Northern Virginia Ethical Society

"Act so as to bring out the best in others, and thereby in yourself"
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In Search of an Ethical Identity

(The following statement was printed in the July-August 1994 edition of the NoVES Ethical Society News, and represents an effort on the part of NoVES members to define our commitments.)

We are a religious and educational fellowship uniting people whose central spiritual concerns are with how to improve the quality of life.

We believe that this can be done by trying to live one’s life in accordance with ethical ideals -– that this effort is the foundation for building quality relationships and a more humane society.

While we respect the right and responsibility of each individual to determine his or her own ethical values, we are united by certain core beliefs. We affirm the intrinsic worth and dignity of every human being. We believe that, by working to bring out the best in others, we bring out the best in ourselves.

We affirm that human beings are capable of and responsible for creating a better and more humane world for all. To this end, and because of our commitment to all that is ethical, we strive to be agents of change in the personal, community and global environment. However, we respect the right of each member to decide how to make these efforts.

We are humanistic in the sense that we focus on human well-being. In keeping this focus, we are theologically neutral, with each member free to make up his or her own mind about the existence of a deity.

We support an open exploration of paths to more meaningful life, using all human faculties, including reason, emotion, empathy and appreciation of beauty. However, we believe that this exploration must acknowledge that human beings are embedded in a web of life, and that our ethical responsibility extends to all living things.

Our ethical growth is enhanced by belonging to the NoVES community. We go through life together – sharing each other’s joys, supporting each other in times of crisis, and celebrating life’s milestones through personal and seasonal ceremonies.

We provide an environment in which people can explore the meaning of spirituality in a humanistic context, and which appreciates the positive contributions of diverse peoples and cultures.

We view education as a life-long challenge, and offer educational programs for both adults and children that provide a framework for making ethical choices.

Finally, because shared decision-making embodies respect for each person’s worth and dignity, we support democratic processes in our own fellowship and in the world.

We invite all those who share our belief in the paramount importance of ethics to join with us in our efforts toward building a more humane society.