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Atheist Chaplains in the military
08-04-2013, 06:45 PM
Post: #1
Atheist Chaplains in the military
Was reading an article, which I am not going to cite, as it really is not needed for the thread, about why Atheists would want their own chaplains. In my opinion, it just seems like something that would make sense. If a Christian was having an issue, which they might seek help with, they might go to the chaplain. If they get there, and non of the chaplains are Christian, they might then decide, to not see a chaplain at all. So replace Christian, with Atheist, and you have the same thing.

Now lets look at what a chaplain would do. If you are having a crisis, they might share with you thoughts, ideas, experiences, that might help you through them. Now lets say you are an atheist, and you have an experience, that you want someone to talk to confidentially, one option, is to see a chaplain. If you are looking for advice, or comfort, having a religious chaplain tell you about Gods plans, or why God might let something happen, etc, would be very useless, and not helpful to you. Thus, it would seem to make sense, to have someone that understands you better, to be there to try to help you.

I am curious why anyone would be against Atheist chaplains. Thoughts?

If everyone was thinking the same thing, then no one would be thinking at all.
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08-04-2013, 09:43 PM
Post: #2
RE: Atheist Chaplains in the military
It makes sense to me.

The only thing that I find strange is calling them "Atheist chaplains". Atheists (like Theists or Transtheists) are not a unified movement with a singular philosophy. However a lot of Atheists I know are Secular Humanists and I think that a "Secular Humanist chaplain" makes a lot of sense.

"To yield and give way to our passions is the lowest slavery, even as to rule over them is the only liberty." -Justin Martyr
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08-04-2013, 10:52 PM
Post: #3
RE: Atheist Chaplains in the military
(08-04-2013 09:43 PM)shiverleaf15 Wrote:  It makes sense to me.

The only thing that I find strange is calling them "Atheist chaplains". Atheists (like Theists or Transtheists) are not a unified movement with a singular philosophy. However a lot of Atheists I know are Secular Humanists and I think that a "Secular Humanist chaplain" makes a lot of sense.

This is my thought on the issue as well, I think going with the name "Secular Humanist" chaplain would make more sense here.

That said, I agree that a perhaps bigger problem is the stigmatization of seeking psychiatric or psychological conseling however in military and other careers. Chaplains often function as informal counselors for those with various religious backgrounds, having a humanist option for men and women in the military not affiliated with a theistic religion makes sense.
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08-05-2013, 05:23 PM
Post: #4
RE: Atheist Chaplains in the military
If I remember right, from the article, I think they wanted to use the term Secular Chaplains. I think the only reason they even look at the word chaplain, is because that is used as a basic umbrella term.

If everyone was thinking the same thing, then no one would be thinking at all.
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08-05-2013, 06:14 PM
Post: #5
RE: Atheist Chaplains in the military
I can only really speak from an Australian Defence Force perspective, but it seems kind of redundant to me. In my experience chaplains of any denomination were approachable regardless of who you were and if you let them know that you were an non-believer or from another denomination they were fine about it. We also had the "Sally Man" run by the Salvation Army who ran drop in centres on all the bases and could always be found driving around exercise areas with hot/cold drinks and biscuits. They always had the best information about what was going on as well!

He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. - Nietzsche
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