An Atheist in the Chaplain’s Foxhole

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article about Navy Chaplain (Lt) Terry Moran and his armed escort, Chaplain’s assistant RP2 Philip Chute.

Chaplain Moran is a Seventh Day Adventist.  Specialist Chute is an atheist.  The subtitle says it all: “This Chaplain is Protected by God…and by an Atheist…at War.”

Lt. Moran takes the Bible at its word, rejects the evolution of species and believes the Earth to be 6,000 years old. He carries a large Bible with him into the combat zone, while RP2 Chute totes writings of Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and fierce critic of the notion that God designed the universe.

If nothing else, it appears the two have a respect for their relative roles: 

RP2 Chute was senior among Lt. Moran’s possible assistants. More importantly, he already had two combat tours under his belt, while Lt. Moran hadn’t yet seen a bullet fly. In the end, Lt. Moran says, he chose experience over faith…

“It’s frustrating to listen to him tell people things I know not to be true, but I know it’s not my place to get involved when people come to him for help,” [Chute] said later.

The article seems almost intentionally unflattering to Chaplain Moran, but the story is worth the read.

Via the Military Chaplains Association.


  • skinner city cyclist

    “He’s familiar with the Christian doctrine, but he chooses not to believe it,” says the chaplain, a slender-faced, soft-spoken man with a fringe of gray in his black hair. “That’s what I find puzzling.”

    Funny. I find it entirely obvious. The more you know of the bible, the more absurd it seems.

  • That is absolutely true as there is no evidence that Moses existed and many other stories from the Bible. I enjoyed the bible stories that I read as a child but now I am an adult and must put away myths and stories. As a nurse who practiced at the bedside for 42 years, I never heard a patient express a vison of the afterlife. And i have never witnessed a miracle.
    Why can’t God make an amputee grow a new arm? That would be a miracle. Not healing someone that we worked like hell to keep alive.

  • Alaskakitty,

    I’m sorry that you have never witnessed a miracle. I have: doctors gave a 1% chance of life and that person is sitting in my living room right now. I am grateful to God for my blessing.

  • That is not a miracle. It is just statistics.

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