Monday, December 21, 2009

Humanist Chaplains in Higher Education

Inside Higher Education has a write-up about humanist chaplains in higher education. Take a look. Here's a snippet:
Only Harvard University, Rutgers University, and Adelphi University retain humanist chaplains, according to Harvard’s Greg Epstein. Stanford University and Columbia University have had them in past years, Epstein said, but the positions are currently vacant.

Epstein, who grew up Reformed Jewish and studied Buddhism and Taoism before becoming certified as a "humanist rabbi" by the Harvard Divinity School, said the paucity of Humanist chaplains on college campuses is a shame.

“Right now, higher education is failing miserably to provide a place on campus where non-religious students can find purpose, compassion, and community,” Epstein says.

“A lot of students come to campus knowing they’re not religious, but also not knowing what they do believe,” says. The opportunities for discussion, meditation, and service that grow out a chaplaincy “help them learn more about the positive aspects of their identity,” he says, “not just what they don’t believe in.”

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