Atheism is on the rise and atheists are starting to organize. In an effort to organize in a more effective way than religious communities, the Harvard Humanists are partnering up with the American Humanist Association to form the “Humanist Community Project.”
Yesterday, I spoke with Greg Epstein, the head of the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard about the project. According to Epstein, the project will be a three year endeavor designed to study, interconnect, and promote ways that humanists, atheists, and agnostics are building communities.
Epstein states that religions are very complex and serve many purposes. Atheists can’t simply solve the problem of belief. Religions are beliefs plus practices and values. The idea is to find what is useful about religion and to do it better without religion. In this way atheists and humanists can create an alternative to religion by building strong communities of non-believers.
The research has already begun and the Humanist Community Project is studying local non-theist communities and entrepreneurs who are already engaged in service projects, Sunday assemblies, and family and children’s programing, etc. Epstein is seeking recommendations for leaders, entrepreneurs, and local group programs within the non-theist community that might be worthy of study. One example he mentioned is the work that Amanda Brown of We Are Atheism recently did by helping to raise $28,000 for those affected by the Sandy Hook School shooting.
Along with fellow Harvard Humanist James Croft, Epstein will also be writing a book based on the research being done by the Humanist Community Project. They also plan to institute a fellows program to help network potential community leaders with various resources and with each other as well as create a strong community around shared secular and humanist values rather than just being seen as anti-religious.
Find out more about the Humanist Community Project at HarvardHumanist.org.
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