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The Interfaith Movement Growing Exponentially

An Interview with Diana Eck – Part 2

The Case for Atheist Chaplains

Because words like ‘chaplain’ and ‘chaplaincy’ have religious connotations, some atheists and non-believers prefer not to use the terms. Nonetheless, a need for atheist chaplains exists, and a growing number of people are stepping into the role. Atheists, a significant portion of the public, have needs like anyone else, seek out mentors and counselors who can advise them, and care for them. But the issue is bigger than being acknowledged and represented in the healing community, important as those matters are.

Healing as an Interfaith Practice

The practice of healing is present in all of the great religions of the world today. I have taught a healing practice for the past three decades that I learned from Humanistic psychologist Lawrence LeShan. The practice is described in his book, The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist. In the healing training Dr. LeShan taught us spiritual exercises drawn from Hinduism, Theraveda and Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, Judaism, and Christianity. I have adapted LeShan’s method for my training, which is presented in the context of Progressive Christianity. It has been offered to more than a thousand people, a dozen at a time, over the past thirty-seven [Dr. Lawrence LeShan] years in classes, workshops, and five-day retreats. I call it Contemplative Healing, which is also the title of my book on the subject, published in 2011.