What is Ethical Humanism?


This is the third part of an occasional series of questions and answers regarding Ethical Culture/Humanism. They were designed for school children but I have found that adults also find them useful.

15. What are the most important values of Ethical Humanism?
The four key values are compassion, thoughtfulness, equanimity and social justice.
Compassion is putting yourself in another’s place and imagining what it feels like to be that person.
Thoughtfulness means being full of thought. There are two parts to this. One is thinking for oneself. The other is thinking about other people.
Equanimity is the way we react to the world around us. It is to be steady and steadfast. It is to feel balanced and centered. It is to be assured and modest. It is to feel at home in the world.
Social justice means treating people fairly. It also means doing something to make the world a place where everyone is treated fairly.

16. Is there a difference between Ethical Culture and Ethical Humanism?
Ethical Culture is also known as Ethical Humanism. There is no difference between them except for the name.

17. Why is it called by two different names?
The first societies, founded in the late 1800’s, were called Ethical Culture. About a hundred years later, some Societies decided to change the name to Ethical Humanist.

18. Why did they decide to change the name?
Many people use the word culture to mean music and dance, so they thought that an Ethical Culture Society had something to do with the arts. So some societies thought that people would better understand the term Ethical Humanism.

19. Why did the founders choose the name Ethical Culture?
The name was chosen because ethics is something to be cultivated, the way we say that we cultivate a field to grow food. To grow corn, say, you need good soil, sunshine and rain. So ethics needs right human relations. This is rational thought, compassion and self-respect.

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One thought on “What is Ethical Humanism?

  1. Pingback: Ethics of killing | post-WAR blog

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