Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Interesting Step – Backwards

In today’s Inside Higher Ed news there’s a post about a push in universities to accommodate non-theist students with a humanist chaplain. In attempting to justify morality without god, the proponents of the humanist chaplains are happy to mirror the structure of religion, but leave god out of it.  The purpose of a humanist chaplaincy is to “to serve as a resource for students who are interested in exploring how to live ‘ethical and meaningful lives’ without subscribing to any religion”.
Two of the three official humanist chaplains have this to say about the student service they provide:
“Right now, higher education is failing miserably to provide a place on campus where non-religious students can find purpose, compassion, and community,” [humanist chaplain #1 says].
“A lot of students come to campus knowing they’re not religious, but also not knowing what they do believe,” says. The opportunities for discussion, meditation, and service that grow out a chaplaincy “help them learn more about the positive aspects of their identity,” he says, “not just what they don’t believe in.”
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Science and reason are important, [chaplain #2] said, “but when you want to address the whole human being, you also have to address imagination, creativity, the senses, [and] the memory.”
There probably isn’t a lot I can add to the backwards thinking displayed above except this:
“This is one of those things that there needs more top-down investment to bring out the grassroots support,”
Thanks for that clarification, chaplain #1.
Rather than helping these non-theists define their moral code as suggested, humanist chaplains seek only to further the individual’s submission to the collective. To claim to support non-theists while cloaked in the robe of a theological studies group ought to affront any rational thinker.
All university students could use some decent philosophy professors who can at least introduce them to Objectivism, so that they might be able to understand that morality is not based on mysticism or skepticism, but on the facts of reality, with man's life as the standard of value.
A moral code is a set of abstract principles; to practice it, an individual must translate it into the appropriate concretes—he must choose the particular goals and values which he is to pursue. This requires that he define his particular hierarchy of values, in the order of their importance, and that he act accordingly.
It is unlikely that a non-theist tribe will stumble upon that kind of soul food.

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