A Famous Pastor’s Son Becomes an Atheist and Explains the Power of Community

Bart Campolo grew up the son of a famous Christian pastor but, like Rachael Slick and many others, he turned out to be an atheist. In fact, he’s now the Humanist Chaplain at the University of Southern California, a position that took some people by surprise.

When he told his father he didn’t believe in God anymore, the reaction also came as a bit of a shock:

Following the family dinner, Bart sat his parents down and explained that he was now an agnostic humanist. His father’s response was surprising.

“You know me. I am not afraid you’re going to hell because the God I believe in doesn’t send people to hell for eternity for having the wrong theology,” Tony responded, according to Bart. “I’m sad because Christianity is my tribe, and I liked having you in my tribe.”

At the Secular Student Alliance 2014 conference in Columbus, Ohio, Campolo shared his story and explained the power of building community:



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I’ll Be Speaking Near Baltimore This Saturday and in Boise Next Week

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be speaking at two public events about the experiences of young atheists. All the details are below. Both events are free (though donations to the organizations are always welcome)!



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American Humanist Association Launches Campaign Urging Students to Stay Seated During the Pledge of Allegiance

Last week, the American Humanist Association released the results of a poll they conducted about the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge. The poll showed that when people are told about the history of the phrase — how it was added to the Pledge in 1954 during the Cold War — more than a third of respondents supported removing the phrase.

The AHA is following up those results today with what’s sure to be a controversial national campaign. They’re urging students to remain seated during daily recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance to show solidarity with the non-religious people who are being discriminated against — and that means educating everyone about the history of “Under God.” The campaign includes bus ads in Washington, D.C. and New York City as well as 15-second ads on YouTube:



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A Debate on the Existence of God Between Dan Barker and Matt Slick

At this year’s Freethought Festival at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Freedom From Religion Foundation co-President Dan Barker debated Christian apologist Matt Slick on the topic of God’s existence:



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Tufts Just Hired the First University-Funded Humanist Leader in the Nation

The six universities in the U.S. that have Humanist Chaplains all have something in common (besides being pretty damn good schools): Those positions are all paid for by the respective Humanist communities. The schools themselves don’t offer any financial help.

That’s about to change now that Tufts University has ponied up the cash to sponsor the first Humanist staff position on campus — the first of its kind anywhere in the country. Walker Bristol, a former leader of the campus’ freethought group, will serve as “Humanist in Residence.” He will assist University Chaplain Greg McGonigle by offering “religious and philosophical leadership for the University… by providing primary leadership, organization, advising, and support for the Humanist community.”

Keep in mind this is a school that already lends a lot of support to non-religious students on campus:



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