Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Spiritual Guidance for Atheists

 by Bennett Gordon


Tags: Spirituality, atheists, agnostics, Tufts, Inside Higher Education,

Spirituality CollegeWhere do atheists, agnostics, and non-religious people turn for spiritual guidance? At Tufts University, non-religious students think they should have their own “humanist chaplain,” the same way that schools enlist Jewish, Christian, or Muslim teachers for their students.

“The current chaplaincies just don’t address the needs of [non-religious students],” Xavier Malina, president of the Tufts Freethought Society, told Inside Higher Education. “A lot of students might want spiritual guidance but don’t feel comfortable going to the available chaplains on campus, [who] might not satisfy their spiritual needs.”

Harvard University, Rutgers University, and Adelphi University all currently retain humanist chaplains, according to Inside Higher Education, though some people take issue with the entire idea. Don Brewington, president of the National Association of College and University Chaplains, told the magazine that providing non-religious students with guidance seemed valid. But describing humanist guidance as “spiritual,” according to Brewington, “seems to be somewhat contradictory.”

Source: Inside Higher Education 

Image by Elephant Wearing Striped Pants, licensed under Creative Commons.

richard d. stacy
11/17/2009 2:52:30 PM

I don't think that atheists and agnostics should be lumped together. Atheists do not believe in any deity, whereas agnostics do not know if there is a deity, or deities, or not and generally opine that no one really knows.


melinda
11/17/2009 1:46:22 PM

Why not have more Unitarian Universalist chaplains instead? This religious path is a natural for people of all faiths, including humanists and atheists.