November 9, 2012
Contact: Chaplain John Figdor (914) 954-3276, firstname.lastname@example.org
Atheists, Humanists, Agnostics, at Stanford Finally Given a Voice: New Humanist Chaplain Creates Community for the Faithless
PALO ALTO, Ca – Atheists, Agnostics, and other non-believers at Stanford welcome the addition of a Humanist “Religious Professional” at Stanford. On college campuses like Stanford, non-religious students constitute more than 30% of the University population. However, unlike religious students who benefit from the community aspect of religion, non-religious students often report feeling “isolated” and wish they had a non-religious Chaplain to talk to about personal problems, questions about the meaning and purpose of life, and questions about life as an Atheist, Humanist, or Agnostic. “If Stanford is going to provide resources such as funding for programs and activities to promote religious life at the university and Chaplains for religious students, then Stanford should provide those resources for Atheist, Humanist, and Agnostic students as well. We launched the Humanist Community at Stanford to remedy this problem, and I am excited to announce that Scotty McLennan, the Dean of Religious Life at Stanford University, has graciously welcomed our representative, John Figdor, the former Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard to be the ‘ir-Religious Professional’ at Stanford,” said Norm Schwartz, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Humanist Community at Stanford.
The organization was founded in July of 2012 to “build, educate, and nurture a diverse community of Atheists, Humanists, Agnostics at Stanford and in Silicon Valley.” The group has already hosted controversial Atheist celebrity Richard Dawkins for a conversation about popularizing science and co-sponsored a candlelight vigil for the Pakistani women’s rights advocate, Malala Yusafzai, in addition to numerous dinners, pub nights, conversation meetings, and film screenings. Humanist Chaplain John Figdor concurred, commenting, “I am very thankful to Dean Scotty McLennan and the Religious Life team at Stanford for being welcoming me to Stanford to represent the non-religious perspective among Stanford’s Religious Professionals.”