Testament verses which support the Universalist viewpoint.

Some Bible verses he cites and are cited by other Christian Universalists are:

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:22[25]
    • "For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." (ESV)
  2. 2 Peter 3:9
    • "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." (ESV)
  3. 1 Timothy 2:3–6[25]
    • "This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for ALL men—the testimony given in its proper time." (NIV)
  4. 1 John 2:2
    • "He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." (NIV)
  5. 1 Timothy 4:10[25]
    • "For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe." (ESV)
  6. Romans 11:32[25]
    • "For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all." (NIV)


Christian Universalists point towards the mistranslations of the Greek word αιών (Lit. aion), as giving rise to the idea of Eternal Hell, and the idea that some people will not be saved.[15][26][27]

This Greek word is the origin of the modern English word aeon, which refers to a period of time or an epoch.

The 19th century theologian Marvin Vincent wrote about the word aion, and the supposed connotations of "eternal" or "temporal":

Aion, transliterated aeon, is a period of longer or shorter duration, having a beginning and an end, and complete in itself. [...] Neither the noun nor the adjective, in themselves, carry the sense of endless or everlasting."[28]

Dr. Ken Vincent writes that "When it (aion) was translated into Latin Vulgate, "aion" became "aeternam" which means "eternal".[15]


Ignatius of Antiochie, poss. by Johann Apakass (17th c., Pushkin museum)
The first use of the term "Catholic Church" (literally meaning "universal church") was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans (circa 100 AD).[29]

The Catholic church believes that God judges everyone based only on their moral acts,[30] that no one should be subject to human misery,[31] that everyone is equal in dignity yet distinct in individuality before God,[32] that no one should be discriminated against because of their sin or concupiscence,[33] and that apart from coercion[34] God exhausts every means to save mankind from evil: original holiness being intended for everyone,[35] the irrevocable Old Testament covenants,[36][37] each religion being a share in the truth,[38] elements of sanctification in non-Catholic Christian communities,[39] the good people of every religion and nation,[40] everyone being called to baptism and confession,[41][42] and purgatory, suffrages, and indulgences for the dead.[43][44][45] The church believes that everyone is predestined to heaven,[46] that no one is predestined to hell,[47] that everyone is redeemed by Christ's Passion,[48] that no one is excluded from the church except by sin,[49] and that everyone can either love God by loving others unto going to heaven or reject God by sin unto going to hell.[50][51] The church believes that God's predestination takes everything into account,[52] and that his providence brings out of evil a greater good,[53] as evidenced, the church believes, by the Passion of Christ being all at once predestined by God,[54] foretold in Scripture,[55] necessitated by original sin,[56] authored by everyone who sins,[57] caused by Christ's executioners,[58] and freely planned and undergone by Christ.[59][60] The church believes that everyone who goes to heaven joins the church,[61][62] and that from the beginning God intended Israel to be the beginning of the church,[63] wherein God would unite all persons to each other and to God.[64] The church believes that heaven and hell are eternal.[65][66]


Author David Frawley says that Hinduism has a "background universalism" and its teachings contain a "universal relevance."[67] Hinduism is also naturally religiously pluralistic.[68] A well-known Rig Vedic hymn says: "Truth is One, though the sages know it variously."[69] Similarly, in the Bhagavad Gītā (4:11), God, manifesting as an incarnation, states: "As people approach me, so I receive them. All paths lead to me."[70] The Hindu religion has no theological difficulties in accepting degrees of truth in other religions. Hinduism emphasizes that everyone actually worships the same God, whether one knows it or not.[71]

While Hinduism has an openness and tolerance towards other religions, it also has a wide range of diversity within it.[72] There are considered to be six orthodox Hindu schools of philosophy/theology,[73] as well as multiple unorthodox or "hetrodox" traditions called darshanas.[74]

Hindu Universalism

Hindu Universalism, also called Neo-Vedanta[75] and neo-Hinduism,[76] is a modern interpretation of Hinduism which developed in response to western colonialism and orientalism. It denotes the ideology that all religions are true and therefore worthy of toleration and respect.[77]

It is a modern interpretation that aims to present Hinduism as a "homogenized ideal of Hinduism"[78] with Advaita Vedanta as its central doctrine.[79] For example, it presents that:

... an imagined "integral unity" that was probably little more than an "imagined" view of the religious life that pertained only to a cultural elite and that empirically speaking had very little reality "on the ground," as it were, throughout the centuries of cultural development in the South Asian region.[80]

Hinduism embraces universalism by conceiving the whole world as a single family that deifies the one truth, and therefore it accepts all forms of beliefs and dismisses labels of distinct religions which would imply a division of identity.[81][82][83]

This modernised re-interpretation has become a broad current in Indian culture,[79][84] extending far beyond the Dashanami Sampradaya, the Advaita Vedanta Sampradaya founded by Adi Shankara. An early exponent of Hindu Universalism was Ram Mohan Roy, who established the Brahmo Samaj.[85] Hindu Universalism was popularised in the 20th century in both India and the west by Vivekananda[86][79] and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.[79] Veneration for all other religions was articulated by Gandhi:

After long study and experience, I have come to the conclusion that [1] all religions are true; [2] all religions have some error in them; [3] all religions are almost as dear to me as my own Hinduism, in as much as all human beings should be as dear to one as one's own close relatives. My own veneration for other faiths is the same as that for my own faith; therefore no thought of conversion is possible.[87]

Western orientalists played an important role in this popularisation, regarding Vedanta to be the "central theology of Hinduism".[79] Oriental scholarship portrayed Hinduism as a "single world religion",[79] and denigrated the heterogeneousity of Hindu beliefs and practices as 'distortions' of the basic teachings of Vedanta.[88]


Islam recognizes to a certain extent the validity of the Abrahamic religions, the Quran identifying Jews, Christians, and "Sabi'un" (usually taken as a reference to the Mandaeans) as "people of the Book" (ahl al-kitab). Later Islamic theologians expanded this definition to include Zoroastrians, and later even Hindus, as the early Islamic empire brought many people professing these religions under its dominion, but the Qur'an explicitly identifies only Jews, Christians, and Sabians as People of the Book.[89], [90], [91] The relation between Islam and universalism has assumed crucial importance in the context of political Islam or Islamism, particularly in reference to Sayyid Qutb, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, and one of the key contemporary philosophers of Islam.[92]

There are several views within Islam with respect to Universalism. According to the most inclusive teachings, common among the liberal Muslim movements, all monotheistic religions or people of the book have a chance of salvation. For example, Surah 2:62,256 states that:[93]

Verily! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day and do righteous good deeds shall have their reward with their Lord, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve...let there be no compulsion in religion

However, the most exclusive teachings disagree. For example, the Salafi refer to Surah 9:5,29:

Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters [mushrikun] wherever ye find them, and take them, and besiege them, and lay in wait in every stratagem of war. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the Zakat, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful [...] Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture [i.e. people of the book] as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the jizya readily, being brought low [in submission].

The interpretation of all of these passages are hotly contested amongst various schools of thought, traditionalist and reform-minded, and branches of Islam, from the reforming Quranism and Ahmadiyya to the ultra-traditionalist Salafi, as is the doctrine of abrogation (naskh) which is used to determine which verses take precedence, based on reconstructed chronology, with later verses superseding earlier ones. The traditional chronology places Surah 9 as the last or second-to-last surah revealed, thus, in traditional exegesis, it gains a large power of abrogation, and verses 9:5,29,73 are held to have abrogated 2:256[94] The ahadith also play a major role in this, and different schools of thought assign different weightings and rulings of authenticity to different hadith, with the four schools of Sunni thought accepting the Six Authentic Collections, generally along with the Muwatta Imam Malik. Depending on the level of acceptance of rejection of certain traditions, the interpretation of the Koran can be changed immensely, from the Qur'anists and Ahmadiyya who reject the ahadith, to the Salafi, or ahl al-hadith, who hold the entirety of the traditional collections in great reverence.

Traditional Islam[94][95] views the world as bipartite, consisting of the House of Islam, that is, where people live under the Sharia;[95] and the House of War, that is, where the people do not live under Sharia, which must be proselytized[95][96][97] using whatever resources available, including, in some traditionalist and conservative interpretations,[98] the use of violence, as holy struggle in the path of God,[91][98][99] to either convert its inhabitants to Islam, or to rule them under the Shariah (cf. dhimmi).[100][101]


Sefer Torah at old Glockengasse Synagogue (reconstruction), Cologne.

Judaism teaches that God chose the Jewish people to be in a unique covenant with God, and one of their beliefs is that Jewish people were charged by the Torah with a specific mission—to be a light unto the nations, and to exemplify the covenant with God as described in the Torah to other nations. This view does not preclude a belief that God also has a relationship with other peoples—rather, Judaism holds that God had entered into a covenant with all humanity as Noachides, and that Jews and non-Jews alike have a relationship with God, as well as being universal in the sense that it is open to all mankind.[102]

Modern Jews such as Emmanuel Levinas advocate a universalist mindset that is performed through particularist behavior.[103] An on-line organization, the Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute founded and led by Steven Blane, who calls himself an "American Jewish Universalist Rabbi", believes in a more inclusive version of Jewish Universalism, stating that "God equally chose all nations to be lights unto the world, and we have much to learn and share with each other. We can only accomplish Tikkun Olam by our unconditional acceptance of each other's peaceful doctrines."[104]


Manichaeism, like Christian Gnosticism and Zurvanism, was inherently universalist.[105]


In Sikhism, all the religions of the world are compared to rivers flowing into a single ocean. Although the Sikh gurus did not agree with the practices of fasting, idolatry and pilgrimage during their times, they stressed that all religions should be tolerated and considered on equal footing. The Sikh scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, contains the writings of not just the Sikh guru themselves, but the writings of several Hindu and Muslim saints, known as the Bhagats.

The very first word of the Sikh scripture is "Ik", followed by "Oh-ang-kar". This literally means that there is only one god, and that one is wholesome, inclusive of the whole universe. It further goes on to state that all of creation, and all energy is part of this primordial being. As such, it is described in scripture over and over again, that all that occurs is part of the divine will, and as such, has to be accepted. It occurs for a reason, even if its beyond the grasp of one person to understand.

Although Sikhism does not teach that men are created as an image of God, it states that the essence of the One is to be found throughout all of its creation. As was said by Yogi Bhajan, the man who is credited with having brought Sikhism to the West:

"If you can't see God in all, you can't see God at all". (Sri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan)[106]

The First Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak said himself:

"There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim".[107][108][109]

By this, Guru Nanak meant that there is no distinction between religion in God's eyes, whether polytheist, monotheist, pantheist, or even atheist, all that one needs to gain salvation is purity of heart, tolerance of all beings, compassion and kindness. Unlike many of the major world religions, Sikhism does not have missionaries, instead it believes men have the freedom to find their own path to salvation.

Unitarian Universalism

Sign on a UU church in Rochester, Minnesota, United States.

Unitarian Universalism (UU) is a theologically liberal religion characterized by a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning".[110] Unitarian Universalists do not share a creed; rather, they are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth and by the understanding that an individual's theology is a result of that search and not a result of obedience to an authoritarian requirement. Unitarian Universalists draw from all major world religions[111] and many different theological sources and have a wide range of beliefs and practices.

While having its origins in Christianity, UU is no longer a Christian church. As of 2006, fewer than about 20% of Unitarian Universalists identified themselves as Christian.[112] Contemporary Unitarian Universalism espouses a pluralist approach to religious belief, whereby members may describe themselves as humanist, agnostic, deist, atheist, pagan, Christian, monotheist, pantheist, polytheist, or assume no label at all.

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) was formed in 1961, a consolidation of the American Unitarian Association, established in 1825, and the Universalist Church of America,[113] established in 1866. It is headquartered in Boston, and mainly serves churches in the United States. The Canadian Unitarian Council became an independent body in 2002.[114]


Faravahar (or Ferohar), one of the primary symbols of Zoroastrianism, believed to be the depiction of a Fravashi (guardian spirit)

Some varieties of Zoroastrian (such as Zurvanism) are universalistic in application to all races, but not necessarily universalist in the sense of universal salvation.[115]


In his book The Miracle of Theism: Arguments for and against the Existence of God, the Australian philosopher J. L. Mackie noted that whilst in the past a miracle performed by Jesus had served as proof to Christians that he was the 'one true God', and that a miracle performed by another religion's deity had served as a (contradictory) proof to its own adherents, the universalist approach resulted in any such miracle being accepted as a validation of all religions, a situation that he characterised as "Miracle-workers of the world, unite!"[116]

See also


  1. ^ Otis Ainsworth Skinner (1807-1861), A Series of Sermons in Defense of the Doctrine of Universal Salvation, Page 209, It is not part of mainline Christian doctrine either Catholic or Protestant. "Repentance is a means by which all men are brought into the enjoyment of religion, and we do expect any man will be saved while he continues in sin. However, Unitarian Universalism holds a universal salvation, because is, "we expect all men will repent."
  2. ^ Vedanta Society of Southern California Harmony of Religions
  3. ^ King 2002.
  4. ^ Bonnett, A. (2005). Anti-Racism. Routledge.
  5. ^ Kemerling, Garth (November 12, 2011). "A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names". Philosophy Pages. According to Immanuel Kant and Richard Mervyn Hare...moral imperatives must be regarded as equally binding on everyone.
  6. ^ Gowans, Chris (Dec 9, 2008). Edward N. Zalta (ed.). "Moral Relativism". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2012 ed.). Let us say that moral objectivism maintains that moral judgments are ordinarily true or false in an absolute or universal sense, that some of them are true, and that people sometimes are justified in accepting true moral judgments (and rejecting false ones) on the basis of evidence available to any reasonable and well-informed person.
  7. ^ "Unitarian Universalism". BBC. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Unitarian Universalism". Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  9. ^ Buck, Christopher (1999). Paradise and Paradigm: Key Symbols in Persian Christianity and the Bahá'í Faith. Albany: State University of New York Press. p. 292.
  10. ^ a b Stockman, Robert (2000). "The Baha'i Faith". In Beversluis, Joel (ed.). Sourcebook of the World's Religions. New World Library. p. 7. ISBN 1-57731-121-3.
  11. ^ a b Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 138. ISBN 0-521-86251-5.
  12. ^ Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 139. ISBN 0-521-86251-5.
  13. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "peace". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 266–267. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  14. ^ "What Is Christian Universalism?". Auburn.edu. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  15. ^ a b c The Salvation Conspiracy: How Hell Became Eternal
  16. ^ Gary Amirault. "The Fate of the Wicked". Tentmaker.org. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  17. ^ Guild, E.E. 'Arguments in Favour of Universalism'. http://www.tentmaker.org/books/InFavorCh20.html http://godfire.net/eby/saviour_of_the_world.html http://www.godfire.net/Hellidx.html
  18. ^ The Bible Hell. TentMaker.org. "The immortal soul is not meant, but the life. As though Jesus had said: "Fear Not those who can only kill the body, but rather him, who if he chose could destroy the soul"
  19. ^ Miriam Van Scott (10 February 2015). "Purgatorial Hell". The Encyclopedia of Hell: A Comprehensive Survey of the Underworld. St. Martin's Press. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-4668-9119-7.
  20. ^ "See section entitled "Five Principles of Faith"". Auburn.edu. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  21. ^ a b Knight, George T. (1950) [1912]. "Universalists". The New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. 12. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House. p. 96. OCLC 1002955. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge at the Internet Archive (Vol. 12).
  22. ^ "Purgatorial Hell FAQ". StanRock.net. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  23. ^ Wyatt, Neal; Dwyer, Tierney V; Dwyer, Tierney V (2008). "Unitarian Universalism: A Research Guide". Reference & User Services Quarterly. 47 (3): 210–214. doi:10.5860/rusq.47n3.210.
  24. ^ "100 Scriptural Proofs That Jesus Christ Will Save All Mankind". Tentmaker.org. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  25. ^ a b c d Tentmaker. "The Fate of the Wicked". tentmaker.org. Tentmaker. Retrieved 29 June 2012.
  26. ^ "Eternal" Punishment (Matthew 25:46) Is NOT Found In The Greek New Testament.
  27. ^ A look at the word "aionion"
  28. ^ Vincent, Marvin. "Note on Olethron Aionion (eternal destruction)". Word Studies in the New Testament. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  29. ^ John Meyendorff, Catholicity and the Church, St Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1997, ISBN 0-88141-006-3, p. 7
  30. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 2516
  31. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 2448
  32. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1935-1937
  33. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 2358
  34. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 311
  35. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 405
  36. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 123
  37. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 71
  38. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 839-845
  39. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 819
  40. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 761
  41. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1246
  42. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1446
  43. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1030-1031
  44. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1032
  45. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1479
  46. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 381
  47. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1037
  48. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 605
  49. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1443-1445
  50. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1033
  51. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1861
  52. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 600
  53. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 312
  54. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 599
  55. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 601
  56. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 410-412
  57. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 598
  58. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 597
  59. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 610
  60. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 621
  61. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1024
  62. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 962
  63. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 761-762
  64. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 775
  65. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1051-1053
  66. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church 1056-1058
  67. ^ Pluralism and Universalism Within Hinduism "Hindu teachings were also denigrated accordingly and the deeper philosophies of Hinduism were often ignored, especially their universal relevance. For conversion purposes it was easier to define Hinduism in a limited way as a local phenomenon only. Yet the universality of Hindu teachings continued, though few outside of India understood this until recent years. This background universalism of Sanatana Dharma affords Hinduism a synthetic tendency, an ability to incorporate within itself a diversity of views and approaches, including at times those from groups outside of Hinduism or even opposed to Hinduism. Because of this syncretic view, sometimes Hinduism is equated with a blind universalism that accepts without discrimination anything that calls itself religious or spiritual, as if differences of spiritual teachings did not matter in any way. While this may be true of some Hindus, the Hindu tradition also contains a lively tradition of free debate on all aspects of theology, philosophy and metaphysics, showing differences as well as similarities, and not simply equating all teachings as they are. A good example of this is the debates between the dualistic and non-dualistic schools of Vedantic philosophy, but many other examples exist as well. The different sects within Hinduism have always been free to disagree, though each sect has its particular guidelines and there is an overall respect for Dharma."
  68. ^ Hindu American Foundation "Hinduism Basics"
  69. ^ Rig Veda 1.164.46
  70. ^ Page 194 in Eknath Easwaran (2008). Timeless wisdom: Passages for meditation from the world's saints & sages (see article). Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press. ISBN 1-58638-027-3. Similar to Eknath Easwaran (2007). The Bhagavad Gita, 2nd ed. Tomales, CA: Nilgiri Press, p. 117. ISBN 1586380192 (which substitutes "they" for "people"). Transliteration from Winthrop Sargeant (1984). The Bhagavad Gita. Albany: State University of New York Press, p. 211. ISBN 0-87395-831-4, which translates the same passage as "They who, in whatever way, take refuge in Me, them I reward."
  71. ^ See Swami Bhaskarananda, Essentials of Hinduism (Viveka Press 2002) ISBN 1-884852-04-1
  72. ^ Hindu American Foundation Hinduism Basics "It is a richly diverse family of philosophies, traditions, and practices that have been followed primarily throughout Asia for thousands of years."
  73. ^ "Shat-darshana: The Philosophical Schools of Sanatana Dharma"
  74. ^ Indian Philosophy: Orthodox and Heterodox Schools
  75. ^ Frank Morales, Neo-Vedanta: The problem with Hindu Universalism
  76. ^ King 2002, p. 93.
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  115. ^ Jonathan Porter Berkey The formation of Islam: religion and society in the Near East 2003 p28 "This is not to say that there was no universalist dimension to Zoroastrian religious life; but what universalism there was derived directly, and to a greater degree than in the case of Rome and Christianity, from the explicit connection between religion and the state."
  116. ^ Mackie, J. L. (November 1982). The Miracle of Theism: Arguments for and against the Existence of God. Oxford University Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0198246824. It is no longer 'The heathen in his blindness…', but rather 'We worship the same god, but under different names and in different ways’. Carried far enough, this modern tendency would allow Christian miracles to support, not undermine, belief in the supernatural achievements of stone-age witch doctors and medicine men, and vice versa. It is as if someone had coined the slogan, Miracle-workers of the world, unite!


Further reading

  • Ankerl, Guy (2000). Global communication without universal civilization. Vol. 1: Coexisting contemporary civilizations: Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western. Geneva, Switzerland: INU Press. ISBN 9782881550041.
  • Palmquist, Stephen (2000), "Chapter eight: Christianity as the Universal religion", in Palmquist, Stephen (ed.), Kant's critical religion, Aldershot, Hants, England Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate, ISBN 9780754613336. Online.
  • Scott, Joan W. (2005), "French Universalism in the nineties", in Friedman, Marilyn (ed.), Women and citizenship, Studies in Feminist Philosophy, Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 35–51, ISBN 9780195175356.

External links

Beacon Press

Beacon Press is an American non-profit book publisher. Founded in 1854 by the American Unitarian Association, it is currently a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association. It is known for publishing authors such as James Baldwin and Viktor Frankl, as well as The Pentagon Papers.

Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice

Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice (CUSJ), established in 1996, is a Canadian Unitarian Universalist social justice organization that is an associate member of the Canadian Unitarian Council. The organization publishes quarterly issues of JUSTnews and quarterly discussion papers each year.

Christian universalism

Christian universalism is a school of Christian theology focused around the doctrine of universal reconciliation – the view that all human beings will ultimately be "saved" and restored to a right relationship with God.

The term Christian universalism was used in the 1820s by Russell Streeter of the Christian Intelligencer of Portland – a descendant of Adams Streeter who had founded one of the first Universalist Churches on September 14, 1785. Christian universalists believe this was the most common interpretation of Christianity in Early Christianity, prior to the 6th century. Christians from a diversity of denominations and traditions believe in the tenets of Christian universalism, such as the reality of an afterlife without the possibility of eternal punishment in hell.As a formal Christian denomination, Christian universalism originated in the late 18th century with the Universalist Church of America. There is currently no single denomination uniting Christian universalists, but a few denominations teach some of the principles of Christian universalism or are open to them. In 2007, the Christian Universalist Association was founded to serve as an ecumenical umbrella organization for churches, ministries, and individuals who believe in Christian universalism.

Unitarian Universalism historically grew out of Christian universalism but is not an exclusively Christian denomination. It formed from a 1961 merger of two historically Christian denominations, the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Association, both based in the United States.

Coming of Age (Unitarian Universalism)

Coming of Age (CoA, COA) is a Unitarian Universalist program in which a congregation fosters the transition of its children into youth. Although COA programs vary by congregation, they typically mark the individual's transition from younger religious education programs into a youth group, District-level/Regional Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU), as well as National and Continental-level YRUU. Not all youth will enter into all of the levels of programming above, though entering into at least congregational-level YRUU (Youth group) is very common. At least one of the UUA districts holds a series of COA retreats to supplement congregational COA programs.

In most programs, a congregation's youth (usually aged 12 and above) are paired with adult mentors who are members of the congregation. Many programs ask youth to investigate their personal spirituality with the support of their mentors. Youth participants in the program are encouraged to develop a greater sense of what they believe. They do this through discussion, listening to guest speakers, and participating in retreats and workshops. Workshops may be designed to prompt the youth, challenge their modes of thinking, or aid them in furthering their ideas. Some congregations have also encouraged or required each child and mentor to do a social action or social service project together, or organized a service project which all participating youth and mentors do together, such as cooking and serving food at a soup kitchen.

At the end of many COA programs, youth and their mentors prepare a service in which they present "faith statements" or "credo statements" — written statements of belief and perspectives developed over the course of program. These statements vary in many ways, because there are few "guidelines" as to what youth may say. Typically, participants who do not wish to present a credo statement may communicate their findings in other ways; for example a choreographed dance or a musical piece they have written. Services vary from church to church and can involve almost anything that the participants want it to. Favorite hymns, dances, songs, and readings may be included.

For the most part, children identify with the faith beliefs of their parents and family. The Coming of Age program signals the beginning of individual spiritual searching; it is an official recognition that the youth involved have begun to search for personal truth.

Flaming chalice

A flaming chalice is the most widely used symbol of Unitarianism and Unitarian Universalism (UUism) and the official logo of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and other Unitarian and UU churches and societies.

List of Christian universalists

This is a list of believers in Christian Universalism—specifically, Trinitarian Universalism prior to the 1961 creation of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Early Christians—from the second through fourth centuries—have been catalogued by scholars Hosea Ballou (Ancient History of Universalism, 1828), John Wesley Hanson (Universalism: The Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years, 1899), George T. Knight (The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1911), and Pierre Batiffol (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914), but modern scholarship questions the claim that all of these individuals were believers in universal reconciliation. Some of those listed here may have simply believed in apokatastasis in the Jewish or early Christian sense, without any intention that all who had ever lived would be saved.

Several modern Christian theologians have been deemed "hopeful Universalists" for a belief in the possibility of universal reconciliation, but who did not claim it was a dogmatic fact—e.g. Karl Barth and Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

Meadville Lombard Theological School

The Meadville Lombard Theological School is a Unitarian Universalist seminary in Chicago, Illinois.

Moral absolutism

Moral absolutism is an ethical view that all actions are intrinsically right or wrong. Stealing, for instance, might be considered to be always immoral, even if done for the well-being of others (e.g., stealing food to feed a starving family), and even if it does in the end promote such a good. Moral absolutism stands in contrast to other categories of normative ethical theories such as consequentialism, which holds that the morality (in the wide sense) of an act depends on the consequences or the context of the act.

Moral absolutism is not the same as moral universalism. Universalism holds merely that what is right or wrong is independent of custom or opinion (as opposed to moral relativism), but not necessarily that what is right or wrong is independent of context or consequences (as in absolutism). Moral universalism is compatible with moral absolutism, but also positions such as consequentialism. Louis Pojman gives the following definitions to distinguish the two positions of moral absolutism and universalism:

Moral absolutism: There is at least one principle that ought never to be violated.

Moral objectivism: There is a fact of the matter as to whether any given action is morally permissible or impermissible: a fact of the matter that does not depend solely on social custom or individual acceptance.Ethical theories which place strong emphasis on rights and duty, such as the deontological ethics of Immanuel Kant, are often forms of moral absolutism, as are many religious moral codes.

Moral universalism

Moral universalism (also called moral objectivism) is the meta-ethical position that some system of ethics, or a universal ethic, applies universally, that is, for "all similarly situated individuals", regardless of culture, race, sex, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing feature. Moral universalism is opposed to moral nihilism and moral relativism. However, not all forms of moral universalism are absolutist, nor are they necessarily value monist; many forms of universalism, such as utilitarianism, are non-absolutist, and some forms, such as that of Isaiah Berlin, may be value pluralist.In addition to the theories of moral realism, moral universalism includes other cognitivist moral theories, such as the subjectivist ideal observer theory and divine command theory, and also the non-cognitivist moral theory of universal prescriptivism.

Perennial philosophy

Perennial philosophy (Latin: philosophia perennis), also referred to as perennialism and perennial wisdom, is a perspective in spirituality that views all of the world's religious traditions as sharing a single, metaphysical truth or origin from which all esoteric and exoteric knowledge and doctrine has grown.

Perennialism has its roots in the Renaissance interest in neo-Platonism and its idea of The One, from which all existence emanates. Marsilio Ficino (1433–1499) sought to integrate Hermeticism with Greek and Jewish-Christian thought, discerning a Prisca theologia which could be found in all ages. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–94) suggested that truth could be found in many, rather than just two, traditions. He proposed a harmony between the thought of Plato and Aristotle, and saw aspects of the Prisca theologia in Averroes (Ibn Rushd), the Quran, the Kabbalah and other sources. Agostino Steuco (1497–1548) coined the term philosophia perennis.A more popular interpretation argues for universalism, the idea that all religions, underneath seeming differences, point to the same Truth. In the early 19th century the Transcendentalists propagated the idea of a metaphysical Truth and universalism, which inspired the Unitarians, who proselytized among Indian elites. Towards the end of the 19th century, the Theosophical Society further popularized universalism, not only in the western world, but also in western colonies. In the 20th century universalism was further popularized in the English-speaking world through the neo-Vedanta inspired Traditionalist School, which argued for a metaphysical, single origin of the orthodox religions, and by Aldous Huxley and his book The Perennial Philosophy, which was inspired by neo-Vedanta and the Traditionalist School.

Primitive Baptist Universalist

The Primitive Baptist Universalists (also called Primite Baptist Universalists) are Christian Universalist congregations located primarily in the central Appalachian region of the United States. They are popularly known as "No-Hellers" due to their belief that there is no Hell per se, but that Hell is actually experienced in this life.

Theological School of St. Lawrence University

The Theological School of St. Lawrence University was founded in 1856 at St. Lawrence University and closed in 1965, one of the three Universalist seminaries (Crane Divinity School and Ryder Divinity School being the others).

Trinitarian universalism

Trinitarian Universalism is a variant of belief in universal salvation, the belief that every person will be saved, that also held the Christian belief in Trinitarianism (as opposed to, or contrasted with, liberal Unitarianism which is more usually associated with Unitarian Universalism). It was particularly associated with an ex-Methodist New England minister, John Murray, and after his death in 1815 the only clergy known to be preaching Trinitarian Universalism were Paul Dean of Boston and Edward Mitchell in New York.

Unitarian Universalism

Unitarian Universalism (UU) is a liberal religion characterized by a "free and responsible search for truth and meaning". Unitarian Universalists assert no creed, but instead are unified by their shared search for spiritual growth. As such, their congregations include many atheists, agnostics, and theists within their membership. The roots of Unitarian Universalism lie in liberal Christianity, specifically Unitarianism and universalism. Unitarian Universalists state that from these traditions comes a deep regard for intellectual freedom and inclusive love. Congregations and members seek inspiration and derive insight from all major world religions.The beliefs of individual Unitarian Universalists range widely, including atheism, agnosticism, pantheism, panentheism, deism, Humanism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Taoism, Omnism, Bahá’i, and neopaganism.The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) was formed in 1961 through the consolidation of the American Unitarian Association, established in 1825, and the Universalist Church of America, established in 1793. The UUA is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and serves churches mostly in the United States. A group of thirty Philippine congregations is represented as a sole member within the UUA. The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) became an independent body in 2002. The UUA and CUC are, in turn, two of the seventeen members of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists.However, some Unitarian Universalist churches today have statements of faith that profess a Protestant Christian identity.

Unitarian Universalism and LGBT people

Unitarian Universalism and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) have a long-standing tradition of welcoming LGBT people.

Unitarian Universalist Religious Society of Spain

The Unitarian Universalist Religious Society of Spain (Sociedad religiosa Unitaria Universalista de España, SUUE) was an attempt to organize Unitarian Universalism in Spain.

Although the SUUE became a member of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) in June 2001 and had fellowships, first in Barcelona (founded in 2000), and then also in Madrid (founded in 2003), it did not achieve recognition as a religious organization from the Spanish government.

In 2001, Ángel Acebes, the Spanish Ministry of Justice denied the registration of SUUE as a religious organization in Spain on the grounds that it lacked a creed. This rejection was confirmed in 2006 by Spanish Ministry of Justice Fernando López Aguilar after a second request for legalization was made that emphasized the religious nature of the organization and its historical and denominational links.

Nowadays Spanish Unitarian Universalists (gathered still in 2 congregations, Madrid and Barcelona, after an unsuccessful attempt to create a third fellowship in A Coruña (2008)) are looking for alternate ways of legalization that preclude the existence of SUUE as it had been originally conceived by its promoters.

Universal reconciliation

In Christian theology, universal reconciliation (also called universal salvation, Christian universalism, or in context simply universalism) is the doctrine that all sinful and alienated human souls—because of divine love and mercy—will ultimately be reconciled to God. The doctrine has generally been rejected by Christian religion, which holds to the doctrine of special salvation that only some members of humanity will eventually enter heaven, but it has received support from many prestigious Christian thinkers as well as many groups of Christians. The Bible itself has a variety of verses that, on the surface, seem to support a plurality of views.Universal salvation may be related to the perception of a problem of Hell, standing opposed to ideas such as endless conscious torment in Hell, but may also include a period of finite punishment similar to a state of purgatory. Believers in universal reconciliation may support the view that while there may be a real "Hell" of some kind, it is neither a place of endless suffering nor a place where the spirits of human beings are ultimately 'annihilated' after enduring the just amount of divine retribution.The concept of reconciliation is related to the concept of salvation—i.e., salvation from spiritual and eventually physical death—such that the term "universal salvation" is functionally equivalent. Universalists espouse various theological beliefs concerning the process or state of salvation, but all adhere to the view that salvation history concludes with the reconciliation of the entire human race to God. Many adherents assert that the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ constitute the mechanism that provides redemption for all humanity and atonement for all sins.

Unitarian Universalism is a religious movement which emerged in part from the Universalist Church, but it no longer holds any official doctrinal positions, being a non-creedal faith. Universal reconciliation, however, remains a popular viewpoint among many congregations and individual believers including many that have not at all associated with said church.

An alternative to universal reconciliation is the doctrine of annihilationism, often in combination with Christian conditionalism. Some Christian leaders, such as influential theologian Martin Luther, have hypothesized other concepts such as 'soul death'.

Universalist Church of America

The Universalist Church of America (UCA) was a Christian Universalist religious denomination in the United States (plus affiliated churches in other parts of the world). Known from 1866 as the Universalist General Convention, the name was changed to the Universalist Church of America in 1942. In 1961, it consolidated with the American Unitarian Association to form the Unitarian Universalist Association.The defining theology of Universalism is universal salvation; Universalists believe that the God of love would not create a person knowing that that person would be destined for eternal damnation. They concluded that all people must be destined for salvation. Some early Universalists, known as Restorationists and led by Paul Dean, believed that after death there is a period of reprobation in Hell preceding salvation. Other Universalists, notably Hosea Ballou, denied the existence of Hell entirely.

Universality (philosophy)

In philosophy, universality is the idea that universal facts exist and can be progressively discovered, as opposed to relativism. In certain theologies, universalism is the quality ascribed to an entity whose existence is consistent throughout the universe, whose being is independent of and unconstrained by the events and conditions that compose the universe, such as entropy and physical locality.

This article also discusses Kantian and Platonist notions of "universal", which are considered by most philosophers to be separate notions.

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