“Believe or disbelieve as you want. We shall at all times honor every honest conviction, but be one with us where there is nothing to divide; in action. Diversity in the creed, unanimity in the deed. This is that practical religion from which none can dissent. This is that platform broad enough and strong enough for the worshipper and for the infidel. This is that common ground where we may clasp hands as brothers and sisters united in humanity’s common cause.” -Felix Adler, Founding Address
The New York Society for Ethical Culture (NYSEC/Ethical NYC) is the cornerstone of the Ethical Movement, founded in 1876 by Dr. Felix Adler. Throughout our history we have helped create significant community institutions that have had a long-lasting effect in promoting civil society.
What We Believe
Ethical Culture is a religion centered on ethics, not theology, whose mission is to encourage respect for humanity and nature and to create a better world. Members are committed to personal ethical development in their relationships with others and in activities involving social justice and environmental stewardship.
We believe all individuals have inherent worth and dignity, the potential to grow and change, a responsibility to strive for ethical growth, and a responsibility to create a better world.
As an Ethical Community we are all part of something that transcends the individual experience and are enriched through our relationships with others. As such, we have responsibilities to each other, to the Society, and to the community.
American Ethical Union
Established in 1893, the American Ethical Union (AEU) is the overarching organization of the Ethical Culture Movement, a federation of Ethical Societies that creates, nurtures, and inspires ethical humanist communities to foster a world that is democratic, compassionate, just, and sustainable. Ethical Action is an expression of our core commitments to honor the worth of all people, cultivate relationships, and build justice. We work together to bring out the best in others and ourselves, enhancing everyone’s unique capability and responsibility to contribute to a more humane world. AEU is headquartered at NYSEC, on our fourth floor.
Formerly the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), Humanists International is an umbrella organization of humanist, atheist, rationalist, secular, skeptic, freethought and Ethical Culture organizations throughout the world (currently 125 member organizations from 47 countries), founded in 1952. HI works to build and represent the global Ethical Humanist movement that defends human rights and promotes Humanist values worldwide.
- Empire State Pride Agenda/Pride in the Pulpit
- Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing
- National Religious Campaign Against Torture
- NYC Justice for Juveniles Coalition
- NYC Grassroots Alliance
- NYS Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform
- Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP)
- Reasonable New York
Frequently Asked Questions
For those who view religion as a set of values to which people are committed and in terms of which they find a faith to live by, Ethical Culture is considered a religion.
Some members associate the word “religion” with creeds and sectarianism. For them, Ethical Culture is a fellowship based upon a philosophy of life, emphasizing education, growth, and social service with the purpose of helping people live better lives.
Ethical Culture is nontheistic and humanist in emphasis and members are not committed to any theology. We leave belief in a deity up to the individual.