Recordings of Sunday Platform addresses
Ethical Culture founder Felix Adler’s early idealism was, to a large extent, superceded in the following century by philosophies of naturalism and pragmatism. What does that transition really mean to most of us? Some faith traditions root their authenticity, and base their practices, on authoritative tests. Ethical culture faith rests on a combined study of philosophy, ethics and science. From whence come our religious authenticity and authority? On what basis do we form our traditions and practices? Leader Anne Klaeysen examines the shift from an ideal or perfectibility to a concept of wholeness and asks the question: “How much is good enough?”
Anne Klaeysen is Leader of the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island. She is a graduate of the Humanist Institute and holds Masters degree in German from the State University of New York at Albany and Business Administration from New York University. This spring Anne will complete work towards a Doctor of Ministry from Hebrew Union College in New York City.
The guiding religious and ethical principle in ancient Egypt was centered around the role of harmony. The issue of ecology is essentially an ethical and religious issue of creating and maintaining a harmonious relationship with all of life. Reinhold Niebuhr defined evil as “the assertion of some self-interest without regard to the whole, whether the whole be conceived as the immediate community or the total community of humankind, or the total order of the world”. In ancient Egypt it was the people’s role to keep the world harmonious. What demand is the earth making on us today, what principles might guide us in fulfilling our role as stewards, and what benefits might come to us by being our best selves in relation to the earth?
Cultures all live with myths and symbols. What signifies a symbol and what are the traits it embodies and the role it plays? They point beyond themselves and participate with that to which they point. They open up levels of reality and the self otherwise unobtainable. Yet they cannot be intentionally produced and they have a limited lifespan. But can we live without them?
“Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.”
“One of the functions of mythology is supporting and validating the moral order of a certain given society. Well, what’s your group? What’s the society with which you associate? …. Are you hanging onto something from the third millennium BC or can you accept this challenge of the present moment? Open up and don’t be afraid to let down the walls and let your neighbor in, so that you aren’t defending yourself and your crowd against another system.”
– Joseph Campbell
“In fact, words are well adapted for description and the arousing of emotion, but for many kinds of precise thought other symbols are much better.”
– John Haldane
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