Atheist Group Forms at UPenn

After seeing religious groups of all kinds form at the University of Pennsylvania, a few freshmen have started a group for atheists called “Rekindle Reason: Atheists, Agnostics, and Freethinkers.”

Navin Sasikumar, a grad student there, is pleased with their mission statement, which includes this excerpt:

Association with individuals of similar philosophies is oft lost for the irreligious, and we aim to make certain these members of the Penn community have such access and are aware that they are not alone in their views. Our meetings shall be havens in which people can question religious beliefs in absolute safety and security.

We wish to encourage the constituents of the University of Pennsylvania community-at-large to think critically about their superstitious and indoctrinated beliefs, as well as make the community aware of the detrimental effects on individuals and on society that religious belief all-too-commonly spurs.

It’s nice to have another secular student group in the Ivy League :)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Kalafarski

    Don’t like the mission statement. It’s too pretentious and patronizing. There’s no need to belittle religious individuals (not everyone is indoctrinated and they are quite one-sided as far as the effects of religion on society), and trying that hard to sound intellectual  is a natural turn-off (“oft,” really?).

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, “oft”?  It’s terribly verbose too.  Here’s my quick attempt at editing it into decent English prose.

      “The irreligious often lose out on association with similar-minded people, and we will ensure that these members of the Penn community have that sense of community and awareness that they are not alone.  Our meetings will be havens in which people can question religious beliefs in safety and security.

      We will encourage the University of Pennsylvania community to think critically about superstitious and indoctrinated beliefs and confront religion’s frequently detrimental effects on individuals and society.”

  • Reginald Selkirk

    It’s nice to have another secular student group in the Ivy League

    elitist!

  • Taniarollinson

    I wish that I could make some friends that were similar to myself instead of people trying to convert me all the time, some sort of social group that vare non – believers but have a code of living.

  • http://twitter.com/jfigdor Jonathan Figdor

    Hello and welcome from another Ivy elitist (the worst kind [hbomb])!

  • Kate

    I considered joining this group, but was reluctant because of concerns about bigotry. Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad we have a secular student group. But the excerpt from the mission statement certainly hasn’t made me any more eager to join. 

    We also had an event on campus last night called “Veritas.” I couldn’t go because of work, but from my friends’ accounts it was a very inclusive event designed to get students thinking and talking about their beliefs in a more critical and intellectual manner. The speaker was coming from a religious perspective, but all viewpoints seem to have been encouraged. In spite of this, some public reactions from fellow secularists have been positively vile. As an atheist, I’m quite aware that these people were probably in the minority. However, it also doesn’t make me want to seek out a group that sounds similarly dismissive of opposing viewpoints.

    • C. Hugh Later

      What kind of bigotry are you referring to?  Hatred of people or hatred of beliefs?  Hatred of people or hatred of behavior?  Atheist/Secular America is in a religious war with Xian fundies and with crazed Islamists. (see story about Zombie Mohammed in Central PA)  Atheists (etc.) need to unite at every possible opportunity, because we are hated from all sides, except by a few ultraliberal religionists, who, for all intents and purposes are closeted doubters.

      • C. Hugh Later

        Oh, and I forgot to mention: crazed Zionists.  A pox on ALL their houses.

  • Daniel Schiff

    This is good to hear! I thought Princeton was the last Ivy to start a secular group when I founded the Princeton SSA group in 2011.

    In a campus that’s often apathetic and career-oriented,  I think this is a great step.


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