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Harvard humanist chaplain Greg Epstein to speak at SU March 29

March 26, 2010

Rob Enslin
(315) 443-3403

Greg Epstein, Harvard University’s humanist chaplain and author of The New York Times best-seller “Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe” (HarperCollins, 2009), will speak at Syracuse University on Monday, March 29, at 12:45 p.m. in Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3. His lecture, “Being Good Without God: Humanists and the Media,” is free and open to the public, and is sponsored by the Religion and Society Program in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information, call program director Gustav Niebuhr at (315) 443-5723.

“What’s important about Greg Epstein is that he offers a new defense of humanism, an argument that is different and considerably more nuanced than the attacks on religion by leading atheists,” says Niebuhr, associate professor of newspaper and online journalism in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. “Epstein tells us about the many different ways that people can find purpose in life and compassion for others without holding a belief in God.”

About 15 percent of Americans—nearly 40 million people—classify themselves as religiously unaffiliated.

Epstein sits on the executive committee of the 36-member corps of Harvard chaplains. In 2005, he was ordained as a humanist rabbi by the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism. The former rock musician holds a B.A. in religion and Chinese and an M.A. in Judaic studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in addition to a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School.
In addition to publishing The New Humanism, Epstein blogs for Newsweek magazine and The Washington Post. He and his work have appeared on/in dozens of international outlets, including ABC-TV, National Public Radio, BBC Radio, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report and Al Jazeera.

Religion and Society is an interdisciplinary program that provides the opportunity to study the pervasive role of religion in contemporary society, especially in U.S. politics, international relations, economic development and popular culture—and in most facets of social change broadly conceived.

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