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Ethical Culture.

Movement begun 1876 when F. Adler* founded the New York Soc. for Ethical Culture, based on 3 assumptions: sex, purity, and the principle of devoting the surplus of one's income beyond that required for one's own needs to the elevation of the working classes and continued intellectual development. He called the soc. the new religion of humanity, whose heaven is on earth, whose god is the good, and whose ch. is the universe. The soc. approached religion from the practical moral standpoint and encouraged its adherents to live a good life by following the dictates of duty. The movement declared its indep. of all creeds, called for deed rather than creed, and required of its mems. only recognition of the ethical aim as the highest goal of life.

Ethical culture socs. were organized in Chicago 1882, Philadelphia 1885, St. Louis 1886, Brooklyn 1906. Other socs. and fellowship groups were est. elsewhere in Am. The Am. Ethical Union was formed in the late 1880s; its organ: Ethical Culture Today.

Socs. were est. in Ger., Fr., It., Eng., Austria, Japan, Switz., India, New Zealand, and other countries. The Internat. Union of Socs. for Ethical Culture was est. 1896 but survived among Eur. nations only in Eng. The Internat. Humanist and Ethical Union was formed 1952 in Amsterdam.

Stress is laid on moral instruction of the young. Ethical culture schools open to all were est. in NYC Ethical culture socs. have been active also in soc. reform.

Services include music, inspirational readings, meditations (instead of prayer), and addresses.

After Adler's death John Lovejoy Elliott (1868–1942) was sr. leader of the New York soc. After Elliott's death it was headed by 5 leaders.

See Religious Bodies (US), Bibliography of.


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod


Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

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