Lauren Rumpler at Ball State University is starting an atheist group there.
“I noticed that there wasn’t a group for non-believers,” she said. “I feel like everyone should have a place to discuss their beliefs.”
The group’s goals will be to talk about what other religions believe, why atheists’ beliefs differ and how to dispel any bad connotations people have about atheism, Rumpler said. She said a lot of people have negative notions about Atheists, such as they are radicals or are out to harm other people.
“I want people to realize that atheists are the same kind of people that everyone else is; they just believe differently,” she said.
That’s awesome — I wish the group the best of luck. The first meeting sounded like it was a blast by location alone:
The Atheist Society’s first meeting [was] at 5 p.m. Sunday in front of the Naked Lady in Bracken Library.
(Lauren, you’re doing it wrong. You don’t introduce the debauchery until the second meeting.)
Actually, there is another issue not mentioned in the article.
According to the Secular Student Alliance’s most recent affiliation survey from last Spring, there is already a group for atheists on campus — the Ball State University Freethought Alliance. (I confirmed that the group still does exist and will be starting their own meetings shortly.)
Which means there are two groups for atheists on this campus.
This raises an interesting dilemma.
As atheists become more vocal and public, there may come a time when it’s fairly normal to see more than one atheist group on a given campus.
I’ve seen upwards of 70-80 Christian groups at major universities. They separate themselves based on worship-style, ethnicity, denomination, etc. I always thought that was silly, even if their reasons for having certain groups made some sense. It seems to me they would be more powerful if they were one strong Christian voice on campus instead of so many fragmented groups, only some of which work together on certain issues.
So what should happen with us? Should atheists welcome multiple freethought groups on any one campus or should we work on starting/building/maintaining just one strong group at any one school?