- Picture: harvardhumanist.org
Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein led a godless church-like Sunday service at Harvard University this week.
His congregation meets regularly in attempts to build a strong secular community while utilizing what they believe to be the positive aspects of faith and religion, according to a report from CNN.
During the service songs were sung, announcements were made and the chaplain preached about the importance of building up a community. Only two dozen people actually showed up for the hour-long affair to hear Epstein speak on why he doesn't think "religion is all bad."
"My point to fellow atheists is, why do we need to paint things with such a broad brush? We can learn from the positive while learning how to get rid of the negative," said Epstein during his speech.
He began community building at Harvard around 10 years ago. He hopes redefine the word congregation with his new idea of a secular, godless version of what is found in many churches.
"We decided recently that we want to use the word congregation more and more often because that is a word that strongly evokes a certain kind of community- a really close knit, strong community that can make strong change happen in the world," he said. "It doesn't require and it doesn't even imply a specific set of beliefs about anything."
A similar service was held by former evangelical minister Jerry DeWitt recently. He left ministry after embracing atheism and is now using his pastoral experience to help build an atheist church in Baton Rouge, La.
Both men have committed to not making their services anti-religion in terms of the message and teachings.
"What we are looking at doing is different," said DeWitt. "If you are a religionist and you come and sit in our pew, the only way you can leave offended is because of what you don't hear and what you don't see. We won't be there to make a stance against religion or God."
Epstein's service also offers Sunday school for kids with biologist Tony Debono who will teach the children about evolution, DNA and cells.