The heart of the chaplaincy is attention to religious traditions and the wisdom, sacred texts, ritual practices and observances that emerge from these traditions. A common complaint about organized religion is that it can be hypocritical, and imperialistic, implying that it alone holds universal truth claims by which outsiders to the tradition are to be judged.
Our view of religion is that it brings forward into our world ancient wisdom, and longstanding explorations into the deep questions we all continue to ask: where did we come from? what is our purpose here? what is the meaning of life which unwaveringly results in death? what is the relationship between us? between us and our planet? how do we understand marriage, sex, death, war, justice, education, prayer, meditation, the body, the mind, the soul?
Religious traditions and spiritual practices have rich resources for engaging these questions. And they create space for mysteries life offers which cannot be accessed by analytical, objective knowledge, acknowledging that religious traditions are enhanced by scientific endeavors and data-driven research, in addition to textual studies, and reasoned dialogue.
Attention to religious life also can include atheistic and agnostic thought, realizing that religious categories are based not on what is objectively 'right or wrong,' but based on belief, experience, faith, hope, and therefore largely open to a diversity of interpretations and expressions, even within a particular tradition, let alone with those outside that tradition.