Humanist Chaplains—What's the Point?

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Some time ago the American Humanist Association held a briefing to encourage Congress to implement humanist chaplains in the military. In their report on the meeting, the AHA explains the need for so-called humanist chaplains:

“We are focusing on humanism and the positive beliefs it encompasses to ensure chaplains can provide for theists as well as nontheists,” said Jason Torpy [president of the Military Association of Atheists]. “We need a chaplaincy that is willing and able to support nontheistic belief.”
Now, I’ve said for over 25 years that atheism and secular humanism are religions—a claim that many atheists deny. In fact, I discuss this at length in my newly revised, updated, and expanded edition of The Lie: Evolution/Millions of Years, available in our web store. But even though many atheists/humanists don’t want their views considered a religion, they want their own chaplains in the military!

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a chaplain as “a priest or other Christian religious leader who performs religious services for a military group (such as the army) or for a prison, hospital, etc.” In other words, a chaplain is a person of faith—in God—who oversees a chapel. But humanism, according to Merriam-Webster, is “a system of values and beliefs that is based on the idea that people are basically good and that problems can be solved using reason instead of religion.” (You can find out more about the religion of humanism on our Humanism topic page at

So, why would a group of people who believe that the answers to life’s problems can be found in themselves need a chaplain? Well, the report explains, “These service members would benefit greatly from the confidential guidance and comfort provided by a chaplain who understands humanism and shares their belief.” But, doesn’t the need for “confidential guidance” imply that humanists are having trouble reasoning through their problems? What can one humanist say to another that could be comforting, besides encouraging them to look within themselves?

Really, I believe this is just one more expression of man’s knowledge that there is a God. When the so-called atheist “churches” started to appear last year said that the reason these atheists feel the need to establish some sort of church-like gathering is because they know there is a God and they want a system that copies Christian worship. In fact, the Bible mentions the fact that people who refuse to believe in God are inwardly suppressing the truth:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. (Romans 1:18–22).
The Bible also says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1). This is really no different. These humanists need comfort and guidance precisely because they can’t find it in themselves—but they won’t find it in any other human being either! How would such a humanist chaplain respond if the person they were counseling said something like this:
“I’m tired of the stresses and suffering of this life with what I’m going through right now. When I die I won’t even know I ever existed—so what’s the point? I want to end it all now.”
The reality is that such humanist chaplains can give no sure hope for the future, but only try to convince the person they can have a sort of limited subjective purpose and meaning while here before they cease to exist! What a contrast to what a Christian chaplain can explain:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
I urge you to pray for the thousands of atheists/humanists in our military, that they would hear the gospel of Christ and believe—and find true hope and comfort in God’s Word, rather than in man’s flawed reasoning.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,


This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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