Harvard’s new chief chaplain is an atheist
– In the bestseller Good without God, Greg Epstein argues that belief in a superior being is not a prerequisite for leading a good moral life. It is also not a requirement to become chief chaplain at Harvard. Epstein, the university’s humanist chaplain since 2005, was unanimously elected to lead more than 40 chaplains serving religious communities at Harvard, the New York Times reports. The committee that elected him included a “Lutheran, a Christian Scientist, an Evangelical Christian and a Bahá’í,” said Reverend Kathleen Reed, the Lutheran chaplain. A 2019 survey of freshmen found nearly 40% identified as atheists or agnostics, and Epstein said this group still has “a real need for conversation and support about what it means to be a good human and live an ethical life “.
“The goal now is, ‘How can we provide them with a support network the same way a traditional church or congregation of any other type might provide? »He said to Crimson Harvard in 2016. In his book, Epstein – a 44-year-old man who grew up in a Jewish family and was ordained a humanist rabbi in 2005 – sought to counter the militant and confrontational atheism of figures like Richard Dawkins. The other chaplains say he was the obvious choice for the leader, despite the university’s Puritan roots. “Greg is known to want to keep the lines of communication open between different faiths,” said Margit Hammerstrom, Christian Science chaplain at Harvard. Times. (Read more stories about atheism.)