Monday, October 17, 2011

Atheists Crave Church Fellowship, but Absent God

On Sundays, Harvard University’s humanist chaplain, Greg Epstein, leads a non-church for the irreligious focused on meditation, lively philosophical discussion, and of course, potluck meals.
The "church's" orator this week made jokes intended to offend, but said, “So no jokes about anal sex. Certainly no jokes about performing fellatio. Sodomy!”
For background, read New Massachusetts 'Church' With No God

UPDATE 1/29/12: Atheist Proposes Godless Religion, with Sermons

UPDATE 12/14/11: Atheists Find Agreeable Churches Good for Family

-- From "Nonbelievers striving for humanist connections" by Mary Carmichael, Boston Globe Staff 10/17/11

On Saturday, at a ceremony featuring Seth MacFarlane - creator of [TV's] "Family Guy" and official Harvard Humanist of the Year - Epstein launched a nationwide network of groups like his, designed to offer atheists the fellowship and ceremony of churchgoing without any belief in the transcendent.

The need for such communities may be especially acute on today’s college campuses. Millennials are the least religious generation in recent history. According to the Pew Research Center, fully one-fourth of adults under 30 describe themselves as atheist, agnostic, or "nothing in particular" - and many are floundering as they search for purpose.

"There’s a huge community of college-aged people who call themselves ‘spiritual but not religious,’" said Victor Kazanjian, dean of intercultural education and religious and spiritual life at Wellesley College. "They don’t have an organized community in which to belong and in which to ask questions of meaning."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "'Family Guy' Creator Receives Humanist Award" by Justin C. Worland, Staff Writer, The Harvard Crimson 10/17/11

Heralded by a live rendition of the theme from Family Guy, Seth W. MacFarlane, the show’s creator, took a swig of what appeared to be alcohol in front of a packed audience at Memorial Church this Saturday.

“This is kind of hilarious doing this in a church. [I’ll just] take communion here,” said MacFarlane, who was accepting the fifth-annual Harvard Humanist of the Year Award [sponsored by the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy].

His speech, which delivered religious punch line after punch line, addressed what he described as the corrupting influence of religion in today’s society. His address supported Humanism as an alternative to traditional religion.

Underlying MacFarlane’s argument was the notion that religion is no longer necessary to keep society intact. Instead, he said, people should turn to reason and science to uphold moral values.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Excerpts from a bio of Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain

Greg M. Epstein . . . is author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe. He sits on the executive committee of the 36-member corps Harvard Chaplains. In 2005 he received ordination as a Humanist Rabbi from the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, where he studied in Jerusalem and Michigan for five years. He holds a BA (Religion and Chinese) and an MA (Judaic Studies) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Masters of Theological Studies from the Harvard Divinity School.

Epstein was the primary organizer of “The New Humanism,” an international conference in honor of the 30th anniversary of the Humanist Chaplaincy of Harvard University. . . . He also chairs the Advisory Board of the national umbrella organization the Secular Student Alliance, joining such renowned nonbelievers as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.

Greg grew up in Flushing, Queens, New York as an assimilated and disinterested Reform Jew.

To read the entire bio above, CLICK HERE.