What we’re about
About Us and Our Values:
The Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard & MIT works with atheists, agnostics, and allies at Harvard, MIT, and beyond: to create an inclusive new model for how humanists celebrate life, promote reason and compassion, and better the world for all.
Our organization was founded as the first-ever “humanist chaplaincy” to serve nonreligious students at a college or university. In addition to providing humanist philosophical guidance and counseling for over 40 years, we sponsor and advise humanist, secular, and interfaith groups at Harvard and MIT, and offer weekly secular mindfulness meditations.
Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment, aspiring to humanity's greater good -- it is, in short, good without god.
Please check out our website: https://www.humanistchaplaincy.org/.
Upcoming events (2)See all
- Fall Equinox Gathering: Discussion on ‘Spiritual but not Religious’Phillips Brooks House Association, Cambridge, MA
We'll join Greater Boston Humanists to celebrate the beginning of the Fall season on the weekend of the Equinox this Sunday, part of Boston Humanists' long tradition of eating together and sharing interesting topics related to humanist life.
We’ll try a discussion format for our Equinox lunch gathering. We’ll have pizza (with some vegetarian and vegan options) and social time together in Philips Brooks House at Harvard, and then begin a discussion led by Joe Gerstein around 2. The 'spur' for the discussion is a short essay called “The Middle Ages, The Enlightenment, and Dialectical Mystery” by Carl Krieg, PhD. (We encourage you to read the short essay beforehand; copies will be available at the event, and the essay takes about 5-10 minutes to read).
Our longtime humanist leader Joe Gerstein will reflect on his experiences with progressive Christianity and its attempts to confront the existential crisis of a godless world, an issue humans of every religion have increasingly faced with the advent of post-Enlightenment science.
Joe points to the “great dilemma of the ‘gray zone: spiritual but not religious’ — people who are not comfortable with atheism, or religion, but who still fell there is some sort of 'Justice' or over-arching morality in the universe and just can't seem to accept that there is nothing there.”
In the essay, Carl Krieg deploys his theological training to outline the transition from views of myth and ‘spirit’ over the last thousand years of Western history, and how the desire for a universe with ultimate justice makes it hard for many to abandon ‘spiritualism’.
Joe reflects about these modern 'gray zone' people: “Some gravitate to the Unitarian Church, which I did for 10 years — until my kids outgrew it, as did I. Also, the Unitarian Church shifted right as there was an influx of former Catholics, former Methodists, former Episcopalians, etc. who still believed in Jesus and G-d but were either from mixed marriages or mixed religious upbringings but could both tolerate the ‘no creed’ Unitarian Church. Some are able to cross the Rubicon into Humanism, but most cannot. Maybe in the next generation.
Although Barbara and I were deeply involved with the First Parish in Weston and with the couple of ministers who were terrific people, eventually they brought the Eucharist ceremony into the church and that was kaput for me, comforting though it might have been for some in the church, who took communion and a great ecumenical gesture!”
What are your experiences with trying to square Christianity and other monotheistic religions with modern secular scepticism? Have you sought community or solace in spiritual traditions? How easily have you explained your atheism, or your sense of a Universe without direction or meaning, to others? Do you feel it’s useful to create communities of support, like our own secular and humanist communities, even if many other people are driven to remain ‘spiritual’?
We welcome you for a respectful, open discussion of our experiences and thoughts on the theory and practice of those who try to remain ‘spiritual but not religious’.
Joe Gerstein, MD, will join us via video conference from Miami. As former President of Greater Boston Humanists (GBH) for 40 years, Joe has presented on numerous topics and been a leader in the AHA and humanism in the US while being an active doctor and teacher at Harvard Medical School.
Because we hope you'll attend in person for this event to be more social, we will only provide a zoom link for this by special request, as it's difficult to coordinate discussion in the large, lovely room at PBH using zoom at the same time. Thanks for your understanding.
PARKING AND DIRECTIONS
Philips Brooks House is at the corner of Harvard Yard, just opposite LIttauer Library and the Science Center (see map below).
Parking in Cambridge is free on Sundays in metered and some non-metered spots, and there several garages for a fee near Harvard Square. MBTA red line Harvard Square station (though there will be Red Line shuttle buses on the Braintree line this weekend from the south) and associated bus stops are also within the block.
- Secular Mindfulness MeditationLink visible for attendees
Join us for an online secular mindfulness meditation led by Rick Heller, followed by a discussion.
No experience is necessary. All welcome!
RSVP to get the Zoom link to the meeting.
If you have any difficulty connecting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org within 10 minutes of the meeting's start time.
Our meditations have been collected into a book published by New World Library: Secular Meditation: Practices for Cultivating Inner Peace, Compassion, and Joy (https://www.newworldlibrary.com/Health-and-Wellness/SECULAR-MEDITATION).
We also have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/207307035531/).
Email Rick Heller at email@example.com for more information.