An Atheist Chaplain?

Published 1:20 pm Tuesday, September 7, 2021



Harvard University was founded in 1636 by Reverend John Harvard as the first institution of higher learning in the new world. His intention was to establish a school to train Christian ministers. In accordance with that vision, Harvard’s “Rules and Precepts,” adopted in 1646, stated: “Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only gives wisdom, let everyone seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him (Prov. 2:3).”

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Today, things are much different. This is most dramatically seen in the hiring of an atheist as the chief of chaplains. Harvard began its decent into godless secularism back in 1869 when it hired atheist, Charles William Eliot as president. Mr. Eliot staked a new course for the university surrounding himself with other atheist professors who desired to move Darwin’s theory of evolution into the mainstream by taking God out of scientific, legal, and public discourse.        

This is how we got where we are today, when our once prestigious university redefines what the word chaplain means, and hires atheist Greg Epstein as the head of chaplains. Atheists do not consider themselves a religion, and yet he is excited about the impact he can make on the students as a chaplain. It is noteworthy that no American dictionary defines the word chaplain in a way that could include a non-religious person.

There are many other examples of how Harvard and the vast majority of our colleges and universities are trying to be free from God and Christianity. This is a new “American Experiment” to be sure. It is the opposite of the first American Experiment begun in 1620 when the Puritans came to America on the Mayflower to start a new and free life based on their faith in God.

What are the chances that this new American Experiment will succeed?  Unfortunately, it is not new. The Bible clearly describes what happens. We read in Hosea 13:6, “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.”  This pattern is called the “Cycle of Nations.”  It looks something like this: Blessings shower down from God and His people show humility, thankfulness, and righteousness, God’s people become satisfied, God’s people develop prideful hearts, they forget God, and finally, God brings His promised judgment. This judgment will bring destruction or the people will cry out to God, repent, and again receive God’s blessings. As a nation, we are clearly in the stage of forgetting God. What makes us think that our fate will be any different than all the other nations that have gone before us?

It is tempting to blame men like Charles William Elliot and Greg Epstein for the immoral, godless state we find our nation in today. Believers of the past and present who have not stood up for the truth of the Bible are to blame. God is clear, there will always be such fools spreading their foolishness to all who will listen.  God calls His faithful to bring the kind of change that will put our nation back on firm footing in texts like II Chronicles 7:13-14, “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

I find this quote from Kyle, an autistic 13-year-old featured on Focus on the Family’s “Truth Project” to be wise words for us today. He says, “The concept of America represents a beacon of hope in a dark world that is full of corruption and death. Without that city on the hill the world, in my opinion, would be thrust into darkness because they would have no light standing on the foundation of principles to show them that it was possible to stand in that same way.”

What are you doing to take a stand against the secularism that threatens to destroy our country? Do you know what your children are learning from their schools at all levels? Have you taken the time to share your values with your children in the context of what they are learning in school? History is an important teacher. Hopefully, we will learn the lessons she teaches before it is too late. (To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles, see