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Old 04-23-2006, 05:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
abaya's Avatar
 
Location: Iceland
Ethical Culture Movement

Has anyone heard of the Ethical Culture Movement, or are you a member of this society? I had never heard of it before, but have been browsing some websites and came across this one:

http://www.aeu.org

It catches my interest because it is a specifically non-theistic, secular-humanist type of group that still considers itself to be spiritual, and still respects other faiths. Here is their "vision," from the website... keep in mind this group has been around for over a 100 years, and they have chapters in most major cities.

Quote:
An Ethical Society is a community of individuals dedicated to making our lives and our world more humane, more ethical;

Dedicated to the ideal that every human being has worth and dignity, and committed to a reverence for this world and all life.

Searching for a better understanding of how the world actually is, what potentials exist, and what yet must be done to build a better life: through analysis and critique of social and personal conditions, through creative inquiry for realistic solutions to heal pain, reduce suffering, and add to hope,
and through actively testing our conclusions in the world by our own experience and the experience of others.

Committed in these tasks to the fullest use of our reason and compassion,
and willing to accept responsibility to act on our best thoughts and feelings,
recognizing that our actions and failures to act affect our lives and those around us;

Knowing that building the good and the true is far more important, interesting and useful than to focus on whether we believe or disbelieve in certain philosophical or metaphysical or religious ideas, instead welcoming our diversity of thought as a strength to further individual and community maturity.

For this community, this is our common vision, the faith by which we strive to live.
I can't find much to argue with in their "vision." I mean, part of me thinks it could be kinda hokey/watered own, but if I set my cynicism aside... why not? I read all these studies for my work that say going to church and having a religious life improves people's quality of life, increases social networks, and betters your mental health... but these studies never leave much room for atheists and those who don't want to subscribe to a religion for their own reasons. I believe there ought to be a communal substitute for going to church with a mainstream religion and having to sign up for all that jazz (well, the TFP is a pretty good one, actually)... this seems like a decent alternative.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-24-2006, 05:46 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Never heard of it here.

It looks and sounds ok. This seems roughly equivalent to humanism I think. Perhaps a philosophy type could help me on that...

I just check "humanist" on wikipedia, and it had some interesting links also. What I'd be curious about is how this group differs from them.
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Old 04-24-2006, 12:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Fascinating. I've never come across that one.

Sounds similar to Unitarian Universalists. But that in itself is simply a religion that accepts all beliefs or lack thereof. A social network of moral people, basically. They do have weekly devotionals, though, that resemble worship services.
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Old 04-24-2006, 02:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Location: Iceland
Thanks for the replies, guys... I guess it's really not well known, since a lot of TFP'ers have passed by this thread without posting.

It does seem to have a lot in common with humanism, though they seem to overlap in certain ways (rather than be copies of each other). There is something on their website about this... I'll look for it later.

Yeah, it is also similar to the Unitarian Universalists... but this group is distinctly NON-theistic. So basically belief in any kind of deity is irrelevant to the community; they are just a group of ethical people that gets together on a regular basis. A kind of church for atheists and others who still wouldn't fit in even the most liberal of "churches."
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Old 04-27-2006, 04:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
It's a neat sort of idea.

I remember checking up on religion many years back. While I like the ethical/moral aspects of religion, "faith" based stuff bothers me immensly.

So potentially, non-religious ethical/moral groups provide a forum (I would think) through which people of these views can agitate for a particular society/world.
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Old 04-27-2006, 05:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Whats the point though?

Reading through much of the website it was sort of a 'ok and?' moment.

Example.

Quote:
The American Ethical Union, at delegated national assemblies and at meetings of our elected national board, has taken positions on a number of issues attempting to apply our ideals to current issues.

Members are not required to agree with these positions; in addition to active projects, local Societies sponsor discussion groups, Sunday platform addresses and other educational and discussion forums for exploring ethical ideas from many perspectives.
Ok tolerance for different points of view, great, but are you all working for this 'ethical society' or just talking about it?

Its a very mild 'we like these laws' and 'we like to talk about being ethical'.

Nothing wrong with it, but its the kinda thing where I expect to find pseudo intellectuals thinking they have the answers to all the worlds problems, talking with other pseudo intellectuals who think they have all the answers and doing really nothing.
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Old 04-27-2006, 02:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Location: Iceland
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ustwo
Nothing wrong with it, but its the kinda thing where I expect to find pseudo intellectuals thinking they have the answers to all the worlds problems, talking with other pseudo intellectuals who think they have all the answers and doing really nothing.
... you mean, like the TFP? (I know I am just as guilty as the rest.)

But I agree, Ustwo. When I read through the websites, I was relieved to simply see a community-gathering of people who didn't necessarily believe in God... and yet, nothing grabbed me and said, "You KNOW you want to join us!!" It just seemed kinda... boring. Still, I liked it better than the idea of an exclusively theistic community.
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