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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.

Dr. Felix AdlerFounding Address

Who We Are

Founded in 1876 by philosopher and educator Dr. Felix Adler, The New York Society for Ethical Culture is a non-theistic, Humanist community dedicated to ethical relationships, social justice, and democracy.

As the founding institution of the Ethical Movement and a cornerstone of Progressivism in New York City, the Society’s members put deed before creed and ethics in action to educate, advocate, and organize to end racism, poverty, and war; abolish the death penalty and mass incarceration; guarantee reproductive freedom; welcome refugees and immigrants; fight climate change and pollution; and more.

What Is Ethical Culture?

Ethical Culture is a Humanist religion to some, and philosophy to others, 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 pursuing social justice, environmental stewardship, and engaging in democratic citizenship.

As an Ethical Community we are all part of something that transcends the individual experience, and we are enriched through our relationships with others.  As such, we have responsibilities to each other, to the Society, and to our community.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ethical Culture a religion?

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.

Is Ethical Culture considered a religion by all its members?

No, since some members associate the word “religion” with creeds, doctrines, sectarianism, and the supernatural. For them, Ethical Culture is a fellowship or life-stance based upon a philosophy of living, emphasizing education, growth, and social service with the purpose of helping people live better lives.

Does Ethical Culture accept the idea of a god?

Ethical Culture is non-theistic and humanist in emphasis, and members are not committed to any theology. We leave belief in a deity up to the individual.

I am a member of a religious group. May I still become a member of Ethical Culture?

Absolutely! Many Society Members are also members of religious congregations and are comfortable being part of both. We eagerly build bonds between congregations and work to take action together in pursuit of our shared values.

Our Affiliations

American Ethical Union (AEU)

Founded in 1893, the American Ethical Union is a federation of the Ethical Culture Societies nationwide. Its mission is to create, nurture, and inspire Ethical Humanist communities so as to foster a world that is democratic, compassionate, just, and sustainable. It helps the Societies share skills and pool services and it certifies professional Leaders who serve the various communities. Among the programs of the AEU are the following:

National Ethical Service – One of the oldest non-governmental organizations registered with the United Nations, the NES collaborates with other non-profits and faith organizations to foster a culture of ethics and peace at the United Nations.

Youth of Ethical SocietiesYES is an activity that affords an opportunity for high school students within the membership of Ethical Societies nationwide to meet, explore and discover together. They typically meet annually at a different location each year for a conference.

Future of Ethical SocietiesFES is a community of those aged 18 to 26 who are associated with, or who grew up in, Ethical Societies nationwide. It is a self-governing group that offers community and fellowship for young adults in Ethical Culture.

Ethical Culture/Ethical Humanist Societies – There are 23 Ethical Societies around the United States. Each Society is a self-governing community and welcomes visitors who are interested in learning more about the Ethical Culture programs and events.

Click Here to Find Your Nearest Ethical Society
Humanists International (Formerly International and Humanist Ethical Union)

Formerly the International Humanist and Ethical Union, Humanists International is an umbrella organization of humanist, atheist, rationalist, secular, skeptic, freethought and Ethical Culture organizations throughout the world. It was founded in 1952 by the American Ethical Union in collaboration with the American Humanist Association, the British Humanist Association and the Vienna Ethical Society. HI works to build and represent the global Ethical Humanist movement that defends human rights and promotes Humanist values worldwide. There are currently 125 member organizations from 47 countries.

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