Myths and Ethics

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Prof. Gilbert Murray
Professor Gilbert Murray (1866 – 1957)
Professor James Alexander Kerr Thomson
Professor James Alexander Kerr Thomson (1879 – 1959)
Conway Memorial Lecture
Conway Memorial Lecture
Moncure Conway photo by Edward Steichen, 1907. Courtesy of Dickinson College.
Moncure Conway photo by Edward Steichen, 1907. Courtesy of Dickinson College.
Delivered at Conway Hall 19 March 1944. Chaired by Professor J A K Thomson and presented by Professor Gilbert Murray.
Abstract

Humanism can be defined as a commitment to truth, in the realm of thought, and to the human race, in the realm of action. Hence humanism is characterised by mercifulness, rationality, generosity, sensitivity and altruism. It displays these qualities in its efforts to raise life to a higher moral level and to redeem the world from its misery.

Unfortunately, the values of veracity and humaneness have been seriously undermined in the modern world mainly because of war and revolution. These values inform much religious as well as humanist thought; but in religion they are entangled with myths, allegories, metaphors and dogmas. By disentangling them from myth, the best in religion can be allied to the best in humanism.

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