John Figdor Appointed as Atheist Chaplain at Stanford
There's an atheist chaplain at Stanford. This is good news. John Figdor has a degree from Harvard Divinity School and he does what chaplains do. He counsels those in need and visits the sick. And what's more, he's welcomed as part of the Office of Religious Life. I found this news very encouraging, if a bit confusing. His appointment not only broadens the conversation about "belief" and "unbelief" but also exposes the confusion at the heart of that conversation. We are often talking at cross-purposes. As Figdor points out, "Atheist, agnostic and humanist students suffer the same problems as religious students - deaths or illnesses in the family, questions about the meaning of life, etc. - and would like a sympathetic nontheist to talk to." Evidently he's part of a growing number of "faith-free" chaplains at universities. All the benefits of religion without the god bit. And here's where the...
Religion and science are locked in an Armageddon struggle. Why? Because religion essentially involves submission and enslavement. He asks, almost wistfully, "surely there exist ways to find spiritual fulfillment without surrender and enslavement? Humankind deserves better." Mind you, religious beliefs were once "useful" -- giving courage and comfort and the source of the creative arts -- but now "they are stultifying and divisive . . . they encourage ignorance, distract people from recognizing problems in the real world . . . Commitment to a particular faith is by definition religious bigotry." The only sane strategy is to repudiate all those who claim to speak for God
"...but now they are stultifying and divisive."
Well, he's not wrong, I guess, because there is so much infighting within tje Christian community. We should be as one unified group instead of being seperated by denominations with each one claiming to be the way.
."...athiest Chaplain at Stanford.", ..."a faithless Chaplain"...would these phrases qualify as oxymorons?