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Greg Epstein  

Internationally Recognized Expert on Humanism and Trends in World Religion

Greg M. Epstein, author of the New York Times best-selling book Good Without God: What a Billion Non-Religious People Do Believe (William Morrow), serves as the Humanist Chaplain of Harvard University, and directs the Humanist Community Project at Harvard. He has been called "the most outspoken voice for Humanism in the United States" by New York magazine.

An in demand lecturer and presenter, Epstein has spoken at the White House as part of the Obama administration's symposium on "Advancing Interfaith and Community Service on College and University Campuses" and at universities, conferences, religious institutions, and Humanist and ethical organizations all over the world. He has blogged for CNN, Newsweek, TheWashington Post, The Boston Globe, Tikkun, and more; his work as a Humanist rabbi and chaplain has been featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, NPR's "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross, CNN, BBC Radio, Al Jazeera, Newsweek, US News and World Report,, USA Today, and in cover stories for the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine and the Boston Phoenix.

Under his leadership, The Humanist Community Project at Harvard has become the first-ever student and community center for Humanists, atheists, agnostics, and the nonreligious associated with any U.S. college or university campus. In the fall of 2011 the organization will launch a major new initiative to study the practice of Humanism in communities around the world, and to act as a laboratory and incubator for the development of future such communities beyond Harvard.

In Good Without God -- as in his speaking, organizing, and teaching -- Epstein delivers a constructive, challenging response to recent secular manifestos, one that focuses not on the head of atheism but on the heart of Humanism. Rather than seeking to destroy religion, Humanists strive to live well, build community, and be good without supernaturalism, without higher powers ... without God. At a time when the debate about faith and morality rages more fiercely than ever -- and when millions are searching for something they can put their faith in -- Epstein discusses his views on how Humanism offers comfort and hope that affirms our ability to live ethical lives of personal fulfillment, aspiring together for the greater good of all of us.

In 2005 Epstein received ordination as a Humanist Rabbi from the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism, where he studied in Jerusalem and Michigan for five years. He holds a BA in religion and Chinese and an MA in Judaic studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Masters of Theological Studies from the Harvard Divinity School. He sits on the executive committee of the 36-member corps of Harvard Chaplains, and is an adviser to two student groups at Harvard College, the Secular Society and the Interfaith Council, and to the Harvard Humanist Graduate Community. From 2007-11 he chaired the Advisory Board of the national umbrella organization the Secular Student Alliance, joining such renowned nonbelievers as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.

Epstein grew up in Flushing, Queens, "the most diverse neighborhood in the most diverse borough in the most diverse city on the planet," as an assimilated and disinterested Reform Jew. He studied Buddhism and Taoism while at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, and in college went to Taiwan for a semester aiming to study Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism in its original language and context. Finding that Eastern religions do not necessarily have greater access to truth than Western ones, he returned to the U.S. and shifted his focus to rock music, recording, and singing professionally for a year after college. Soon thereafter, he learned of the movement of Humanism and the possibility of a career as a Humanist rabbi and chaplain.

Good Without God: What a Billion Non-Religious People Do Believe


Purpose, Compassion, and Community for the Non-Religious


Humanistic Judaism: Celebrating Jewish Culture, History, and Identity Beyond God


Interfaith: The United States is an Interfaith Nation, not a Christian One


How Can All Religions — and the Non-Religious — Work Together to Create a Better Society for All?


Humanist Chaplaincy: The Role of Atheists, Humanists, and the Non-Religious on Campus and in Higher Education


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