"[One of] five next-gen gurus who are disrupting religion's status quo... An ex-evangelical Christian turned openly gay atheist, this tat-sleeved lightning rod is leading the charge—through his frequent panel appearances, his 2012 memoir, Faitheist, and his activism against religious intolerance—to include his fellow faithless in interfaith dialogues." -DETAILS magazine
"If humanists ever adopt the concept of sainthood to honor their most impressive members, I hope that Chris Stedman is their inaugural inductee... He is a humanist chaplain and author who consistently tries to foster engagement and understanding between believers and non-believers and does so with remarkable diplomacy and tact." -Religion Dispatches
"The millennial who's busting every stereotype about atheists." -PolicyMic
Chris Stedman is the the author of Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious, "an intimate and deeply affecting portrait... [that] proves [he is] an activist in the truest sense and one to watch" (Booklist, Starred Review). The Executive Director and Coordinator of Humanist Life for the Yale Humanist Community, Chris previously served as a Humanist chaplain at Harvard University and as the Values in Action Coordinator for the Humanist Community at Harvard (where he was previously the inaugural Interfaith and Community Service Fellow). He is the atheist columnist for Religion News Service, Emeritus Managing Director of State of Formation at the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, and founder of the first blog dedicated to exploring atheist-interfaith engagement, NonProphet Status.
Chris received an MA in Religion from Meadville Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago, for which he was awarded the Billings Prize for Most Outstanding Scholastic Achievement. A graduate of Augsburg College with a summa cum laude B.A. in Religion, Chris writes for Salon, CNN, msnbc, The Advocate, USA Today, The Rumpus, Huffington Post Gay Voices, Huffington Post Religion, The Washington Post On Faith, Religion Dispatches, Relevant, and more. Previously a Content Developer and Adjunct Trainer for Interfaith Youth Core, where he helped shape their ongoing collaboration with the Obama administration, Chris is a queer atheist working to foster positive and productive dialogue and collaborative action between faith communities and the nonreligious. He speaks on this topic across the United States and around the world, including at the White House and the Scottish Parliament.
In 2011 the Huffington Post listed Chris's work as one of the Top 11 Religion Stories of the year and named him one of the top interfaith activists on Twitter, Religion Dispatches listed him at #5 in the Top 10 Peacemakers in the Science-Religion wars, and the University of Oregon Alliance of Happy Atheists recognized his work with their first annual Happy Heathen! Award. In 2012 he published a widely acclaimed book about this work, Faitheist -- TikkunDaily championed it as "[possibly] the most important book" that year, New Humanist magazine awarded it five out of five stars, and the Houston Chronicle named it one of the best religion books of the year, calling it "an exciting and boundary defying introduction to a new world [and] an amazing book that could potentially change the game." In 2013 Details magazine named Chris as one of "five next-gen gurus who are disrupting religion's status quo" and PolicyMic dubbed him "the millennial who's busting every stereotype about atheists."
As a young adult, Chris worked for Minnesota’s St. Paul Public School District, helping to coordinate their Gay-Straight Alliances and drop-in center for at risk LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) teenagers. Soon after, he worked with a food waste recovery program and the Somali community in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and with adults with developmental disabilities in rural Minnesota. Later, he ran an after school education program for at risk youth on the South Side of Chicago, coordinating a safe space and resources for youth living in the neighborhood with the highest rate of violent crime in the United States. Since then, he has spent the last six years coordinating and executing programming for college and university students and local Humanist communities through his work for Interfaith Youth Core, the Humanist Community at Harvard, and the Yale Humanist Community.
More recently, Chris served on the initial Leadership Team of the Common Ground Campaign, a coalition of young people who stood up in response to the wave of anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence in the U.S. surrounding the Park51 controversy, and continues to advise it in its current form, Groundswell. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the interfaith global development organization World Faith and is an advisor to the Foundation Beyond Belief's "Challenge the Gap" charitable initiative.
"Stedman is nothing if not determined, and [his] journey toward personal reconciliation through service work and interfaith dialogue is inspiring. Stedman’s story is motivational, his thoughts on interreligious dialogue insightful, and in [Faitheist] he proves himself an activist in the truest sense and one to watch." -Booklist, Starred Review of Faitheist
"Chris Stedman is a gay atheist on a mission to find a common cause between the devout and the faithless... Stedman looks like what your grandmother thinks hipsters look like: rangy-framed and bearded, covered in tattoos, his earlobes stretched with plugs... [but he's inciting change] one inch at a time as he’s pushing with all his might." -Out magazine, February 2013
For media inquiries, contact Beacon Press Communications Director Pamela MacColl at pmaccoll [at] beacon.org. For inquiries about the Humanist Community at Harvard, contact Jade Meshesha, Administrative Manager for the Humanist Community at Harvard, at jadehch [at] gmail.com. For inquiries about the Yale Humanist Community, contact Paul Chiariello at yalehumanists [at] gmail.com. To reach Chris, click here.