Sunday, March 22, 2009

New Massachusetts 'Church' With No God

" . . . there is broader acceptance of those with no faith, as indicated by President Barack Obama's mention of 'non-believers' in his inaugural address."

-- From "The humanist congregation" by Jay Lindsay, The Associated Press 3/21/09

The monthly schedule is church-like, with its parenting classes, guest speakers and small group meetings to hash out shared beliefs. But God isn't part of this Cambridge congregation.

Greg Epstein, the humanist chaplain at Harvard University, is building a God-free model of community that he hopes helps humanists increase in numbers and influence.

Epstein sees potential in research showing that there are more people with no religion. In the latest American Religious Identification Survey, released this month, 15 per cent of respondents in 2008 said they had no religion, compared to 8.2 per cent in 1990. Epstein believes that group includes large numbers of people who are humanist, but have never identified themselves that way and can be reached.

Epstein wants to plant local humanist centres nationwide that perform many of the community-building functions of a church, only in service of the humanist creed.

While many humanists reject anything that hints at organized religion, Epstein is freely borrowing from it -- from the "small group" format familiar in evangelical churches to calling his group a "congregation."

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.