The Ethical Culture Movement was founded in the late 19th century by Felix Adler and represents one of the first successful attempts to organize a community around secular values. Today, there are a network of Ethical Societies which stem from the Ethical Cultural Movement; in the United States, the American Ethical Union is a national organization with chapters around the country.
Abu Bakr al-Razi (865-926 CE) was a Persian doctor, philosopher, chemist, and humanitarian who, despite his agnosticism and belief that all religions were created by man, was well known and beloved in the early Muslim world.
Religious humanism draws upon the rites and communal aspects of religion while maintaining secular values and a rejection of theism and the supernatural. Oasis, a growing community in Houston, Texas is one example of “atheist churches” in the United States.
Sam Harris (1967-) is a prolific author and co-founder and CEO of Project Reason. His most well known books include The End of Faith (2004), Letter to a Christian Nation (2006), The Moral Landscape (2010), and Free Will (2012). Harris was educated in philosophy at Stanford University and has a PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA.
An organization that aims to “foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.” Founded by Paul Kurtz and headquartered in Amherst, New York, CFI has branches across the United States and around the world.
Ernestine Rose (1810-1892 CE) was an abolitionist and atheist feminist, the daughter of a Polish rabbi. At the age of sixteen she won a case against her father who insisted that she marry a man he chose for her; after the ruling, she left Poland and lived in England then settled in the United States where she established herself as well known and major intellectual figure in the 19th century struggles for women’s rights.
A groundbreaking work on evolutionary biology published by Charles Darwin in 1859. It became—and remains—controversial among those who maintain a literal translation of the biblical seven-day creation myth.
Greg Epstein (1977-) is the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, a leader in the founding of the Harvard Humanist Community Project, and author of Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe (2009). In 2005, Epstein was ordained as a Humanist Rabbi by the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism and has earned degrees from the University of Michigan and Harvard Divinity School.