Who We Are

The Ethical Society of St. Louis is a Humanist congregation, a place where people come together to explore the biggest questions of life without reference to scripture, religion, or God. We meet on Sunday mornings at 11am for Platform (our equivalent of a church service), and have many other programs throughout the week. We welcome Humanists, agnostics and atheists, as well as people from various religious backgrounds. We come together to celebrate our journey through life and affirm our ability to live ethical lives without traditional religious beliefs.

Image of the Ethical Society of St. Louis building
Our Beliefs

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

We affirm the equal dignity and worth of all people. We therefore reject racism; sexism; classism; ableism; homo-, trans-, and queer-phobia; and any other system that demeans or denigrates any person. We promote compassion for all people, all the time.

We celebrate human reason and experience as the only reliable route to knowledge. We believe that if we are going to understand something, it will be through the collective efforts of the human species. We reject revelation and tradition as a source of knowledge.

We believe that positive change will only come about through human efforts. We must take responsibility for ourselves. All the great challenges the human species faces—climate change, huge inequality, political dysfunction—are our own problems to solve and we can do it if we work together.

As a nontheistic congregation, we do not reference gods or traditional religious beliefs in our programs. Our members are free to believe what they like about the supernatural: we foster free religious thought and do not promote any dogma. Our goal is to help answer the ultimate questions, "How can we create meaningfulness in this life?" and "How should we treat each other?"

Our Mission

To inspire ethical living in a Humanist-centered congregation by affirming the worth of every person and advocating the primacy of ethical behavior above any religious creed.

Our Statement of Purpose

We are a diverse, ethics-centered community of caring people dedicated to deed before creed. We believe in:

  • Bringing out the best in the human spirit
  • Appreciating the uniqueness and worth of every person
  • Treating all with dignity and respect
  • Cultivating a community of people who support each other through the stages of life
  • Raising the quality of all our relationships
  • Acting with reverence and commitment toward the natural world
  • Working to create a more just, loving and sustainable world for all

We seek members who embrace these ideals, and we actively pursue and welcome a diverse membership.

  • The American Ethical Union is a federation of Ethical Societies. It promotes the growth of the Ethical Culture movement by supporting existing Ethical Societies and fostering new ones. The American Ethical Union is a religious, educational, cultural and social justice organization.
  • The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) is the world union of over 100 Humanist, rationalist, secular, Ethical Culture, atheist, and freethought organizations in more than 40 countries. IHEU represents and supports the global Humanist movement.
  • The American Humanist Association represents Humanists and Humanism in the USA. It has stood as a voice of Humanism in the United States for over 70 years.
  • The Greater St. Louis Coalition of Reason is a group of member organizations in St. Louis united by a rational perspective.

Our community is built around shared values. We affirm the equal dignity of every person, celebrate human reason as the source of our knowledge, and believe that all change for the better comes when people work together to improve the world.