What inspires you?
Chicken soup for the soul? Or colorful images of long-extinct galaxies?
If it’s the latter, you just might be an atheist. Or at least a nontheistic humanist.
Jason Torpy, an Army veteran and leader of Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, or MAAF, has a problem with the spiritual fitness component of the Army Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, which he says compels atheist soldiers to profess nonsectarian spiritual ideas they don’t believe.
Torpy, along with active-duty and retired atheist military members at bases around the world, is pushing DOD for nontheistic humanist chaplains – a friendlier-sounding way of saying atheist chaplains – and lay religious leaders
He doesn’t like the Army’s spiritual fitness website, either, which he calls a “mess of Christian promotion and bashing-by-faint-praise treatment of nontheism.” So he’s done something about it.
On Tuesday, Torpy posted his unsolicited makeover of the website on his MAAF blog – partly to make a point, he wrote, and partly for practice building websites.
Renamed the “Chaplain Services Center,” Torpy’s version eliminates the Spiritual Fitness program altogether. While it still has links to resources related to a wide array of religions and denominations, a message on the homepage assures readers it is “not intended to promote any particular religious preference or to promote theistic over nontheistic perspectives.”
On the home page of both sites is a menu entitled “For Inspiration.” The official DOD website’s first entry is “Chicken Soup for the Soul” (although the link is dead.) Torpy’s inspirational entries, on the other hand, lead off with Hubble Space Telescope images of deep space and videos of “disruptive” talks on culture and technology from the geek-chic TED Conference.
Theist or atheist, you gotta take your inspiration where you can find it.