Unitarian Universalism vs Anglican
Both Unitarian Universalism and Anglicanism find their origins in Europe, centuries before being established in the United States; however, there are significant differences in the doctrines each embrace, as well as, their traditions, customs, and views on God. Ultimately, Anglicanism developed into “middle way” between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism and rejected the more extreme views of each denomination. For example, Anglicanism refutes the existence of purgatory and papal supremacy, which are Catholic teachings, while it retains the beliefs that Jesus was born of a virgin, and is both human and God, which are doctrines not accepted by the Protestant church. Unitarian Universalism, born out of the protestant reformation period, rejects the notions that: spiritual destiny is predetermined, damnation is permanent, God is vengeful, and humans are born with “original sin”.
There is great contrast between the two traditions when it comes to their point of views on the trinity. The Anglican Church believes that God exists in three separate entities: the Holy Spirit, God the Father, and Jesus Christ, who is one with God. In Unitarian Universalism, Jesus Christ is generally viewed as an important teacher, God is believed to be a singular and indivisible entity, and the trinity doctrine is not embraced. The open-minded, pluralist, multi-faith congregations of Unitarian Universalist churches allow for the inclusion of members and visitors who have diverse beliefs which may be considered agnostic, polytheist, pagan, monotheist, or atheist in nature.
There is greater diversity in beliefs and practice in Unitarian Universalism. This is purposeful, as the church seeks to be inclusive, focusing on individual faith, and personal spiritual growth. Unitarian Universalists has no official creed; however, Unitarians unite around “Principles and Purposes”, a set of seven principles which members have in common. These principles promote the good works, tolerance, being open to and seeking truth, and recognizing and perpetuating justice, equality, and liberty. Gaining wisdom from the various world religions and guidance from science are also encouraged. This outlook makes it possible for each Unitarian Universalist church to create as space which welcomes individuals with various beliefs and point of views, and makes it possible for each to establish their own practices, culture, and spiritual viewpoint.
There is not the same variance of beliefs and practices found in Anglicanism. Anglicanism is a Christian faith and despite having differences from the Catholic faith, still retains many of its doctrines. Anglican identity is tied to Catholicism but separate. The Thirty-Nine Articles outlines the positions of the Anglican Church, including statements concerning the role of the church, excommunication, the Holy Trinity, clerical celibacy, chastity, and sin.
Christianity is also found in Unitarian Universalism: Christian Universalism, which includes: Pentecostal, Evangelical, and Liberal Christianity. The Orthodox Christian Universalist belief system, to which the Evangelical branch is closest, holds that the human soul is eternal and all individuals will repair their relationship with God and enter heaven, that people are held accountable for their sins either now or in the afterlife, and regard Jesus Christ as a spiritual leader who reveals God to humankind.
The Bible is the Anglican Church’s most important text, as a Christian faith. The bible is the foundation of the faith and is read during services. In addition to the bible, and specific to Anglicanism, is the Book of Common Prayer. Published in 1549, “The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church”, its full name, is a prayer book which provides liturgies for various services, including: Eucharist, Baptisms, Burials, and the Morning and Evening Offices, among others.
Unitarian Universalism does not consider any spiritual or religious text to be supreme or infallible. The Unitarian church believes that religious literature should be respected and analyzed for divine wisdom and insight but not taken literally.
Anglicanism ordains bishops, priests, and deacons. Unitarian Universalism ordains ministers; however, reverends, teachers, and guest speakers with various titles may lead services due to the various faiths of its members. There are about 2.5 million members of the Anglican Church, while there are only half a million Unitarian Universalists (2010 United States Census).
- Anglicanism developed as a middle way between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Unitarian Universalism developed from Protestant Reformation.
- Anglicanism accepts the Holy Trinity doctrine while Unitarian Universalism does not.
- Diversity in beliefs and churches in Unitarian Universalist churches and congregations, while Anglican Churches have a creed and a common set of Christian beliefs.
- The Anglican spiritual texts are the bible and The Book of Common Prayer. Unitarian Universalism has no official text.
- Anglicanism order priests, bishops, and deacons, while Unitarian Universalism orders only ministers.
- Anglicanism has a greater number of members in the United States and worldwide.