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Encyclopedia > Universalist

In comparative religion, a universalist religion is one that holds itself true for all people; it thus allows all to join, regardless of ethnicity. In contrast, ethnic religions, like ethnicity itself, can be determined not just by genealogy, but by geography, language, and other social boundaries. In that sense, Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism are universalist religions. Judaism and Hinduism are ethnic religions.

The name Universalism refers to certain religious denominations of universalist religions, which as a core principle adhere to standards and rituals which are convergent rather than divergent, often espousing themselves as alternatives to denominations based on dogmatic or factionalized differences.

In Christian theology, universalism, or universal salvation, is the doctrine that all people will eventually be saved and go to heaven when they die. Some universalists believe that some will endure a limited period of punishment before going to heaven. By doctrine, almost all denominations of Christianity reject universalism as a heresy, although many modern adherents believe in universalism.

Although isolated theologians, such as Origen in the 3rd century, have expressed univeralist positions throughout the history of Christianity, universalism bloomed within post-enlightenment liberal Christianity and became popular on the American frontier during the Second Great Awakening in the 19th century. This movement led to the formation of the Universalist Church of America, which later merged in 1961 with the American Unitarian Association to form the Unitarian Universalist Association. However, because Unitarian Universalism is officially creedless, no member of that denomination is required to believe in the doctrine of universalism.

Early Universalists in North America include John Murray and Thomas Potter in 1770. The story goes that God told Potter that he was to go and rescue the one swimming from a boat that had hit a sandbar and that this person would be the one he was waiting for. Murray preached to Potter's neighbours and the word spread like wildfire.

Hosea Ballou, who is sometimes called an ultra-universalist, is often recognized as the great theologian of American Universalism, having written thousands of sermons as well as essays, hymns and treatises.

Tentmaker, a Christian ministry which espouses eventual, universal salvation, has several books written at the end of the 19th century online. J.W. Hanson's books are the most thorough and scholarly, as opposed to devotional.

  • Tentmakers' scanned books (http://www.tentmaker.org/books/index.html)

Universalism is also used as a synonym for moral absolutism.

Universalism can also mean

See also

  Results from FactBites:
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It is to such persons that the universalists want to surrender to demonstrate their nobility, to show those "nice" savages and the world that there are indeed good, high-minded, righteous Jews like themselves, the universalists.
Like a sheep opening the gate to the jackal, the universalist Jew agreed to hopelessly weaken his nation in the name of his utopian dream of mankind in an illusion of a peace that jackals cannot deliver.
The universalist Jew surrenders to his enemy because he is the sick universalist beast he is. The Jews of Israel who trust the governance of their land to persons of this ilk, as they did four years ago when they elected the Labor Party to office, sell out their own future.
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BarnumĀ  (1810-1891), a prominent Universalist, the most influential American showman of the nineteenth century, was the founder of the first important public museum and creator of the modern three-ring circus.
She was the only missionary sent to Scotland by the Universalist Church, and in 1880 the first woman to be ordained as a minister in the United Kingdom.
The Trumpet and Universalist Magazine, which he established in 1828 as a successor to Hosea Ballou's Universalist Magazine, was the leading newspaper of the movement for more than thirty years.
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