Movement during the late 19th and early 20th centuries designed to further the moral or ethical factor as the real substance and fundamental part of religion.
It originated in the New York Society for Ethical Culture founded by Felix Adler in 1876. Mainly Jewish at first, it soon attracted adherents of Christian and skeptical backgrounds. It had spread to England (where the first Ethical Society was founded 1888 by Dr Stanton Colt), Germany, and other countries by the turn of the century. In 1952 the International Humanist and Ethical Union was formed, with headquarters in Utrecht, the Netherlands.