Thank you so much to everyone who came to my events last night and this morning at Montana State University! (And to all the folks who came to my event the night before at The Mark Twain House & Museum — here’s a post from the event’s moderator about it.) I had such a wonderful time meeting and speaking with you all. Below is a part of an article from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle about last night’s MSU event; click here to read it in full and see pictures from the event.
Atheists and people of religious faith can work together to build a better world despite their differences, activist and author Chris Stedman told a Bozeman audience Thursday at a Martin Luther King lecture.
Stedman, the assistant humanist chaplain at Harvard University, spoke to more than 100 students and community members at Montana State University for the university’s annual King lecture.
He recently wrote a book, “Faitheist: How An Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religions.” It describes his personal journey in and out of faith, and how he came to work with a Christian pastor to fight hunger. In the Boston area, he said, they’ve provided meals for 70,000 hungry children.“What would happen if atheists and Christians could see themselves as necessary partners in making the world a better place?” Stedman asked. “What might we accomplish together?”
King, the black civil rights leader, was known for reaching across religious lines to work with Jews and Christian pastors of different denominations, Stedman said. But few know that one of King’s closest advisors, Phillip Randolph, a black labor leader and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, where King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, was also an atheist.
Atheists are one of the most distrusted groups in America and live with a great stigma, Stedman said. People assume they’re angry and want to tear down religion. Polls find that Americans are less likely to vote for atheists than for Jews, Mormons or Muslims, and atheists are the ones parents least want their children to marry.
Yet the ranks of non-believers are growing, especially among young people, he said. One in five Americans is not religiously affiliated.