Transcendentalism for the New Age

Over the past twenty years, Unitarian Universalism has undergone a shift in consciousness. Many UU churches over much of the twentieth century have served as havens for the religiously displaced, those who emerged from the rigid dogmatism of mostly Christian churches that preached uncomfortable messages of sin and damnation. These religious fugitives sought a more rational and intellectual religious environment and our churches and its ministers have complied.

Comparison of Early American Theologies

Concept Puritanism Deism Unitarianism Transcendentalism
Religious Yes Yes Yes No
Prime Mover God: triune, all-powerful, good, just
God: One, powerful, initially benevolent,
now detached
God: One, powerful, benevolent Oversoul: not anthropomorphic but good

Thoreau and Taoism

To The Student of Thoreau who is familiar with Chinese culture, Walden is similar to a traditional Chinese government, Confucian in form and Taoist in spirit, for the book is full of quotations from the Confucian books, while its ideas are essentially Taoist. Lin Yutang, for example, says that Thoreau was the "most Chinese of all American authors in his entire view of life" and that he could "translate passages of Thoreau into Chinese and pass them off as original writing by a Chinese poet without raising any suspicion.

Discourses on the Philosophy of Religion, I

Written between 1833 and 1836, when they were published in pamphlet format, "Discourses On the Philosophy of Religion," exhibit the strides George Ripley had taken in developing a religious philosophy that reflected the influence of both German idealism and French eclecticism.

William Ellery Channing, Pre-Transcendentalist and Abolitionist

William Ellery Channing (1780-1842) was one of the most outspoken abolitionists of his era. He was determined to voice the rights of individual man-. A great preacher, called "the apostle of Unitarianism," he advocated tolerance in religion. His writings on slavery, war, labor problems, and education were extremely progressive and influenced many American authors, including Emerson and other exponents of Transcendentalism, Holmes, and Bryant. His works (6 vol., 1841-43) passed through many editions.

The Transient and Permanent in Christianity

Delivered at the Ordination of Rev. Charles C. Shackford in the Hawes Place Church, Boston on May 19, 1841

Luke xxi.33. "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my word shall not pass away."

Divinity School Address

Web study text and selected criticism
Delivered before the Senior Class in Divinity College, Cambridge, Sunday Evening, July 15, 1838

William Ellery Channing and Unitarian Identity

Beginning in the eighteenth century, a religious split began to occur in New England.

William Ellery Channing's Theology: God, Christ, Humanity, and Self-Culture

William Ellery Channing's theology played a crucial role in his understanding of the world, one's place within the world, and one's interactions with others. Our obligations to others and to ourselves are predicated on a belief in God as a loving father. One can argue that Channing's theology was the primary lens through which he viewed the world, judged what was good and evil, thought about political allegiances and political change, and viewed the necessities of life and culture.

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