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Oct 08 2013

Caleb Dalton and Atheist Chaplains

Caleb Dalton doesn’t quite get “Atheist” Chaplains.

That chaplains are religious is not surprising, since Merriam-Webster’s defines a military chaplain as “a priest or other . . . religious leader who performs religious services for a military group.” That military chaplains believe in some outside being is not surprising: after all, the chaplaincy’s motto is, Pro Deo et Patria (For God and Country).

Which god? There are non-Christian Chaplains in the Chaplaincy.

What is surprising is that prominent humanists like Jason Heap would apply to be chaplains.

Because Humanists and Atheists have “issues” of faith too. And it’s kind of biased to claim that a job has to belong exclusively to people who have an imaginary friend.

And let’s get this straight. I bet Dalton thinks some Chaplains do have imaginary friends rather than gods since there are Hindu and Muslim chaplains.

As a humanist, Heap does not recognize the existence of God or the truth of any religion. He has admitted to only being able to engage a member of the armed forces on a “philosophical” non-religious level, and that he would not be able to lead a person in prayer on the eve of battle or when dying on the field—presumably because he does not believe that anyone exists to pray to.

By that logic he is more likely to the value the life of those soldiers because there is only one life they have and no magic reward for perceived morality.

Current chaplains, however, can and do engage and assist the philosophical and moral needs of the estimated 0.67 percent of the military that self-identify as atheist or agnostic. As U. S. Representative and Air Force Chaplain Doug Collins noted during the brief <href=”#page=7″>house debate,

Except they don’t. Military Atheists have repeatedly been discriminated against. One of my first big links to my work was thanks to Justin Griffith and Paul Loebe’s Rock Beyond Belief because I made points about atheists in foxholes and all that malarky.

… if a chaplain is doing their job right, then all feel welcome. When I was in Iraq, I would go across and see everyone at night. I had many times those who profess no faith at all who would come to me and say, “Chaplain, I don’t believe there is a God, but I have a wife at home that I’m having trouble with. Can you talk to me?” That’s what a chaplain does.

Question? If a Catholic Priest is a Chaplain, what advice can he give about relationships having never been in one? Any advice this chaplain gives in this situation is purely textbook.

And there are GLBT soldiers, remind me again what the official religious line to these men and women is?

If a religious service member, however, asks an “atheist chaplain” to pray for him, the “chaplain” can’t.

But you can pray still and he can give advice, advice not grounded in mythology but hard reality. Sometimes that is what you need to hear most of all.

The primary job description of a chaplain involves religious duties. Whether it’s conducting religious services or providing advice pertaining to an individual’s religion, an atheist “chaplain” cannot fulfill those roles, and atheist members would, presumably, not desire those services. An atheist could only partially fulfill secondary chaplain roles, such as informal counsel, moral guidance, and comfort in battle (e.g., atheist chaplain applicant Mr. Heap would not pray for a dying soldier). A chaplain, however, can certainly meet those needs.

Then the role of the Chaplain needs to be expanded.

The military created the chaplaincy to meet the religious needs of service members, but, as noted above, chaplains also provide other services as well. While atheists and agnostics do not believe they have need of the religious services offered by chaplains, there is no doubt that they have need of a listening ear or a word of advice.

Except the current Chaplaincy has been often used to evangelise and many non-Christian soldiers feel uncomfortable with an inherent highly Christian trend through the armed forces that often runs roughshod over other faiths when the Armed Forces is supposed to be Secular. Secular Chaplains offers an alternative.

Thus the current chaplaincy offers these non-religious services on the same basis to armed forces members of any faith or no faith at all. An atheist “chaplain,” however, simply cannot offer the religious services required of a chaplain anymore than a square can declare itself to be circle.

As I said. Neither can Muslim Chaplains and Hindu Chaplains in the eyes of Dalton since they don’t believe in any “real” gods.

If they can give advice inspite of their clearly fake gods (unlike the Christian god who is built on a bedrock of hard evidence and science) then surely atheists and humanists can  too!

3 comments

  1. 1
    Rajinder Nijjhar

    IF YOU LIKE MY ARTICLE, PLEASE PASS IT ON TO YOUR BRETHREN.
    Hi Brother,
    1. Disciples of John, the Baptist, Rabbis, Pharisees, etc. used to fast and say prayers but not our anointed Elder Brother Christ Jesus as He and our Father are ONE. So, why people pray in Churches? Is our Father deaf and dumb like the Lord of Nature, the creator demiurge god Yahweh? Remember that the Rabbis kept their Disciples alienated from Yahweh and asked them to communicate with him through prayers and fasting. But our Father is living in His Own Temple, our physical body and we need to glorify Him through Preaching Gospel from our very mouths called Drinking the Blood of Christ. When we hear His Word Preached to us by Christ Jesus or the Apostles through our ears, then this is called Eating the Flesh of Jesus that we take it to our hearts, digest it or ponder over it and bring it out from our own mouths. Gospel written over our hearts is a testimony of our living Christ Jesus and the Apostles.
    2. Root of word Disciple is Discipline and it were once-born natural men that needed disciplining by the Rabbis whereas we are of holy spirit in Christ Jesus being greater than John, the Baptist are independent Solitary Labourers called Virgin Brides of Jesus with Freewill. Rabbis do not have the Freewills as they are bound by the laws that they teach; otherwise they would be hypocrites. So, there are no Disciples in Christ Jesus but Labourers.
    Couple of Youtube videos:-
    http://youtu.be/fn5eSudoqJA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msp5c2FXvns
    Father is within our hearts and not in heaven of the Jews:-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zy0SkQqww0
    http://youtu.be/JIMNhd2IjPk
    How the monks are anti-christs?
    I attended AGM of the Friends of Mount Athos, 2013 and the speaker was an Anglican Priest, the Revd Douglas Dales. I happened to have a talk with him. I told him that head of COE is Queen, head of Mammon and not Christ Jesus as stressed in the Bible, One Fold, Church of God, headed by One Shepherd, Christ Jesus. These Dog-Collared hireling Priests understand what I am trying to say but they behave as if they do not know where it applies. Some will say fold is where farmers keep their sheep. Gospel is for people and not for animals. It is just an analogy. So, COE has two heads; Queen and Jesus; one of Mammon to pay the wages of the hireling Priests and the other of Christ Jesus. They are not compatible. As no one objects to their Dog-Collars, they are happy.
    He talked about Prayer and I told him if Jesus and Father are one, then He could not say prayer to himself. On further discussion, it came out that the Monks also fast. Both of these practices used to be prevalent in the brick built synagogues where the Rabbi sits as a school master. As these Rabbis became corrupt that Jesus by His own sacrifice as the Lamb of God moved us from Synagoues to the individual temples of God, our own physical body built not by the human hands but by Nature. Old House Synagogue rejected for the New House, Temple of God that is possessed by each person whether male or female, brown or black, etc. As each one has his own Temple, so each one should have the Royal Priest, the Christ in his own heart making him solitary capable of entering into the Royal Vineyard of our Father where Christ Jesus is sitting waiting for you. That is why, It has a Narrow Gate meant for the solitary and you give your own account.
    But these hireling Anti-Christs are themselves not solitary, how could they make others solitary? Gate is for the solitary only. So, in Jesus, we do not waste time in prayers to bluff the once-born but sharpen their minds through asking questions. Ask, seek and knock is the Way to the Royal Kingdom of God.
    As regards fasting, a hungry man is not good at thinking or pondering over His Word as the one who is not hungry. That is why Jesus fed the 5000 people before Preaching Gospel that unless you eat the Flesh of Jesus and Drink the Blood of Christ, you have no part in me? Again here most people think of Last Supper. It is not so but what comes out of the Mouth of Jesus, you should have ears, Mouth, to hear that. Take it to your heart, Stomach and then proclaim what Jesus has said and explain it in details. This is called Drinking the Blood of Christ, who was before the generations. Such an interpretation is hardly known to any. So, Gospel is not for all but those who are Pre-destined of our Father.
    Most of these Monks got initiation in which the Bishop or Abbots cut the head hair to make them Disciples as the John, the Baptist, an Ideal Rabbi of Levi Tribe was, Rabbis and Sadducees. John, the Baptist was a Freeman but he did not had the Freewill as he applied the moral laws to his Disciples and worked for Yahweh. Christ Jesus was a Freeman, Solitary and He has the Freewill like our Father God, a Supernatural. So, these Abbots themselves were slaves to their Abbots and made the Monks slave to them as well. No Freewill among the Monks taking them back to old system – Matt.12.v43-45. Spiritually blind Monks propagate spiritually blind Disciples in Anti-Christs. It is Faith in some Monks that gives them spiritual Powers of healing.
    This is the best Age for becoming the Fishers of spiritual men, of both sexes, who are Solitary as in John9, the born blind person. Spiritual women are the Disciples of Abbots, Bishops, etc. and they go where their head goes. So, be spiritually alive otherwise the Anti-Christ would kill you. In Jesus although we are solitary yet of One accord, just the opposite to the once-born people. There are many other examples such as the Baptism of John, the Baptist in water that after me will baptise you in Holy Spirit. Such are the hirelings blind to Spirit that they do what they are employed to do otherwise being sacked. No more freemen and freewill as we enjoy. More through your own measure of spirit.
    Remember that Adam is our Natural father in which we are born and die and once our Supernatural Father God adopts you, then you too become eternal like our Father and no more fear of death as you are going back to your Father’s Home for Rest.
    Let us make organisations in each town under the name of GOSPEL WORKERS, WORSHIPPING GOD IN TRUTH AND IN SPIRIT.
    Youtube Video link:-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3mYQfq8xvA

    Ch.Rajinder Nijjhar, M.Sc.
    01189666345
    OXFORD GNOSTIC FELLOWSHIP,
    Gnostics are the living christs of living God.
    Holy spirit = spirit of man = common sense,
    Holy Spirit = Spirit of God = Extra Ordinary Sense.
    No christ in your heart, no Gospel
    God = Allah = ParBrahm = Rabb
    More you spend “His Treasures”, preach Gospel, more you please Father to receive more.
    Scriptures + holy spirit (common sense) = Gospel
    For articles on Sister Christian and Sikh communities, visit: -
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/rajinder.nijjhar/sikhism.htm
    http://www.nijjhar.freeserve.co.uk/gnosticism.htm
    Over 3100 Youtube Videos on One faith:-
    http://uk.youtube.com/profile?user=nijjhar1

  2. 2
    Raging Bee

    I was wondering when “God Soap” labels would find their way onto the Internet…

  3. 3
    Ani J. Sharmin

    What strikes me about Caleb Dalton’s article (and others who make similar arguments) is the self-centered, selfish nature of it. Statements like this,

    Current chaplains, however, can and do engage and assist the philosophical and moral needs of the estimated 0.67 percent of the military that self-identify as atheist or agnostic.

    show a complete lack of knowledge of and concern about the discrimination against non-Christians in military. He treats his own religion as universal, with chaplains that can help everyone (without acknowledging that non-Christians may not feel welcome due to the teachings) but then says that secular/non-religious/atheist chaplains can’t help everyone in every single way. He doesn’t seem to realize/acknowledge/care that even the non-prayer services offered by religious chaplains (e.g. counseling) are still going to be affected by their religious beliefs.

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