To follow early Universalism to its logical conclusion that if salvation is granted to everyone then the idea of hell is invalid. Without hell, what does salvation mean? One of the Unitarian Universalist principles addresses universalism without biblical language, stating that we affirm and promote “The inherent worth and dignity of every person.” This basic affirmation continues the radical legacy of Universalism, stating that despite ones social class, sexual orientation, political views, and belief system, they have an inherent worth and dignity; however, it doesn't imply we have to agree with everyone or tolerate cruel and hurtful behaviours. This is a principle that challenges UU's today to view the world with compassion despite adversity and brutality.
The Unitarian principles of our faith lead us towards the rational evaluation of our personal experiences in the world around us. The language of god in UU congregations are minimal, partly because there are as many ideas of god as there are stars in the sky. Many people, my self included, are uncomfortable with language about god. However, the concept of Unitarianism is reflected in the famous “The Cathedral of The World” sermon given by Reverend Forest Church. Church asked the congregation to imagine they where in a vast cathedral and had them specifically contemplating the windows. He elaborators:
As with all extended metaphors, this one is imperfect. The Light of God (or Truth or Being Itself) shines not only upon us, but out from within us as well. Together with the windows, we are part of the cathedral, not apart from it. Together we comprise an interdependent web of being. The cathedral is constructed out of star stuff and so are we. We are that part (or known part) of the creation that contemplates itself. Because the cathedral is so vast, our life so short and vision so dim, we are able to contemplate only a tiny part of the whole creation. We can explore but a handful of its many chambers. Our allotted span permits us to reflect on the play of darkness and light through remarkably few of its myriad windows. Yet, since the whole is contained in each of its parts, as we ponder and act on insights derived from even a single reflection, we may experience self-illumination. We may also discover or invent meanings that invest both the creation and our lives with coherence and meaning.
The cores of both Unitarianism and Universalism resonate in new ways and maintains relevance in a post-modern world. Even though the word god is highly suspect to us , UU's have the term “Spirit of Life” which we have made our own. It is left ambiguous for the purpose of promoting diversity, allowing each individual the freedom to identity with the “Spirit of Life” in whichever way is most comfortable for them. Perhaps what Church was pointing out in his cathedral analogy is a sacred paradox at the core of our faith, that of a united-plurality. It is this united-plurality which evolved from Christian language of one god who rejects no one to an idea of an underlying spirit (or source) of life which is refracted in many many diverse manifestations and perspectives. I believe this is the truth suggested in the principle affirm and promote “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”