Wikipedia - Unitarianism seems to suggest that there is no core belief regarding Deity, within what is called 'Unitarianism' :

Worship within the Unitarian tradition accommodates a wide range of understandings of God, while the focus of the service may be simply the celebration of life itself.

And the article on Wikipedia suggests that Unitarianism is a reaction to Trinitarianism, rather than a self-expressing body of agreement :

Although there is no specific authority on convictions of Unitarian belief aside from rejection of the Trinity, the following beliefs are generally accepted . . . . . .

And the above appears to suggest that there is no governing body or authority which could give a definitive view on core beliefs.

So I am interested in whether Unitarianism (as a movement) does or does not worship God as a Person. But I am not clear as to who would be able to answer this on behalf of the movement.

Or, indeed, if the movement, as a whole, agrees as to what the answer might be.

Is there any way of finding out the answer to my question ?

From the little I have managed to glean it appears to me that 'Unitarian' means 'Anti-Trinitarian' and that such Anti-Trinitarians are actually undecided about whom God is, save that they definitely do not believe that God is as Trinitarianism represents Him to be.

If I have misunderstood that, I am very keen to be advised accordingly of my misunderstanding, by any authority able to so advise me.

  • Like most factions/denominations of religion, you would have to define what Unitarianism means. On the face of it it seems logical, but men have even made a mess of that apparently.
    – steveowen
    Feb 4, 2022 at 0:40
  • @steveowen Well, I would be looking to self-confessed Unitarians to tell me what Unitarianism is.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 4, 2022 at 0:50
  • Had a laugh about this from the Wiki link, As is typical of dissenters, Unitarianism does not constitute one single Christian denomination. As if all the others have !
    – steveowen
    Feb 4, 2022 at 0:56
  • 2
    @OneGodtheFather I was after a definitive answer. A 'guess' is not really what I wanted. But your facts are interesting and noted.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 4, 2022 at 7:36
  • 2
    @OneGodtheFather So, no gathered and organised response to the Council of Nicea. I see.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 4, 2022 at 7:52

1 Answer 1


There seems to be something of an answer in this article by Ian Sellers, published in 1977 in the book I quote from, below. I do not know if Ian Sellers is (or was) a Unitarian, however. He does not say, in his article. What is particularly helpful in his article is tracing the development of the modern 16th century movement. This, in itself, explains the difficulty of trying to pin any one, clear doctrine of God to Unitarianism. Here is what the article says:

"Unitarianism rejects the idea of the Trinity. It questions belief in the divinity of Christ and of the Holy Spirit in favour of the oneness of God. This idea was found in the early church, particularly in the Monarchianist heresy. The modern movement dates from the early sixteenth century. Renaissance ideas combined with some extreme teaching in the Radical Reformation to produce Unitarian ideas in the minds of many individuals...

Two prominent centres of early Unitarianism were Poland and Hungary... Unitarian congregations sprang up [from 1558] and were known as the 'Polish Brethren'. They were formally organized in 1565, and became known as the Minor Church. After 1574, when Faustus Socinus became their leader, Unitarianism spread quickly. Its intellectual centre was Racow. There a Polish Unitarian declaration of faith, the Racovian Catechism, was published in 1605...

By the later eighteenth century Unitarianism in Hungary had been almost completely suppressed... But in the rationalistic atmosphere of the eighteenth century, very many English Presbyterian and General Baptist churches began to be affected. They adopted first Arian, and then Sabellian, Socinian or full-blown Unitarian ideas. Both became largely Unitarian denominations by the second half of the eighteenth century. The first self-styled Unitarian church, Essex Chapel in London, was opened by the liberal Anglican Theophilus Lindsey who left the Church of England in 1773. [Unitarianism] was legalized in 1813... Meanwhile there were theological changes in Unitarianism." The History of Christianity, page 495, Lion

On the next page details are given of Dr. Joseph Priestly, the English Unitarian minister, who rejected the doctrine of atonement and the Trinity and who had to flee to the United States in 1794 due to his support for the French Revolution. He and his successor, Thomas Belsham

"...found their source of authority in Scripture. They interpreted the Bible in a rationalistic and optimistic way, to get round those verses which Christians had previously used to support the doctrine of the Trinity and the belief that man has a fallen nature. But in the 1830s James Martineau and some younger Unitarians led a revolt against biblical Unitarianism and its dogmas. They advocated a less argumentative religion. They wanted a more refined, romantic and devotional spirituality. They found religious authority in reason and conscience, rather than in a biassed interpretation of Scripture. Henceforth the Unitarians were rather sharply divided into an older, 'biblical', and newer, 'spiritual' wing. The new group was well on the way to eclipsing the biblical wing by 1850.

In Ireland... in 1830 the 'Remonstrant Synod of Ireland' was formed.. and are today more conservative in their beliefs than English Unitarians. In North America... King's Chapel, Boston, became in 1785 the first Unitarian church in the New World.... In 1816 the famous divinity school of Harvard was founded. It became the centre of Unitarian thought. In 1825 the scattered Unitarian congregations organized themselves into a denomination." (Ibid. p 450)

This skeleton (with a few bones missing) is vital to first have before trying to flesh it out with any modern Unitarian statements of belief about the God they worship. They have had a long history of persecution and, even today, they seem uneasy at answering any questions such as, "Are you anti-Trinitarian?" or "Do you worship God as a Person?" That is because nobody is bothered if there are varieties of belief, just so long as there is agreement that the Trinity doctrine is wrong, and that the Bible can be taken however one sees fit. That is not merely my opinion. Here is another quote, from Rev. Arthur J. Long, Principal, Unitarian College, Manchester, writing in the book below:

"Unitarians have always been suspicious of abstruse dogma, repudiating the Trinity, and placing supreme emphasis on the unity and benevolence of God. Jesus Christ is not thought of as a personal manifestation of the Deity, and although at first some could accept him as a heavenly messenger worthy of adoration, later Unitarians came to regard him primarily as a supremely gifted but unequivocally human religious teacher and prophet. Correspondingly, the basic assumptions of Christian 'salvation' are now generally rejected.

Unitarians believe in the general goodness of human nature and see something of God in all people. The death of Jesus is thought of as an inspiring example of dedication and self-sacrifice. The earlier Unitarians accepted the notion of a physical resurrection, but most of the story is now interpreted in a symbolic fashion.

Although most Unitarians nevertheless still regard themselves as Christians, some - particularly in the USA - have now espoused a non-theistic form of religious humanism, and among all Unitarians there is an increasing tendency to look to other world faiths and not merely to the Judaeo-Christian tradition. The imposition of fixed creeds in religion is in any case regarded as unacceptable, and in the English-speaking Churches especially, no confession of faith is required of either ministers or members. This has resulted in a ready acceptance of a wide variety of differing beliefs, practices, church architecture and forms of worship." The Encyclopedia of World Faiths, p136, Eds. Bishop & Darton, MacDonald Orbis, 1987 (All emphases mine)

Conclusion: The questions asked are actually answered in that last quoted paragraph, stated by an accredited Unitarian teacher and lecturer. But the background history also shows in the development of Unitarianism why there came to be a big split from what is called Biblical Unitarianism, so that the greatest variations in answers will be found by comparing that small group with the 'spiritual' or humanist group.

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