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New chief chaplain at Harvard University is an atheist

Photo by Mark Peterson/Corbis via Getty Images

The new chief chaplain at Harvard University is an atheist, the New York Times reported.

What are the details?

Author Greg Epstein, the 44-year-old writer of "Good Without God," is the Ivy League university's new chaplain and will "coordinate the activities of more than 40 university chaplains who lead the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and other religious communities on campus."

Epstein said of his appointment, "There is a rising group of people who no longer identify with any religious tradition but still experience a real need for conversation and support around what it means to be a good human and live an ethical life."

Epstein, who was raised in a Jewish household, has been the university's "humanist chaplain" since 2005 and previously educated students on how to center their relationships around themselves and one another rather than with God.

Epstein says that people ought not look to God for answers because "we are each other's answers."

Students, according to the outlet, are mainly lauding Epstein's appointment.

"Greg's leadership isn't about theology," one student said. "It's about cooperation between people of different faiths and bringing together people who wouldn't normally consider themselves religious."

According to the report, Epstein's duties include hosting dinners for undergraduates where topics such as "Does God exist?" and "What is the meaning of life?" are discussed.

He will also coordinate activities of more than 40 chaplains who lead faith groups on campus.

What else?

Epstein on Thursday tweeted about the news, writing, "I'm obliged and honored to share personal news: I've been elected president of my @HarvardChaplain colleagues, and the brilliant @emmabgo wrote about it for the @nytimes. Will add a [thread] here, later today."

Epstein's biography page states that his special areas of interest include "ethics in technology, meaning and purpose behind religion, existentialism and humanism in literature and popular culture, developing healthy masculinity from a feminist perspective, secular humanistic Judaism, racial justice and healing, and the philosophy and practice of interfaith work."

"Described as a 'godfather to the [humanist] movement' by the New York Times Magazine, Epstein was also named 'one of the top faith and moral leaders in the United States' by Faithful Internet, a project coordinated by the United Church of Christ with assistance from the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society, for his efforts to bring together atheists, agnostics, and allies, as part of an ancient and ever-evolving ethical tradition that can be called humanism," the page adds. "As Greg believes deeply: In a changing world where faith in humankind has become more difficult to maintain, it is more important than ever to fight for our common humanity, and for each other."

Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvardwww.youtube.com

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