— Felix Adler German American professor of political and social ethics, rationalist, and lecturer 1851 - 1933
Section 9 : Ethical Outlook
Founding Address (1876), Life and Destiny (1913)
Kontext: Theologians often say that faith must come first, and that morality must be deduced from faith. We say that morality must come first, and faith, to those whose nature fits them to entertain it, will come out of the experience of a deepened moral life as its richest, choicest fruit.
Precisely because moral culture is the aim, we cannot be content merely to lift the mass of mankind above the grosser forms of evil. We must try to advance the cause of humanity by developing in ourselves, as well as in others, a higher type of manhood and womanhood than the past has known.
To aid in the evolution of a new conscience, to inject living streams of moral force into the dry veins of materialistic communities is our aim.
We seek to come into touch with the ultimate power in things, the ultimate peace in things, which yet, in any literal sense, we know well that we cannot know. We seek to become morally certain — that is, certain for moral purposes — of what is beyond the reach of demonstration. But our moral optimism must include the darkest facts that pessimism can point to, include them and transcend them.