December 23, 2012

Atheist chaplains

I came across this on the SF Gate site:
Figdor, 28, is one of a growing number of faith-free chaplains at universities, in the military and in the community who believe that nonbelievers can benefit from just about everything religion offers except God. 
They actually have atheist chaplains at Stanford and Harvard. Apparently, they make themselves available to students who don't believe in god, to help them address emotional problems such as stress or a death in the family. They also provide a source for discussions about the meaning of life, and try to instill a sense of community among atheist students. And it's all done with a broad humanist hand.

Here's a bit more from the article:
In humanism, "we emphasize the values of compassion and empathy alongside reason and science," [Figdor] said. "Humanism is about using science and technology to solve human problems. But it's also the belief that we should ask if something will create suffering or ameliorate it."
Though I'm not keen on the word "chaplain", this sounds like it's being done in a sensible, helpful manner. By Jove, I think I like it! Here's a final snippet to send you on your way:
And hymns?
Figdor offered two: John Lennon's "Imagine," of course, and anything by a certain punk band whose lead singer, Greg Graffin, wrote his doctoral dissertation on evolution at Cornell University.

The band is called Bad Religion.

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