Understanding Humanism: A Conversation with Chris Stedman, Humanist Chaplain

with Chris Stedman, J. Cody Nielsen

About This Course

The rise of those described as “nones” or those who are not religiously affiliated has steadily increased on college campuses for years. Perceptions that the “nones” are all atheists or anti-religious is prevalent. But Chris Stedman, one of the leading voices in the humanist community in the United States has much to say when it comes to understand those that fall within this category, and specifically those who describe themselves as humanist. Join us for this in depth discussion where we’ll discuss what it means to be humanist in America and on our campuses.


Humanism is a misunderstood worldview on our college campuses.  On many campuses, humanists remain unaffiliated to even campus atheist and freethinker groups due to unique beliefs and ideals.  Humanism though is on the rise, and one of its leaders, Chris Stedman, has much insight for student affairs professionals.

Our discussion will cover Chris’ personal story, which can be found in his book Faitheist: How An Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious as well as some detailed understanding of the work of humanist chaplains across the United States.  Chris and Cody will also discuss terms and definitions and how they can be used in appropriate ways on our campuses.

Participants joining this life briefing will learn the history of humanism on college campuses and its rise in the last 15-20 years, will be better able to articulate what a humanist is in comparison to others labels such as Atheists, non-theists, and free thinkers, and will be better able to support the needs of students who identify themselves as humanist on our campuses. Additionally, due to the stigma’s attached to humanists, participants will be able to create campus climates that are safer for humanists and may be better able to engage humanists in programming and policy work on their campuses.