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There Is Something REALLY Unsettling About Harvard’s New Head Chaplain!

According to the New York Times, the new chief chaplain at Harvard University is an atheist.

The Details

Author Greg Epstein is the 44-year-old writer of “Good Without God” and he is now the Harvard Crimson’s new chaplain, and part of his responsbilities will include “coordinating the activities of more than 40 university chaplains who lead the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and other religious communities on campus.”

Epstein said the following about his new appointment: “There is a rising group of people who no longer identify with any religious tradition but still experience a real need for conversation and support around what it means to be a good human and live an ethical life.”

Epstein was raised in a Jewish household, and he has been the university’s “humanist chaplain” since 2005. In that role, he educated students on how to center their relationships around themselves and each other rather than on any type of higher power.

In short, Epstein believes that people should not look to any type of higher power for answers because “we are each other’s answers.”

Students all over the Harvard campus are lauding Epstein’s appointment, even though it is very unsettling that he is the Christian chaplain even though he is an atheist. That would certain appear to be a contradiction in terms.

“Greg’s leadership isn’t about theology,” one student said. “It’s about cooperation between people of different faiths and bringing together people who wouldn’t normally consider themselves religious.”

The report also notes that some of Epstein’s duties will include hosting dinners for undergraduate students where topics such as “what is the meaning of life?” and “Does God exist?” will be discussed.

Perhaps another unsettling aspect of his promotion would have to be the fact that he is going to be coordinating the activities of the more than 40 chaplains who are going to be leading various faith groups on campus.
What else?

Last Thursday, Epstein tweeted about the news, tweeting, “I’m obliged and honored to share personal news: I’ve been elected president of my @HarvardChaplain colleagues, and the brilliant @emmabgo wrote about it for the @nytimes. I am going to add a thread here, later today.”

A look at Epstein’s personal biography page reveals some of his personal areas of interest, including “ethics in technology, meaning and purpose behind religion, existentialism and humanism in literature and popular culture, developing healthy masculinity from a feminist perspective, secular humanistic Judaism, racial justice and healing, and the philosophy and practice of interfaith work.”

Epstein has been described as a “godfather to the humanist movement” by the New York Times Magazine, and he was named “one of the top faith and moral leaders in the United States” by Faithful Internet, a project that was coordinated by the United Church of Christ, along with assistance from the Stanford Law Center for Internet and Society, for the efforts he has taken to be diplomatic and bring together atheists, allies, and agnostics, “as part of an ever-involving ethical tradition that can be called humanism. This is why “Greg believes deeply in a changing world where faith in humankind has become more difficult to maintain, it is more important than ever to fight for our common humanity, and for each other.”

This is all well and good, but here’s a novel idea for you all: how about Harvard picking a head chaplain that ACTUALLY BELIEVES in a higher power?

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