Atheist Group Tries to Launch at Texas Christian University

Texas Christian University is the latest in a line of religious schools where a group of students have formed an as-yet-unofficial atheist group:

“Freethinking Frogs” is being founded by Alexis Lohse.

The transfer student said she wanted to establish an organization “that was agnostic and secular,” so that students with those beliefs would have a place free to discuss and challenge conventional religious thinking.

There are a lot of secular students who attend religious-in-name-only colleges for all sorts of reasons. Good programs, good professors, etc. (I almost attended one myself because the school offered me lots of money to go there, and ended up saying no only because another school had a better program for my major. So I have no qualms about atheists attending a religious school.)

At most of those kinds of schools, they welcome a diverse student body and encourage groups that may not fall in line theologically with them but still adhere to whatever the school’s mission is. That’s why you’ll see Muslim groups or gay-straight alliance groups form there. The Freethinking Frogs looks to be doing just that — there’s nothing wrong with critically examining questions of faith — but we’ll see if they get recognition.

In the meantime, students are troubled by the existence of the group:

“There are some kids [...] who might not want their beliefs challenged,” said student Michael Smith.

And that’s why this group needs to exist. If students aren’t going to challenge themselves, atheists need to give them a little nudge…

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.

  • jj

    Good for them.

  • Fargofan

    I lost my faith at an out-of-state Christian college. A group like that would have helped enormously. Otherwise you feel so isolated and alone.

  • Watry

    I started my college career at a Baptist college, only Baptist in name and single-sex dorm building policy (which has since changed into a single-sex floor policy). I lost the last remnants of my faith soon after leaving for medical reasons. Officially religious schools can certainly be great places, and this one was less awash in religion than my current public school.

  • Kirby_G

    “There are some kids [...] who might not want their beliefs challenged,”

    Seriously? Are you even listening to yourself?

  • Rain

    In the meantime, students are troubled by the existence of the group:

    “There are some kids [...] who might not want their beliefs challenged,” said student Michael Smith.

    Hmm, yep definitely hearsay evidence. :P

  • WallofSleep

    Those are the students enrolled in the Hermitical Sciences.

  • Cary Whitman

    Another reason some kids go to religious schools is because their parents won’t help them pay tuition for any other school, thats a big one around here. I hope they get their club approved, if the Christians at TCU are secure in their beliefs they should welcome having their beliefs challenged, it will give them the opportunity to bring those non-believers and questioners-of-their-faith back into the flock!

  • allein

    I went to a small, religiously-affiliated school (Church of the Brethren); it’s generally secular, though, unless you want to be involved in religious activities (they do have a Center for Anabaptist Studies on campus, and while I was there a big million-dollar chapel was built with money that was willed to the school for that purpose). As far as I can tell from their student activities page, there are no atheist groups, though there are a few religious ones (including a Hillel group). There is one called Students Advocating for Gender Equality, though. It wasn’t an issue for me at the time but I wonder how much demand there would be for an atheist/freethinker’s group.

  • Baby_Raptor

    “There are some students who might not want their beliefs challenged.”

    Whoop-de-Fucking-do. Who cares what these kids do and don’t want? Nobody is forcing those kids to go to this group’s meetings. And if the mere existence of people who disagree with you causes your faith to shake, the issue is YOU.

    The snobbery here is amazing. “These people agree with me, so their comfort trumps other peoples’ rights.”

  • Robyman4

    I attended Baylor twice and work within two miles of TCU, but I’ve been told by many Horned Frog students and alumni that their school is decidedly NOT very religious. And while I’ve been called a traitor for going to a religious U and separating myself completely from what they think is most important, the value of my education was enormous. My point is that some people go to college to learn and grow as a person, not necessarily/exclusively as a Christian. I’m all for the Free Thinking Frogs!

  • Sandy Kokch

    “There are some kids [...] who might not want their beliefs challenged,” said student Michael Smith.

    Yeah Mike….. and I might not want to be a poor struggling wannabe novelist who just wishes he had enough money to live a small quiet life and write his stories to entertain people and make enough to look after those he loves dearly,

    but that’s life mate.

  • chicago dyke

    lots of schools were endowed or founded by religious people. in previous centuries, the religious were often responsible for the education of young people, so it’s no surprise that 150yo universities have religious names. modern faculty are overwhelmingly light in religious belief, when they have any at all. i had an atheist advisor at divinity school, and i’d say most of the professors there were at least agnostic or only “cultural/social” members of the faith of their birth.

    i hope this group gets approved by the school. they should remember nothing will stop them from meeting and posting if they do not, although it would be a disappointment if they are turned down by the school. it makes me angry that this is even considered “news.” i’m glad for the refreshingly neutral news report, but really. did they do a report when the muslim students formed a group? probably not.

    we’re still the most outcast, hated, unapproved group in america, more than blacks, gays or even muslims. this annoys me. and proves why groups like this are needed, everywhere.

  • Feminerd

    Georgetown University is technically a religious school (Catholic, actually). I was accepted there and would have gone, except they offered me no money and I got a full scholarship + stipend somewhere else. Georgetown is an amazing school, one of the best in the country- I’d certainly hope they’d allow an atheist/agnostic student group on campus!

  • Barefoot Bree

    “There are some kids [...] who might not want their beliefs challenged,” said student Michael Smith.

    Seriously? Did you just say that?

    Then what, I might ask, are they doing at college in the first place? Isn’t that the ENTIRE REASON FOR BEING for a college, to challenge its students’ beliefs, knowledge, abilities, talents, etc etc?

    You wanna rethink that statement, Michael?

  • Willy Occam

    Really… at a Christian School???

    Stop the Presses!!!

  • Brent

    When I went to school there we referred to it as Technically Christian University or Texas Caucasian University (The school is not known for it’s wide diversity)

  • Cafeeine

    Of course., letting the group form may be a good thing for those students as well. If the freethinkers are in their club, they won’t be in their face all the time…

  • Alexis Lohse

    Hi, I am with the TCU Freethinking Frogs and wanted to provide the link to our public Facebook page:
    We appreciate the kind words of support and will keep you posted on our approval process!
    Thank you again!

  • Tim

    I know that guy, and that quote was taken out of context. He is sympathetic of this group, but apprehensive about the potential student backlash.