I really don’t see what PZ Myers is so upset about now.
He titles his latest post “Atheist church? NO THANK YOU.” and decries the existence of humanist chaplains. He admits life ceremonies are worthy, but a structured weekly meeting is “a cheat and a waste.”
What set him off this time was a Boston Globe article that hints at Harvard Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein’s latest Humanist Community Project, where he aims to duplicate the success of his chaplaincy across the world.
From my reading of the article, I see no mention of Epstein saying atheists need church, ritual, or rigid structure. Further, I don’t see him demanding that we all go and absolve ourselves of critical thinking.
In fact, the brief description provided gives quite the opposite view. At a recent meeting they had Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers give a presentation (not a sermon).
If this had been a church, Torpy might have raised his voice in righteous indignation, pounding the pulpit. Instead, he asked for questions. Hands shot up.
This is how we’ve run our weekly BC Humanists meetings for years. Every Sunday we either have a speaker or watch a short video (15-40 minutes) and then we discuss and debate the merits of it.
There’s no preaching, no forced ritual, and lots of dissent.