For well more than a century freethinkers, and religious skeptics, have gathered, talked and participated in various forms of social interaction without any expression of formal religion. In 1882 the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago was founded to provide a meeting and fellowship for just such a gathering.
The Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago describes itself as a democratic fellowship and spiritual home for those who seek a rational, compassionate philosophy of life without regard to belief or non-belief in a supreme being. According to their website they value “the importance of living an ethical, responsible, and joyful life [and] promote intellectual, philosophical, and artistic freedom, avoiding dogma and rigid creed.” They also say of themselves: “While respectful of the faiths and traditions we have been born to, we serve as a new religion or as an alternative to religion.” A full-blown description can be seen on their very attractive website.
A new movement, similar in many ways, began in January a year ago in London and now already has over thirty meeting places in the United States. This