Reflections: A Journal on Ethical Culture Ideas and Community Life
Edited by Joe Chuman
Reflections is an online journal providing essays of opinion on the ideas animating Ethical Culture and the enrichment of its cultural life. Each issue will invite responses on a common theme. Writers are drawn from the National Leaders’ Council of Ethical Culture and contributors from the wider Ethical Movement.
We hope you enjoy reading Reflections and it will inspire discussion about the issues it raises. We invite your comment. For May 2019, the question is:
In the historical religions, “spiritual” connoted belief in independent, incorporeal spiritual beings. God, angels, and ghosts are spiritual beings. Our own Felix Adler’s thought is replete with references to the spiritual. “The Spiritual Universe, The Spiritual Ideal,” are refrains continuously found in writings. Adler was emphatic that this usage was not metaphorical, nor was it a stand-in for deeply felt emotional experiences. While he absolutely rejected the notion of the supernatural, he did aver that there is a spiritual, non-material realm, that is constructed out of the ulterior processes of the mind. As a philosophical idealist, he affirmed that the mind creates reality, the spiritual realm is as real as anything could be.
But Ethical Culture, post-Adler, has generally moved away from Adler’s idealism to embrace various forms of naturalism, which are more comfortable with a secular world-view. Does the concept of spirituality have any relevance to contemporary Ethical Culture, and if so, how?
Click an image below to read that author’s response