Millennials Are Doubting God and College Atheist Groups Are Helping Ease Them Out of Faith

Why are campus atheist groups so important? Why is the Secular Student Alliance so vital to their growth?

Dustin Wyatt has a long article in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal explaining the answers. It’s a lot of soundbytes and not much in the way of analysis, but the quotations are all in our favor:

“I used to be afraid of what people would think of me if I told them I was an atheist,” [Makenzy Sample] said. “It wasn’t until I discovered the Freethinkers Club at USC Upstate that I realized I wasn’t alone and I didn’t have to hide my beliefs.”

“Most college groups are becoming nationally affiliated with the SSA and even starting because of the SSA,” said Maggie Blair, a Clemson University graduate who now lives in Greenville. “If not for them, I never would have started the Clemson group. They send you supplies and all kinds of other support.”

It’s that support provided by the SSA (and CFI On Campus) that lets these groups flourish, and the groups can provide a community for students who may not realize they’re not alone in their atheism.

The more groups there are, the more opportunities we have to help the atheists who think there’s nowhere for them to turn.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

    I’m not keen on “evangelical atheism,” but I am very ardently in support of helping people who are dissatisfied with religion and feeling alone in religious communities. Bravo!

  • http://winlb.wordpress.com/ ToonForever

    Actually, I am keen on “evangelical atheism.”  I think adherence to passe religion hampers our ability to address real issues of human long-term survival, due to the incorrect assumption of supernatural maintenance of our current world/universe.  The more people that can be rescued from the delusion, the better prepared we will be to unite toward solutions.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Draven/695507357 Eric Draven

       “Evangelical Atheism.” I like it. Probably not nearly as profitable as evangelical christianity, but I like it nonetheless.

  • advancedatheist

    Of course these college students need  to think about their employability after graduation in our tough economy. What will a potential employer think of their atheist activism in college, which he can learn about through web searches? 

    • 3lemenope

      It’s not an insignificant point, but through the looking glass, would you really want to work for a bigot who would make an employment decision on that basis? People should go into activities with awareness of possible consequences, but that should be weighed against the substantial social benefit that comes from belonging to a like-minded community, with support and access to resources that it generally implies.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Draven/695507357 Eric Draven

         When the majority of the country is still bigoted in this way, and with the job market as scarce as it is, we can’t exactly stand on principle here and still expect to eat.

        • 3lemenope

          I don’t think a majority of employers in America would refuse to hire an atheist.  I agree, though, that if the choice is between having a roof and paying your bills on the one hand, and standing proud on principle on the other, it is not a trivial choice. Hence what I said: one has to look at both the potential benefit and the potential cost before exposing oneself in that manner.

          • pamsfriend

             This is how religion flourished for millenia.  Don’t agree w/us?  We’ll kick you out of the village and won’t trade w/you.  Coming between a person and their daily bread is a VERY effective way of growing your religion.

    • Casey Braden

      That is something to seriously consider, and something that I have wrestled with myself.  It’s unfortunate that some employers could see someone’s atheism as a deal-breaker.  That’s why the atheist visibility movement is so important, so others continue to realize that we aren’t the monsters they mistook us for.

  • Linda Turnipseed

    Lots of young people are reluctant  to come out as atheists when they are living at home for fear their parents will kick them out. College is a good time to explore the atheist community and bring their beliefs into focus. It’s a good thing that they can find others who believe (or disbelieve) as they do. Not incidentally, it is also a good way to meet romantic partners with similar beliefs.

  • Ian Reide

    I am keen on “evangelical atheism.” I also like reading good news such as this. Proud of you guys.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    Sadly many more might possibly come out if it were not for their parents tight grip on the college purse string. I’ve met many a student who expressed a desire to simply just have a bit of college fun but was reluctant to do so lest their parents found out.

  • Faisal_quazi

    I watched a documentary today on Atheism on 
    http://topdocumentarystream.com/watch-the-trouble-with-atheism-online/ . The documentary is criticizing atheism.   


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