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Universism (prounounced "universe-ism") is a religious philosophy which aims to unite freethinkers, whether they use the term Atheist, Agnostic, Deist, Transcendentalist, Pantheist, Scientific Materialist or others to describe their beliefs. Universism posits that religious philosophy should not be conceived in terms of one's views toward God, but rather the method and attitude with which one approaches religious questions. Universists embrace uncertainty and deem it fundamental to human progress. They believe all meaning and purpose should be understood through personal reason and experience, without resort to faith. Universists contend this approach allows for belief in a supernatural first cause, as in Deism, or a conception of the universe as explaining itself, as in Atheism. One who accepts Universism is termed a Universist.

Some principles of Universism include:

  1. The most important thing is the search for meaning and purpose, as in relationships and love, understanding and knowledge, experiences and emotions, or elsewhere.
  2. There is no absolute Truth that applies to all beings; ultimate knowledge of the nature of existence cannot be communicated, it can only be experienced personally. The natural state of most beings is uncertainty, motivating curiosity, openmindedness and appreciation for the experiences and thought of other beings.
  3. Morality is relative to individual circumstances and relationships. Any action's ultimate rightness or wrongness can only be determined by those involved in the action. Good and Evil are ideas that can be useful, but are inaccurate if used to describe the nature of the universe.
  4. Social structures such as governments and institutions are useful insofar as they help individuals to flourish - that is, become and remain healthy, happy and able to work toward their goals that do not interfere with the rights of other individuals to work toward their goals.
  5. All life is free in the universe, limited in potential only by the physical laws of nature.

There is a nonprofit organization to promote Universism called United Universists, whose motto is Faith in Reason, Inspiration in Nature, Hope in Progress. A different umbrella movement that notably excludes naturalists who believe in God, such as Deists, is called The Brights.

See also: moral relativism, emotivism, atheism, pantheism, deism, transcendentalism, humanism

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