An Atheist Group at a Christian School Has Its First Meeting

Even on Christian campuses, atheist groups can get a lot of positive press. We’re very good at exposing the negative aspects of religion, challenging orthodox beliefs, and providing people a safe haven in which to raise their doubts about faith. How many Christian groups around the country can say the same things?

At Southern Methodist University, the Secular Humanists of SMU had their first meeting a couple nights ago and it looks like there was a strong turnout:


“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.

Considering they’re getting press for simply existing, that’s a good start :)

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the club’s membership rose rapidly this year — when you’re surrounded by religion, groups like this become a welcome island of sanity.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://twitter.com/CannedSexy Alixanderia

    … Why are they going to a Christian University, then?

    • http://twitter.com/#!/AddisonRyan Addison Ryan

      “Son, I’ll pay for you college if you go to INSERTPIOUSCOLLEGEHERE so I know you’re getting a good education”

      If the option is that or Community College (or no college at all!), which would you choose?

      • Anonymous

        Yes, I imagine it has to do with things like parents, location and the fact that many are really good schools. We’re talking about accredited universities here, not fundie diploma mills.

        I’m happy stuff like this is well received on some of these campuses
        when they could just as easily try and stomp down any criticism of their
        religious affiliations if they wanted to.

      • http://twitter.com/CannedSexy Alixanderia

        I’d personally choose a CC, but to each their own, I guess.

    • Guest

      Just because you start college as a Christian doesn’t mean you finish college as one!

      • Kenneth Dunlap

        Incredibly true!

    • Aaron Scoggin

      Also, your choice of college may be limited (geographically for example), or the school has a really good program for certain careers, but also happens to be a Christian school.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.zamecki Joe Zamecki

    They’d seem more intelligent if they went to a secular college.  Yes, the Christians don’t like to have to house their perceived enemies.  I bet they feel forced a bit on this, while the students trying to start this group have every option to attend a secular school.  Remember what the “M” in SMU stands for.  Some people don’t know. 

    Of course it’s great to have another Freethought group come into existence. :) 

    • Pseudonym

      That’s quite ironic given Hemant’s question.

      “How many Christian groups around the country can say the same things?” Actually, Methodists are one of those which can, to a great extent.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I hope the best for them, both in their efforts while attending SMU and in their careers. I’m sure their presence there will only improve the University’s reputation for intellectual caliber.  Mixing with the religious students will help to normalize atheism and give it a human face.

  • Red

     Is it any coincidence that a few days after the first meeting of the atheist group, the Ponies got annihilated by A&M?


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