Atheist group holds first meeting at Christian school

SMU — Southern Methodist University, home to Perkins Chapel, shown above — now has its own campus group devoted to atheism, and the student paper dropped by the first meeting:

Homosexuality, creationism and religious acceptance were all hot topics at the Secular Humanist club’s first meeting Wednesday night in Hughes-Trigg.

Though the club functions mainly as a support group for anyone at SMU who identifies as nonreligious, the conversation turned into a heated debate over religious reasoning when a devout Catholic entered into the equation.

“It would be silly to be a Christian and not come out to these things,” sophomore Arnaud Zimmern said. “It’s a chance to finally duke it out with your faith.”

The club began back in March and is now working towards a charter with SMU.

“I started this group primarily because it’s not very comfortable to be an atheist on this campus and I want to change that,” president and founder Carmen Tinker said.

Members at the meeting defined secular humanism as a “life philosophy that promotes reason and ethics, but rejects the supernatural.”

“I came here because to me I don’t need a God to act good,” said senior Vladimir Jovanic. “To me it comes naturally to be nice to people.” Jovanic has been a member of the club since its founding last semester.

The group discussed different labels of religious and nonreligious thought, as well as the difference between being an “accomodationist” and a “nonaccomidationist.” Basically, they debated interfacing with religions such as Christianity versus getting rid of religion in society entirely.

  • Catholic & Proud of it

    Can someone explain to me why these people wanted to go to a Christian college in the first place. They knew they were gonna be in the minority. Another case of the minority pushing their agenda!!!!!

  • http://www.gerardnadal.com Gerard Nadal

    A note to our Methodist brethren:

    This is exactly where most Catholic colleges and universities began their journey into hell. They tripped all over themselves trying to prove that they were enlightened, open, and tolerant. They feared being labeled “doctrinaire”, which is the academic equivalent of being regarded as a Salem Pastor during the Witch Hunts.

    It won’t stop here. Once well-established, the group will go after the curriculum, militate for gay, lesbian, and atheist faculty, etc…

    When Vladimir Jovanic said, “I came here because to me I don’t need a God to act good. To me it comes naturally to be nice to people,” he misses the point by a mile.

    Christianity isn’t about being nice to people. Were that the case, God would have sent Emily Post instead of Jesus. Christianity is about loving people, which places sacrificial demands upon us. It requires death to self, and not just a smile and a kind word. It requires obedience to God’s will in all areas of life, and not just those where God’s will and Jovanic’s happen to agree.

    Atheists are to be pitied and prayed for on a Christian campus. In their great rebellion, they are headed for an eternal separation from God. It is unthinkable that a Christian college would assist them in their rebellion by permitting a support group for their atheism. Doing so is nothing less than mortal sin. If these students need to find succor for their non-belief, they are free to congregate in one another’s dorm rooms, or the local diner.

    It is a great mistake, and the supreme act of naivete, to equate atheism with simple, dead-end nihilism. Atheism isn’t the lack of belief in God. It is a war ON God.

    In Saint Paul’s day, people said, “See those Christians, how they love ONE ANOTHER.” Paul wasn’t given to universalism. Membership in the community had benefits, one of which was that the faith wasn’t watered down by including non-believers. The openness and outreach was always there, but the non-believer needed to accept the faith in order to be included.

    Most formerly Catholic colleges and universities are sewers today, with dorms that make Sodom and Corinth look like blushing brides. We got there by allowing ourselves to be shamed for being who we were. SMU should keep that in mind.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Why is it that atheists repulse me? Is it because they are the biggest prosletizers on the planet today? If you’re an atheist, then be an atheist. Why do you need to stand in opposition to anything religious? The western world is essentially secular; there is no descrimnation. There is only one conclusion one can draw. They want the end of religion.

  • http://remnantofremnant.blogspot.com priest’s wife

    gerarad- YESYESYES!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00442985285647041700 Melody

    As the first comment said, why are they going to a Christian school to begin with?
    We have freedom of assembly in this country, they could exercise it by renting a space elsewhere and having their meeting. I don’t see why the college is obligated to provide them with a place to meet.
    A thought which did occur to me is that perhaps their parents insisted on them going to a church college, and they are doing the college kid rebel thing by being the campus atheists.

  • pagansister

    Why did they go to SMU? Why not? It apparently had the curriculum they wanted for the major they wanted. Am glad the school didn’t put up barriers to this group. It give an outlet for those that do not happen to be Christian. IMO it won’t have any more impact than a club for Chinese Americans, or Mexican Americans etc. Just another club.

  • Greta

    How could they ban this group when the US Government state religion is aethism? the big lie of the separation of church and state started with a supreme court justice who was a former klan member who was worried about the growing influence of the Catholic Church which he hated to his death. He used the usual method of the big lie in finding the letter from Jefferson and using that as proof that this is what the founders actually meant. Of course he had a lot of support on the court of judges appointed by socialist liberal FDR. The big lie was used to also legalize the murder of infants in the womb with the discovery of the right of “privacy” not in the constitution which would also be extended with a misuse of the 14th amendment to give sodomy special status.

  • http://www.wordtoall.org J.O.

    This is very sad…

  • Rudy

    Actually, being a Christian is not about being good, acting ethically, being a good citizen, acting nice or being friendly. Even though all of those things are good, they are not the heart of Christianity.

    Being a Christian is entering in a relationship with God through His Son, recognizing that there is more to life than this earthly existence, and that given our state we need Christ to start our way to God here on earth responding to his love. We respond to his love by accepting our shortcomings, that we are sinners and proclaiming our inability to attain a transcendent eternal life without Christ’s sacrificial love for us.

    Christianity is not about doing, is about loving. And what is love? Love is a person, Christ Jesus.

  • Mike R

    Manny, some atheists look forward to a world where religion is mostly discarded, others don’t, or are indifferent. I’m curious though, don’t Christians and Muslims all pray that everyone accept the truths of their religions? Why would it be so different , or bad for atheists to wish the same?

  • Maureen

    There’s a difference between “I wish everyone would accept the truth of my beliefs” and “I wish my beliefs were the law of the land, and I wish that all other beliefs were brutally clubbed out of existence along with those holding them.”

    Historically speaking, when atheism gets into power, the rest of us get an all-expense-paid trip to starvation work camps, or a nice bullet in the back of the head. We therefore cannot view with equanimity the idea that atheists are arguing over whether they should “accommodate” religion, or simply stamp it out entirely.

    Unless you think a turkey should be happy to hear the ax being sharpened, and the farmer’s family arguing over his place in the Thanksgiving meal.

  • Rudy

    Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, Pol Pot, Enver Hoxha, Adolf Hitler, all atheists that together killed more people in XX century than all others killed in wars and violence before in history. Gulags, gas chambers, extermination camps, killing fields all the works of pragmatic materialists bent on power. Being an atheist is not necessarily a guarantee to being a “bright” as the “Selfish Gene” author Dawkins calls himself.

  • Mike R

    Where are all the atheists who want to ban religious practice and overthrow democracy? I’m not sure where your paranoia leads you. What do you propose to do about this atheistic menace?

    For myself, I appreciate the secular government we’ve had since the founding and hope that religious people realize that religious freedom increases when the government stays out of advocating or supressing religious belief. How a bunch of students gathering at a nominally Methodist University gets you all thinking about Stalin is beyond me.

  • pagansister

    Let’s see Rudy(#12)—there have been a number of deaths in the name of a faith too—by “good Christians” who felt that everyone MUST believe or die. Crusades, all those who were done away with in the Inqusition, the witches who were killed because they were”witches”. Hitler and the folks you mentioned were terrible folks—no question about it. But in all honesty—there have been some pretty terrible “Christians” too who have used their faith as an excuse to kill others. All non-believers are not the same any more than all Christians are the same, or all Jews are the same etc.

  • Greta

    Pagansister, how about something in say the last two hundred years to equal those listed by Rudy that were led by Christians forcing others to accept Christianity.

    And on the crusasdes, frankly that was a very late response to the Islam attack which had been going on for over 300 years.

    The inquisition as far as the Catholic Church was concerned was a very small part of the ongoing method of that time. There were far less people killed by the church than by the countries. In fact, many of those found guilty by the state asked for trial by the Church and many of those were released. Not saying that this was a good time, but the simple fact is that those who use the inquisition and crusades fail to address the fact that the world was not a very nice place in general during those times. It would be like condemning the current british government for all those tortured, drawn and quartered such as the scottish seeking their freedom including William Wallace as shown in Bravehart. Next we can see Galileo rolled out as well. The pro atheist government crowd needs to get some new story lines.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof should be a clear message that stopping prayer in schools or anywhere else should not be allowed. Thus it is good to have the school chose to allow this group by free choice to come in with their aethistic beliefs and do so without any involvement of the government. The aethist can thank God every day that this country was founded by Christians. In fact, most of those who signed the Declaration of Indipendence would be called radical conservative Christian right today by the left which is how far astray this country has gone. I also find it interesting that the person who
    discovered the lie of separation of church and state was a Catholic hating former klansman on the supreme court by the nomination of FDR. He was afraid that Catholic influence was growing and wanted to stop it so the big lie was told and others bought it. funny how strong the tie was between Democrats and the KKK for generations.

  • pagansister

    Greta, #15: IMO, the separation of church and state is not a lie—it is, of course, not in the 1st Amendment—and as you know it is the quote of a great guy—Thomas Jefferson when he spoke to the Danbury Baptists—the Supreme Court made it more powerful. (under Warren). I disagree that this country has “gone astray”.

    I agree that it is good that SMU has allowed the group to be on campus.

    I can be thankful everyday that this country was founded by men and women who were forward thinkers—realizing that there should never be an established religion in this country.

    Current killing done by Christians? None recently—as you said. (except perhaps the occasional person who decides to kill a doctor who performs terminations) .

  • Greta

    pagansister, You admit that separation of church and state as “discovered’ by Hugo Black is not in the constitution. funny how that then can be used by liberal judges as if it was in the constitution. As to Thomas Jefferson, it is well known that when in Washington he went to church services each sunday being held in the house of representatives. Sounds like a man who had no issue with church and state being very close. Read this the other day…note that the professor writing this comes from that radical right wing Columbia University law school.

    SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE HUGO BLACK
    Law professor Daniel Dreisbach summarizes the critique by a leading Constitutional scholar, Professor Philip Hamburger of Columbia University Law School:
    [Black's] affinity for church-state separation and the metaphor was rooted in virulent anti-Catholicism. Philip Hamburger has argued that Justice Black, a former Alabama Ku Klux Klansman, was the product of a remarkable “confluence of Protestant [specifically Baptist], nativist, and progressive anti-Catholic forces…. Black’s association with the Klan has been much discussed in connection with his liberal views on race, but, in fact, his membership suggests more about [his] ideals of Americanism,” especially his support for separation of church and state. “Black had long before sworn, under the light of flaming crosses, to preserve ‘the sacred constitutional rights’ of ‘free public schools’ and ‘separation of church and state.’” Although he later distanced himself from the Klan, “Black’s distaste for Catholicism did not diminish.” Hamburger, Separation of Church and State, pp. 423, 434, 462, 463

    As we all know, once the supreme court ruled in favor of forcing slaves to be returned if caught even in free states. Just because a klansman rules on an issue along with a court packed with liberals does not mean it is correct. They also ruled that “privacy’ was in the constitution and granted the right to kill babies. funny how the left always wants to make things up and pretend by repeating them often enough that they are true.

  • Greta

    Mike R, the aethists that want to ban God are very visible. Try looking at the ACLU for a good start. Congress shall make no law seems pretty clear to me and judges take an oath to uphold the constitution so not sure how they can then go to removing God from everything they see. Forcing the removal of prayer in our schools when we are one nation under God and have held public prayers in government locations since the founding seems like the state is certainly now making a stand toward aethism as the state religion.

    As to your statement “I appreciate the secular government we’ve had since the founding” you might revise that if you look at our history. The vast majority, I believe it is 52 of 56 signers of the declaration of independene would be viewed today as radical far right religious conservatives. All our rights do not come from a secular government but from our Creator. Our money says In God we Trust. The song America has a large amount of references to Christian faith. We voted to add Under God to our pledge. We have prayers to open each day in the house and senate and have paid chaplains. The house of representatives held religious services every Sunday for years and were attended by jefferson, Adams, and other leaders of our country. Washington added “so help me God” to the oath of office and it is still used by every Commander in Cheif since that time as well as for all other oaths of office. I could go on forever on this topic because we are founded as predominantly a Christian nation who respects all religions and allows them to be believed and practiced without interference of government. Non God aethist nations never allow freedom of religion and try to force the removal of God from everything possible. Look at what the French so called Revolution did when their mob started it killing and vandalism spree. Look at Stalin or Mao or any other socialist nation. Aethist in this nation should say a thank you to Christianity and its founding principles in this nation for their freedom to not worship.

  • Mike R

    Greta, if you believe teacher led prayer in schools is constitutional, would the prayers have to have some restrictions so as not to favor one religion over another? Could a teacher in one class lead a pray to Jesus but another teacher be allowed to refer to Muhammad as the last true prophet?

    Find me a reference to Jesus in the Constitution and I might entertain the notion that we are a ‘Christian’ nation when it comes to the laws of the land.

    Your characterization of the founders as ‘far right religious conservatives’ is inaccurate and simplistic . Deism was the preferred religious view of the enlightenment educated men of the time . Jefferson was very skeptical about the divinity of Jesus, hardly making him a founder of a ‘Christian’ nation. Most certainly had a great distaste for ‘papists’ by the way.

  • pagansister

    Greta #17 & #18: Let me repeat myself here—I do not believe this to be a “Christian” nation but a nation of many different faiths–and those with none at all—IMO is how it should be. (some of us are fortuunate not to live in a religiously run country). As to adding God to the pledge—why? IT was perfectly fine without it as a loyalty expression to this country. I don’t recite it when I do pledge as I disagree with it being there–but that’s just me. I feel I’m just as loyal to this country and really am not sure just whose god one is referring to when reciting.

    As to T. Jefferson and his faith. Have no doubt he was a religious man,and probably a liberal on at that, but he didn’t want this country to be ruled/governed by a faith. He took the time to rearrange the Bible for heaven’s sake!

    Yep, prayers are done at the Capital—but they don’t have to be done in public settings like a public school—kids can pray in their heads if they feel like it. In public school which prayer is a teacher to use—Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Pagan, or what?


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