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Special areas of interest: ethics in technology; meaning and purpose beyond religion; existentialism and humanism in literature and popular culture; developing healthy masculinity from a feminist perspective; secular humanistic Judaism; racial justice and healing; the philosophy and practice of interfaith work.
Greg M. Epstein serves as the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, and also serves the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as humanist chaplain and as Convener for Ethical Life at the MIT Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life. For nearly two decades, he has built a unique career as one of the world’s most prominent humanist chaplains — professionally trained members of the clergy who support the ethical and communal lives of nonreligious people.
Described as a “godfather to the [humanist] movement” by The New York Times Magazine, Epstein was also named “one of the top faith and moral leaders in the United States” by Faithful Internet, a project coordinated by the United Church of Christ with assistance from the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society, for his efforts to bring together atheists, agnostics, and allies, as part of an ancient and ever-evolving ethical tradition that can be called humanism. As Greg believes deeply: in a changing world where faith in humankind has become more difficult to maintain, it is more important than ever to fight for our common humanity, and for each other.
As an author, Greg’s New York Times bestselling book, “Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe,” continues to be influential years after its initial publication helped popularize the notion that the rapidly growing population of secular people can live lives of deep purpose, compassion, and connection. More recently, Greg’s 2018 move to join MIT, in addition to his work at Harvard, inspired an 18-month residency at the leading Silicon Valley publication TechCrunch, in which he published nearly 40 in-depth pieces exploring the ethics of technologies and companies that are shifting our definition of what it means to be human, often in troubling ways. Greg's next book will expand on this work: "Tech Agnostic: How Technology Became the World's Most Powerful Religion, and Why it Desperately Needs a Reformation," for MIT Press. His writing on topics such as humanism, ethics, technology, and politics, has also appeared in The Boston Globe, CNN.com, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Salon, Critical Inquiry, and The Humanist.
Over the years, Greg has contributed, as speaker or organizer, to thousands of humanist and interfaith programs and educational opportunities at Harvard and elsewhere – universities, community and state colleges, urban public and expensive private high schools, at the Democratic National Convention, the United States Congress and Senate, megachurches, synagogues and Islamic centers, hospitals and prisons, and interfaith and civic institutions of many other kinds.
In 2005, Greg received ordination as a Humanist Rabbi from the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism. He holds a B.A. (Religion and Chinese) and an M.A. (Judaic Studies) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a Masters of Theological Studies from the Harvard Divinity School, and he completed a year-long graduate fellowship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Greg and his wife Jackie, an attorney, live in Somerville, MA with their son. Connect with him on social media (Twitter, Linkedin, Substack): @gregmepstein.