Atheist Group Forms at University of Kentucky

Students at the University of Kentucky just formed an atheist group on campus back in August, but they’re already getting media coverage just for existing:

The group has gained more members than it expected, and feedback has been mostly positive, said Ben Augustine, the alliance’s president. About 25 students attended its most recent meeting, and more than 100 people have “liked” its Facebook page.

Family science senior Bridgett Lyall said the group is a good support group for her. Lyall grew up in Hodgenville, Ky., and in a nondenominational household.

While she began to identify as an atheist more than two years ago, she waited to tell her family until she was absolutely certain of her beliefs. Her parents cried after she told them seven months ago she was not a Christian, she said.

“My dad said he blamed himself for talking about philosophical things with me,” Lyall said. “I assured him it was all me, and I just wanted to discover different things.”

Augustine and other members said the group isn’t recruiting or trying to convert students to atheism. Instead, they are focused on inviting and accommodating those who are already nonreligious into the organization.

“As soon as someone finds out you are atheist or agnostic, you’re automatically a heathen,” Lyall said. “It’s not true. We’re still good people.”

That’s what it takes to get coverage in a lot of cities and campuses these days — let people know you’re atheists and you’re not bad people.

I’m not complaining. Just saying the bar is pretty low, so we might as well take advantage of it by being “out” in as many places as possible.

If you’re on or near the campus, check out their Facebook page!

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.

  • Anonymous

    “As soon as someone finds out you are atheist or agnostic,
    you’re automatically a heathen,” Lyall said. “It’s not true. We’re still
    good people.”
    Sure they may be good people. But they’re still heathens.At least definition 1 here.http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/heathen?r=75&src=ref&ch=dic

    • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

      I actually can’t imagine anyone outside of the 19th century uttering the word “heathen” with a straight face.

      • Anonymous

        And yet the word is still an accurate description of her despite its lack of modern use.

        • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

          Oh, I don’t disagree. I just have a hard time taking the word seriously. It sounds like something a fussy schoolmarm would say to rebuke her wild pupils.

        • Anonymous

           Originally it just meant a rural (i.e. “heath”) dweller.

    • Anonymous

      I am heathen and proud of it.

    • gsw

      “an unconverted individual of a people that do not acknowledge the God of the Bible; a person who is neither a Jew, Christian, nor Muslim;”

      Since when have muslims worshipped Yahweh?

      Heathens come from where the heather grows, we are the bestest of all the peoples.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Evans/535852335 Paul Evans

    Yay for my alma mater!

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

    I wonder if they know about their deep atheist roots, and that the Father of America’s Militant Atheism did his part to change the minds of Kentuckians.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Chilton_Moore

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Letters-from-an-Atheist-Nation/252536341450603

  • gski

    I’d like to know what percentage of atheist parents cry and consider it their fault when their child comes out as a believer.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve noticed that religious parents are always very anxious that their children should follow the same religion, whereas atheist parents always say, “we will raise our children to be open-minded, think critically and love learning, and when they are old enough to make a decision, whatever it is, we will support them.”

  • Xeon2000

    Father: I helped my daughter think too much.

    (Seriously…?!)

  • lkmccormick

    This doesn’t quite cancel out our Creation Museum and upcoming Ark Park, but it’s wonderful and surprising to see nonetheless.

  • Kentucky expat

    I never went to UK but in high school I knew a few folks who were in the precursor to the SSA. It’s nice to see Lexington get an honest to goodness atheist group!


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X