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The Big Questions

Where did it all come from? What is evil and why does it exist? What do I owe to other people? The Quest for Meaning is all about engaging with the big questions of life. As we work through a series of monthly themes we bring you lesson plans for people of all ages, sermons and other materials to help in exploring the big questions.

What are we to make of death?

Unitarian Universalists often describe ourselves as being more concerned with how we live than what happens after we die, and as being more interested in creating salvation (or healing) in this life than looking for it in the next. And yet, all of us must deal with the disturbing reality that we and all those we love will eventually be lost to death. How do we make sense of that inevitable loss?

In this section we explore:

  • Love and Death
  • Resurrections
  • A Shovel Full of Earth
  • When I Die
  • Coming and Going
  • So Many Little Deaths

Read more.

What is Evil? What is Sin?

Unitarian Universalists and other religious liberals tend to focus on human potential and human goodness, and the ways in which we can choose to make our world better. But there is no question that there is a very real human tendency to toward greed, fear, selfishness and even cruelty. How do we grapple with that reality while holding on to optimism about human nature and our ability to make positive change?

In this section we explore:

  • The Gift of Sin
  • Sin Brought Me Back
  • The Question of Evil

Read more.

What Do We Owe Others?

How much do we need for ourselves, and how much should we give away? How far should the circle of our concern reach? In a world with so much hurt, how much of our care, concern and resources should go to making life better for others and how much do we protect our own hearts and resources? This central religious question has no easy answers.

In this section we explore:

  • How Much Do We Deserve?
  • The Wellspring of Decency
  • Sorry, Hon, Not My Table
  • Do Justice

Read more.

How Do I Live a Good Life?

Perhaps the central question of religion for Unitarian Universalist is the question of how to live a life that is ethical and compassionate, and leaves the world in some measure better than how we found it.

In this section, we explore:

  • To Live Deliberately
  • Striving for Perfection
  • Cherish the Dream

Read more.

What is Salvation?

While traditional Christians view salvation as something that comes through the redemption of Jesus Christ, and leads to eternal life in heaven, Unitarian Universalists think of salvation more in terms of its root word, which means to heal or make whole (as in salve). What may happen after death is less of a question than how we might find wholeness for ourselves and create healing in the world. 

In this section, we explore:

  • What must I do to be saved?
  • Restoration
  • Salvation

Read more.

What (if anything) is God?

Or, to ask the question a different way, what is The Ultimate? What is the biggest thing that we all belong to? What is inside each of us and beyond all of us? Different religions of the world have different ways of answering this question, and there is no one “right” answer that allows someone to say “This is what God is like. I know for sure.” Some people relate to a personal God who watches over them and gives them comfort. Some people understand God as something more abstract: the creative force of the universe, or Love. Some people figure that God is just a story that people make up, and not necessarily even a very good story. 

In this section, we explore:

  • Brief Thoughts on God
  • Do You Believe in God?
  • What Will We Do with God?

Read more.