The Ethical movement, also referred to as the Ethical Culture movement, Ethical Humanism or simply Ethical Culture, is an ethical, educational, and religious movement that is usually traced back to (1851–1933). Individual chapter organizations are generically referred to as “Ethical Societies”, though their names may include “Ethical Society”, “Ethical Culture Society”, “Society for Ethical Culture”, “Ethical Humanist Society”, or other variations on the theme of “Ethical”.
The Ethical movement is an outgrowth of secular moral traditions in the 19th century, principally in Europe and the United States. While some in this movement went on to organise for a non-congregational secular humanist movement, others attempted to build a secular moral movement that was emphatically “religious” in its approach to developing humanist ethical codes, in the sense of encouraging congregational structures and religious rites and practices. While in the United States, these movements formed as separate education organisations (the American Humanist Association and the American Ethical Union), the American Ethical Union’s British equivalents, the South Place Ethical Society and the British Ethical Union consciously moved away from a congregational model to become Conway Hall and Humanists UK respectively. Subsequent “godless” congregational movements include the Sunday Assembly, whose London chapter has used Conway Hall as a venue since 2013.
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good.
– American Humanist Association
Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility. It advocates the extension of participatory democracy and the expansion of the open society, standing for human rights and social justice. Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as a part of nature and holds that values-be they religious, ethical, social, or political-have their source in human experience and culture. Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.
– The Humanist Magazine