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Encyclopedia > Ethical Culture

The Ethical Culture Movement is a non-sectarian, ethico-religious and educational movement. Individual chapter organizations are generically referred to as Ethical Societies, though their names may include "Ethical Society," "Ethical Culture Society," "Society for Ethical Culture," or other variations on the theme of "Ethical." Sectarianism is an adherence to a particular sect or party or denomination, it also usually involves a rejection of those not a member of ones sect. ... Ethics (from the Ancient Greek ethikos, meaning arising from habit), a major branch of philosophy, is the study of value or quality. ... Various religious symbols Religion is a system of social coherence based on a common group of beliefs or attitudes concerning an object, person, unseen being, or system of thought considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine or highest truth, and the moral codes, practices, values, institutions, and rituals associated with such...


Ethical Culture is premised on the idea that honoring and living in accordance with ethical principles is central to what it takes to live meaningful and fulfilling lives, and to creating a world that is good for all. It is observed that ethics is at the heart of all religions as well as being basic to secular wisdom. Practitioners of Ethical Culture focus on supporting one another in becoming better people, and on doing good in the world. Ethics (from the Ancient Greek ethikos, meaning arising from habit), a major branch of philosophy, is the study of value or quality. ... Secularity is the state of being free from religious or spiritual qualities. ... Personification of wisdom (Greek Σοφια) in Celsus Library in Ephesos, Turkey Detail from the Allegory of Wisdom and Strength by Paulo Veronese (c. ...

Contents

Ethical perspective

While Ethical Culturists generally share common beliefs about what constitute ethical behavior and the good, individuals are encouraged to develop their own personal understanding of these ideas. This does not mean that Ethical Culturists condone moral relativism which would relegate ethics to mere preferences or social conventions. Ethical principles are viewed as being related to deep truths about the way the world works, and hence not arbitrary. However, it is recognized that complexities render the understanding of ethical nuances subject to continued dialogue, exploration, and learning. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... In philosophy, moral relativism takes the position that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect absolute and universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances. ... This article belongs in one or more categories. ...


While the founder of Ethical Culture, Felix Adler, was a transcendentalist, Ethical Culturists may have a variety of understandings as to the theoretical origins of ethics. Key to the founding of Ethical Culture was the observation that too often disputes over religious or philosophical doctrines have distracted people from actually living ethically and doing good. Consequently, "Deed before creed" has long been a motto of the movement. Felix Adler (1851–1933) was a Jewish rationalist intellectual who founded the Society for Ethical Culture in New York, New York. ... Transcendentalism was the name of a group of new ideas in literature, religion, culture and philosophy which emerged in New England in the early- to mid-nineteenth century. ... Doctrine, from Latin doctrina, (compare doctor), means a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system. ... A creed is a statement or confession of belief — usually religious belief — or faith. ... A motto is a phrase or a short list of words meant formally to describe the general motivation or intention of an entity, social group, or organization. ...


Religious aspect

Functionally, Ethical Societies are similar to churches or synagogues. Ethical Societies typically have Sunday morning meetings, offer moral instruction for children and teens, and do charitable work and social action. They may offer a variety of educational and other programs. They conduct [[wedding] religion. In this regard, Ethical Culture is similar to traditional religions such as Buddhism and Taoism, about whose practitioners similar statements could be made. Felix Adler said “Ethical Culture is religious to those who are religiously minded, and merely ethical to those who are not so minded.” The movement does consider itself a religion in the sense that To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Lesko synagogue, Poland A synagogue (Hebrew: בית כנסת ; beit knesset, house of assembly; Yiddish: שול, shul; Ladino אסנוגה esnoga) is a Jewish place of religious worship. ... A replica of an ancient statue of Gautama Buddha, found in Sarnath, near Varanasi. ... Taoism (sometimes written as and actually pronounced as Daoism(dow-ism)) is the English name for: Dao Jia [philosophical tao]philosophical school based on the texts the Tao Te Ching (ascribed to Laozi [Lao Tzu] and alternately spelled Dào Dé JÄ«ng) and the Zhuangzi; a family of organized... Felix Adler (1851–1933) was a Jewish rationalist intellectual who founded the Society for Ethical Culture in New York, New York. ...

Religion is that set of beliefs and/or institutions, behaviors and emotions which binds human beings to something beyond their individual selves and fosters in its adherents a sense of humility and gratitude that, in turn, sets the tone of one's world-view and requires certain behavioral dispositions relative to that which transcends personal interests.

The Ethical Culture 2003 ethical identity statement states: Human beings are defined variously in biological, spiritual, and cultural terms, or in combinations thereof. ... Humility is the state of being humble. ... Gratitude is a positive emotion, which involves a feeling of emotional indebtedness towards another person; often accompanied by a desire to thank them, or to reciprocate for a favour they have done for you. ... A world view, (or worldview) is a term calqued from the German word Weltanschauung (pronounced //) meaning a look onto the world. It implies a concept fundamental to German philosophy and epistemology and refers to a wide world perception. ...

It is a chief belief of Ethical religion that if we relate to others in a way that brings out their best, we will at the same time elicit the best in ourselves. By the "best" in each person, we refer to his or her unique talents and abilities that affirm and nurture life. We use the term "spirit" to refer to a person's unique personality and to the love, hope, and empathy that exists in human beings. When we act to elicit the best in others, we encourage the growing edge of their ethical development, their perhaps as-yet untapped but inexhaustible worth.

Since around 1950 the Ethical Culture movement has been increasingly identified as part of the modern Humanist movement. Specifically, in 1952, the American Ethical Union, the national umbrella organization for Ethical Culture societies in the United States, became one of the founding member organizations of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. The English word spirit comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning breath. ... Love is a profound feeling of tender affection for or intense attraction to another. ... For other uses, see Hope (disambiguation). ... For the fictional character, see Empath (comics). ... Human dignity is an expression that can be used a moral concept or a legal term. ... Humanist may refer to: a scholar or academic in the Humanities a proponent of the group of ethical stances referred to as Humanism a long-running email discussion list on humanities computing in typography, a group of sans-serif typefaces with some calligraphic features, such as Humana, Optima, Frutiger, Johnston... Founded in Amsterdam in 1952, International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the sole world umbrella organisation [1] embracing Humanist, atheist, rationalist, secular, skeptic, Ethical Culture, freethought and similar organisations world-wide. ...


Advocates

Albert Einstein was a supporter of Ethical Culture. For the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New York Society for Ethical Culture he noted that the idea of Ethical Culture embodied his personal conception of what is most valuable and enduring in religious idealism. Humanity requires such a belief to survive, Einstein argued. "Without 'ethical culture' there is no salvation for humanity." Einstein redirects here. ...


Early history

The movement was initiated in 1876 by Felix Adler in New York City with the founding of the New York Society for Ethical Culture. 1876 (MDCCCLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... Felix Adler (1851–1933) was a Jewish rationalist intellectual who founded the Society for Ethical Culture in New York, New York. ... Nickname: Big Apple, City that never Sleeps image_skyline = Top_of_Rock_Cropped. ...


The society adopted as the condition of membership a positive desire to uphold by example and precept the highest ideals of living and to aid the weaker to attain those ideals. The aims of the society were stated as follows:

  • "To teach the supremacy of the moral ends above all human ends and interests;
  • "To teach that the moral law has an immediate authority not contingent on the truth of religious beliefs or of philosophical theories;
  • "To advance the science and art of right living."

The members of the society were free to follow and profess whatever system of religion they choose, the society confining its attention to the moral problems of life. Adler did himself have an ethical philosophy that deeply influenced how this was approached. A central precept was "Always act so as to elicit the best in others, and thereby in yourself." Various religious symbols Religion is a system of social coherence based on a common group of beliefs or attitudes concerning an object, person, unseen being, or system of thought considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine or highest truth, and the moral codes, practices, values, institutions, and rituals associated with such... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ...


In adhering to its social and moral imperatives, the Society quickly initiated two major projects in 1877. First was the establishment of the District Nursing Service, a precursor of the Visiting Nurse Service, which is still active today.


The second project was the founding of a free kindergarten for the children of working people (the first free kindergarten in America), and in 1880 the Workingman's School was chartered, a model institution for general and technical education in which the use of the kindergarten method in the higher branches of study was a distinctive feature. Each of its teachers was a specialist as well as an enthusiast in his subject; the Socratic method was followed. Pupils over seven were instructed in the use of tools. In 1895, the School was reorganized, becoming The Ethical Culture Schools. An upper school, The Fieldston School, was added in 1928. A kindergarten in Afghanistan. ... Socratic Method (or method of elenchos or Socratic debate) is a dialectic method of inquiry, largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts and first described by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues. ... The Ethical Culture Fieldston School is a private school in New York City and a member of the Ivy Preparatory School League. ...


Under Dr. Adler's direction, the Society worked to improve conditions in tenement houses, created the Mothers' Society to Study Child Nature (later the Child Study Association), and helped to found the Visiting and Teaching Guild for Crippled Children in 1889. The Society was also instrumental in the formation of the National Child Labor Committee and in calling for the formation of the NAACP. The Chicago Society organized The Bureau of Justice, the organization that preceded the Legal Aid Society. The National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1904 and incorporated by an Act of Congress in 1907 with the mission of promoting the rights, awareness, dignity, well-being and education of children and youth as they relate to work and working. ... The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is one of the oldest and most influential hate organizations in the United States. ... The Legal Aid Society is the United States oldest and largest provider of legal services to the indigent. ...


According to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor the pro bono tradition among lawyers started with a speech by Supreme Court Justice Brandeis at an Ethical Society in 1905. Sandra Day OConnor (born March 26, 1930) is a former American jurist and politician who served as the first female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1981 to 2006. ... Pro bono is a phrase derived from Latin meaning for the good. The complete phrase is pro bono publico, for the public good. It is used to designate legal or other professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment, as a public service. ... Louis Dembitz Brandeis (November 13, 1856 – October 5, 1941) was an American litigator, Supreme Court Justice, advocate of privacy, and developer of the Brandeis Brief. ...


While originally agnostic in feeling, the society gradually developed into a simple, human brotherhood, united by ethical purpose and a humanistic outlook, and to some degree acquired an influence in distinctively Christian circles in some parts of Europe. But the only approach to a religious service was a Sunday address on topics of the day, preceded and followed by music. Its chief supporters in New York and Philadelphia were Jews, as was its founder and leader, though the society did not in any degree bear the stamp of Judaism. The term agnosticism and the related agnostic were coined by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1869. ... Christianity is a monotheistic[1] religion centered on Jesus of Nazareth, and on his life and teachings as presented in the New Testament. ... European redirects here. ... Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. ...


A similar movement was started in Berlin and today a society exists at Frankfurt am Main. Berlin is the capital city and a state of Germany. ... Frankfurt am Main [ˈfraŋkfʊrt] is the largest city in the German state of Hessen and the fifth largest city of Germany. ...


Societies were established in Cambridge and London, United Kingdom but the only remaining society in that country is the South Place Ethical Society, based at Conway Hall, London, and controlled by the British Humanist Association. South Place Ethical Society is thought to be the oldest surviving freethought organisation in the world, and is the only remaining Ethical Society in the United Kingdom. ... Moncure Daniel Conway (March 17, 1832 - November 5, 1907), was an American clergyman and author. ... London (pronounced ) is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. ... The British Humanist Association is an organisation of the United Kingdom which promotes humanism. ...


Locations

The largest concentration of Ethical Societies is in the New York metropolitan area, including a dozen or so Societies in New York and New Jersey. Ethical Societies exist in a score or so U.S. cities and counties, including Austin, Texas; Baltimore; Boston; Chapel Hill and Asheville, North Carolina; Chicago; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; St. Louis and St. Peters, Missouri; Bergen and Essex Counties, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Vienna, Virginia. There is a new Ethical Culture Society located in cyberspace. It can be found at Ethical Society Without Walls Nickname: Big Apple, City that never Sleeps image_skyline = Top_of_Rock_Cropped. ... Official language(s) None, English de facto Capital Trenton Largest city Newark Area  Ranked 47th  - Total 8,729 sq mi (22,608 km²)  - Width 70 miles (110 km)  - Length 150 miles (240 km)  - % water 14. ... Nickname: Live Music Capital of the World Location in the state of Texas Coordinates: Country United States State Texas County Travis County Mayor Will Wynn Area    - City 669. ... Flag Seal Nickname: Monument City, Charm City, Mob Town, B-more Motto: Get In On It (formerly The City That Reads and The Greatest City in America; BELIEVE is not the official motto but rather a specific campaign) Location Location of Baltimore in Maryland Coordinates , Government Country State County United... Boston is a town and small port c. ... City nickname: The Southern Part of Heaven County Orange County Mayor Kevin C. Foy Term Expires: 12/2007 Town Council Laurin Easthom Term Expires: 12/2009 Sally Greene Term Expires: 12/2007 Ed Harrison Term Expires: 12/2009 Cam Hill Term Expires: 12/2007 Mark Kleinschmidt Term Expires: 12/2009... Asheville City Hall. ... Nickname: The Windy City, The Second City, Chi Town Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in Chicagoland and Illinois Coordinates: Country United States State Illinois County Cook Incorporated March 4, 1837 Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area    - City 606. ... Flag Seal Nickname: City of Angels Location Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates , Government State County California Los Angeles County Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,290. ... Nickname: City of Brotherly Love, Philly, the Quaker City Motto: Philadelphia maneto (Let brotherly love continue) Location in Pennsylvania Coordinates: Country United States State Pennsylvania County Philadelphia Founded October 27, 1682 Incorporated October 25, 1701 Mayor John F. Street (D) Area    - City 369. ... Nickname: Gateway City, Gateway to the West, or Mound City Location in the state of Missouri Coordinates: Country United States State Missouri County Independent City Mayor Francis G. Slay (D) Area    - City 66. ... St. ... Nickname: DC, The District Motto: Justitia Omnibus (Justice for All) Location of Washington, D.C., in relation to the states Maryland and Virginia. ... Vienna is a town in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. ...


Legal challenges

The tax status of Ethical Societies as religious organizations has been upheld in court cases in Washington, D.C. (1957), and in Austin, Texas (2003). The Texas State Appeals Court said of the challenge by the state comptroller, "the Comptroller's test [requiring a group to demonstrate its belief in a A Supreme Being] fails to include the whole range of belief systems that may, in our diverse and pluralistic society, merit the First Amendment's protection." The D.C. Federal court declared, with regard to status as a religious institution, "if it looks, walks and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck." Candidates for regular freemasonry are required to declare a belief in a Supreme Being; a generic description allowing the candidate to adhere to whichever deity or concept he holds to be appropriate. ... It has been suggested that Pluralistic perspective be merged into this article or section. ... The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ... // Subfamilies Dendrocygninae Oxyurinae Anatinae Merginae For other meanings, see Duck (disambiguation). ...


References

  • Ethical Culture as Religion
  • Four Types of Religious Humanism
  • "Are we religious?" by Algernon D. Black
  • The Humanist Way: An Introduction to Ethical Humanist Religion by Edward L. Ericson - includes Einstein's remarks
  • [1] - history
  • Jewish Encyclopedia by Edward William Bennett
  • [2] - Chronology of Ethical Culture
  • Comptroller of Public Accounts v. Ethical Society of Austin[3][4], 2003.
  • Washington Ethical Society v. District of Columbia, 101 U.S. App. D.C. 371, 249 F.2d 127, 1957.

Washington Ethical Society v. ...

External links

This article incorporates text from the 1901–1906 Jewish Encyclopedia, a publication now in the public domain. Founded in Amsterdam in 1952, International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the sole world umbrella organisation [1] embracing Humanist, atheist, rationalist, secular, skeptic, Ethical Culture, freethought and similar organisations world-wide. ... The Jewish Encyclopedia was an encyclopedia originally published between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ...


 
 

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