(New York) An atheist has been elected president of Harvard Chapelins, the first for this prestigious American university founded by Puritan settlers near Boston.
Greg Epstein, 44, announced his election on his Twitter account Thursday, saying he was “gratified and honored” with the appointment.
Epstein, Harvard’s “humanist chaplain” since 2005, will chair an organization of more than 40 people representing nearly two dozen religions, beliefs, and spiritual movements.
A 2019 survey showed that 21% of Harvard students said they were atheists (refusing to comment on the existence of a god) and 16% atheists (no belief in a god), compared to 17% Protestants, 17% Catholics and 10% Jews.
“There are a growing number of people who no longer identify with a religious tradition, but who still really need discussion and support about what it means to be a good human being and to live an ethical life,” Gregg says. York Times on Friday.
“We don’t look to a God for answers, we each have the answers,” he says, explaining his role as a humanitarian chaplain.
According to a 2019 Pew Research Center study, the United States remains a predominantly Christian country with 43% Protestant and 20% Catholic.
But nearly a quarter of those surveyed (26%) say they are not affiliated with any religion or declare themselves atheist or religious neutral, up from 17% in 2009.
Greg Epstein, born into a Jewish family in New York, is the author of Good Without God (untranslated). Since 2018, he has also been a humanitarian chaplain at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the other major university in suburban Boston.
Founded in 1636 to train Protestant clergy, Harvard University is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States.
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