New Campus Atheist Group in Indiana: Christians Don’t Protest

There’s a new campus atheist group at Purdue University Calumet (in Indiana), and while the article about them in the school paper is nice, there’s something very odd about it.

They quote Christian after Christian. In fact the whole second half of the piece is about how Christians aren’t protesting this group’s presence. Is that just a space filler or the meat of the story, I wonder?

Leaders of other campus religious groups are supporting the SSA’s membership, saying its presence will provide a good debate about secularity, Christianity and spirituality in general.

Mollie Ramstrom, an elementary education major, described herself as a “very strong Christian” at last week’s first SSA meeting. She regularly attends Intervarsity Christian Fellowship meetings, but she wanted to support Elliott, who has been to a couple meetings at IVCF.

“I just wanted to see what the group was about,” said Ramstrom.

Christy Klippel, a staff worker who facilitates leadership at IVCF, said the SSA is welcome at PUC.

“There is no bitterness about them having an organization,” said Klippel. “It would be welcome if its purpose is to have an open discussion about issues. I think it’s good.”

Raydon Haskins, of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, said he has no objection to SSA.

Well, that’s nice, I guess.

Not that Nikko Elliott‘s group needed their approval at all, but cordial relations are always good thing to have. Joint events tend to make for a wider audience, exposed to more skeptical ideas. A win-win situation for atheists.

In any case, Nikko got 19 people to come out to that first meeting (including the Christian). That’s an impressive number and with some good leadership, it should only go up!

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  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    I’ve often wondered why the Christians make such a fuss when atheist groups appear. From their point of view we must just be wrong and therefore no challenge to them. They could have a little giggle about the loony atheists and go back to talking to their sky daddy but instead they usually seem to be furious at the idea that unbelievers are allowed to breathe the same air and walk on gods’ green grass. It is refreshing to see some reason, politeness and even welcome among Christian groups.

  • muggle

    Here’s hoping he gets more.

    I don’t know what to think about the Christian comments. I want to be optimistic but I’ve been stung too many times not to be wary.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could all just get along? I’ll believe it, however, when see it. Keep us posted.

  • Siamang

    Wow! I wonder if the organizers of this group did some groundwork before the announcement that helped this.

    Like go to the Christian groups meetings and try to make some friends beforehand. So that these groups didn’t feel threatened or that the atheist group was being combative.

    Anyway, fantastic!

  • http://www.pghsecularalliance.org Becca

    You know- I’ve had a very similar experience. I started an atheist group at U of Pitt last semester and frankly, not a single complaint. We’ve been invited to a game night with one Christian group, and working on a spaghetti and movie night with another, both events more of a friendly gathering than anything. The Christian groups on my campus certainly don’t mind us, there’s just the occasional attempt to convert some of us.

    It’s all…friendly.

  • Shannon

    “We’ve been invited to a game night with one Christian group, and working on a spaghetti and movie night with another, both events more of a friendly gathering than anything.”

    That sounds nice 😀

  • http://www.UnMailBlog.wordpress.com Tyler in SoCal

    I went to a local atheist meetup and there was not one hot girl in site. In fact everyone was old. What the heck. I’m going to have to visit the local university chapters to hang around people my own age I guess.

    In other news it’s Buccaneer Weekend over at Catalina. My mission is to convince everyone that they’re doing this in the name of the FSM.

  • Erp

    I suspect there are several reasons. First many Christian groups (think liberal Christians at a minimum) are not closed minded and are perfectly willing to have atheist/humanist groups around. Second even those campus Christian groups opposed to atheists must know that successfully protesting allowing an atheist group at a university could well mean that they won’t be allowed either. Purdue has a group, University Religious Leaders (URL), which is bound by code (e.g., accept other groups) and in exchange gets certain privileges (e.g., they can know which students have indicated they belong to their religion). The code of ethics is on the web.

  • Valdyr

    I’m surprised so many of you are coming forward with positive experiences. Here at Kent State University, we’ve had our posters torn down constantly, no matter where we put them up or how inoffensive they are.

  • tom coward

    It strikes me that Atheist groups and Christian groups do have something in common, which is that they are interested in the same subject. Athough they approach the subjecft from different dirrections, they all at least discuss the issue of the existence of a god or gods. I suspect that this subject is not common in your average fraterity house or residence hall. Perhaps this has something to do with the lack of animosity at PU?

  • http://jessicasideways.com Jessica Sideways

    Yeah, if we are wrong, what are Christians afraid of?

  • jess

    i’m in this SSA group at PUC. we were surprised too! we were sure we’d get some angry people, but none so far.

  • http://www.intervarsity.org Christy Klippel

    Hello everyone! I’m quoted in that article, and it was a pleasant surprise to Google my name (we all do that, don’t we?) and come across this blog.

    I just wanted to chime in and introduce myself. If any of you have questions or comments directly for that crazy Christian group, feel free to speak up. I enjoy this dialogue and wish you all well—

  • AuhsojSivart

    I used to be involved with IVCF at Purdue Calumet. For what it’s worth, it is the most open-minded and friendly Christian groups I’ve ever encountered.