Focus: They do what...? Byways of the charity world - The Ethical Society

Mathew Little

Atheism can be fun. It isn't all Jonathan Miller and fretting about impending personal extinction in a cold, pitiless universe. The Ethical Society, open to all "who reject supernatural creeds", organises discussions on scientific and social controversies alongside jazz appreciation, trips to the countryside and secular Sunday evening chamber concerts. The oldest "free-thought community in the world", the society was founded in 1793 by Christian nonconformists who rejected the notion of eternal hell. They then got cold feet about the Trinity before going the whole hog in 1888 and declaring that God didn't exist.

Ruling God out of the equation has meant ruling almost everything else in. Recent lecture and debate titles have included Experiences from a Hackney Psychiatric Ward, The World of Buckminster Fuller, The Ganges is Polluted: So What? and What's So Attractive About Infinity?

And after you've spent your life "cultivating the rational and humane way of life", the society will arrange your funeral for you.

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