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At religious campuses, atheist groups operate underground - Comments

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 1 by Atheist Mike

...I have a bit of a problem with that. It's a religious school, yes it's stupid but what's even more silly is going against the specific requirement of a specific institution. If they don't want to have to pretend to be catholics they simply shouldn't be in a Catholic school.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 01:48:55 UTC | #887749

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 2 by susanlatimer

Comment 1 by Atheist Mike

That seems reasonable enough. But they address that point.

All the schools say they rejected the clubs because they conflict with their Christian mission — which perplexes some students who note that Duquesne, Dayton and Notre Dame approved Muslim and Jewish student clubs. Dayton and Duquesne have also approved gay student groups. “The only difference between us and them is our club’s agenda does not assume the existence of the Judeo-Christian God,” said Stephen Love, 21, a Notre Dame student whose application was rejected twice. “I think those clubs should be allowed, but if they are going to use that line of reasoning to reject us they should be consistent.”

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 01:53:37 UTC | #887750

MilitantApatheist's Avatar Comment 3 by MilitantApatheist

Regardless if it is a "religious school," it is also an American school and should respect the right to reasonable free speech.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 02:02:51 UTC | #887753

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 4 by Neodarwinian

Everywhere I hear theists triumphantly extolling the religious gains of this age. Then I read something like this and know that their words are hollow and their time as triumphant over reason is coming to an end.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 02:19:36 UTC | #887757

EtotheiPi's Avatar Comment 5 by EtotheiPi

They should contact the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 02:28:38 UTC | #887759

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 6 by Sjoerd Westenborg

Hmm.. it's a thin line to walk for the school, allowing groups of other abrahamic religions, but not atheists. If it was just a public school singling out atheists it would be a clear-cut case. But Catholic School or not, allowing atheists a platform in their school would not only benefit closeted atheists. It would also open up internal dialogue, hopefully leading to better understanding by all parties concerned.

Am I being too optimistic/idealistic here?

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 02:38:01 UTC | #887761

Atheist Mike's Avatar Comment 7 by Atheist Mike

@comment 2

The concept of a Catholic school is irrational in itself, if the Catholics think it's nice to have muslims and jews around now it's really not anyone's business. Besides, atheism is the lack of belief in god, why would they need clubs for the lack of something and how could it possibly be appropriate in such an institution?

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 02:42:06 UTC | #887762

Pittamina's Avatar Comment 8 by Pittamina

If the students knew it was a Catholic college, perhaps they could have applied to a different one instead. That there should be religous schools or colleges in the first place is an important issue, in a society which should not allow discrimination of any sort. But while there are still such establishments, which are not against the law, then it is understandable that these should want to encourage those with a similar philosophy to their own to be students. Although religious groups from different faiths are allowed, theoretically, the three monotheistic religions are supposed to worship the same god, but atheists obviously worship no god. Believers are much more accepting of believers from different faiths than they are of those with no faith at all.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 02:50:46 UTC | #887763

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 9 by susanlatimer

Comment 7 by Atheist Mike

I was responding specifically to your last statement:

If they don't want to have to pretend to be catholics they simply shouldn't be in a Catholic school.

I wasn't trying to nitpick. I was just narrowing down the facts from the article.

If you're suggesting that the University reserves the right to make the final decision about what clubs they sponsor, I'm not saying I disagree with you. I have to think it through. One could argue on the other side for an academic principle of open discourse. This isn't necessarily a purely legal question.

I was just trying to say that the issue isn't about them not being Catholic.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 03:06:00 UTC | #887766

Functional Atheist's Avatar Comment 10 by Functional Atheist

Many colleges and universities have only a loose, or historical, association with a particular denomination. So long as the school does not require some sort of explicit endorsement of a specific religious tradition, it ought to allow these groups on the same principle that they allow other groups that they do not specifically endorse.

In other words, if a Christian college or university permits a Jewish student alliance, or a similar Muslim group, there is no logical reason for them to disallow a Freethinker's group.

But then, having an expectation of logic when dealing with these college and university administrators is rather naive.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 03:09:38 UTC | #887767

A. R's Avatar Comment 11 by A. R

If atheists were the type to whine about persecution, this would be a perfect opportunity. However, we choose to actively fight this sort of irrational policy with reason and logic, instead of executions and crusades. On the flip side, the theists cry persecution when they have nearly as much power as ever. Even the Catholics and Islamists do it. I suppose this is a reflection on the state of mind held with regard to reality.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 03:22:21 UTC | #887771

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 12 by susanlatimer

Comment 8 by Pittamina

Although religious groups from different faiths are allowed, theoretically, the three monotheistic religions are supposed to worship the same god.

Except that Christians don't believe in the god of the Muslims or of the Jews, the Muslims don't believe in the god of the Christians or the Jews and the Jews don't believe in the god of the Christians or the Muslims. Other than that, he's EXACTLY the same guy.

They all believe in Abraham, though.:-)

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 03:22:28 UTC | #887772

EnduranceSwimmer's Avatar Comment 13 by EnduranceSwimmer

I can't say I'm surprised given it is a Catholic school, but what annoys me is that at the same time they say they are excepting of other people's values, which clearly they are not.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 03:43:40 UTC | #887773

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 14 by aquilacane

It's amazing how the internet is changing things. 320 clubs never would have happened so fast without it.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 04:05:13 UTC | #887775

frax71's Avatar Comment 15 by frax71

Comment 12 by susanlatimer :

Comment 8 by Pittamina

Although religious groups from different faiths are allowed, theoretically, the three monotheistic religions are supposed to worship the same god.

Except that Christians don't believe in the god of the Muslims or of the Jews, the Muslims don't believe in the god of the Christians or the Jews and the Jews don't believe in the god of the Christians or the Muslims. Other than that, he's EXACTLY the same guy.

They all believe in Abraham, though.:-)

Quite true, however, I do remember an xtian visiting this site about a year or so ago, who became somewhat irate that people here failed to understand that xtians, muslims and jews all believed in the same god. But he did bow out rather rapidly when asked why they had their own magic books and why they took to slaughtering each other with such relish, simply because the religious rival of the time may well believe in and worship the same god but they just don't do it correctly

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 04:20:50 UTC | #887776

chris 116's Avatar Comment 16 by chris 116

If I were a Catholic I'd be happy to debate with a Jew or a Muslim as they have exactly the same amount of evidence for their beliefs. But I'd steer clear of any atheists: they don't fight fairly.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 04:24:28 UTC | #887777

mjwemdee's Avatar Comment 17 by mjwemdee

It blows my mind that some campuses would not allow this. If we did this with a Muslim group or a Jewish group it would be blatantly wrong, but with nonbelievers it is OK? That is sad.

I work for a University here in the UK. There is not the same obvious prejudice against atheists as in the US, but I have to say that on campus we have the Christian Union, the Jewish society, the Islamic Students group, the Buddhist society, the Sikh society, each with their own chaplain on call. I think there is even an incipient Wiccan group (sigh). However, as yet no secular or freethinkers society, even though I would think it extremely likely that non-belief scores highly in our student population. Another example that cats don't feel the need to be herded, I guess.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 04:43:17 UTC | #887779

mmurray's Avatar Comment 18 by mmurray

Some research is always a good thing.

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

The University of Dayton (abbreviated and commonly referred to as UD) is a private Roman Catholic university operated by the Society of Mary located in Dayton, Ohio. The full-time undergraduate student enrollment is around 7,500, and total student enrollment is about 11,000.

The University of Dayton is one of the ten largest Catholic schools in the United States and is the largest of the three Marianist universities in the nation. It is also home to one of the largest campus ministry programs in the world. The university offers more than 70 academic programs in arts and sciences, business administration, education and allied professions, engineering and law. It was first in the country to offer an undergraduate degree program in human rights.

So not a university which only has a loose Catholic tradition. But I do like the the irony of that last line.

If you look at the admissions page no sign that you have to be a Catholic or have any religion. I would have thought that would be illegal in the US even for a private university. A lot of discussion of scholarships and funding. Seems that the fowls of the air would need a scholarship to attend as they neither sew nor reap.

Some more irony on the actual university website:

The University of Dayton is a Catholic, Marianist university. What does that mean to you? It means you will, of course, find a strong Catholic presence on campus, but you'll also find much more. You'll find a community of compassionate individuals who believe knowledge is the key to solving issues on a global scale and moving society forward. You'll discover expressions of faith in many ways, whether through worship at a late-night Sunday Mass in the student neighborhood or through a commitment to service and social justice. You'll have the freedom to define what faith means to you.

As Marianists, we are a worldwide family of Catholic brothers, priests, sisters and committed lay people. Our spirit of hospitality and inclusiveness permeates campus. What distinguishes us is our constant seeking of truth and knowledge in our overall mission to improve the world.

We ask big questions and take action in all realms of knowledge — the arts, sciences, religion, business, education, engineering and law.

We lead and we serve because we believe that the more people we help to develop compassionate hearts and critical minds, the better our world will be.

Sounds like they have a similar mission to RDF :-)

Michael

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 05:08:12 UTC | #887781

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 19 by ZenDruid

I wonder how a Gnostic club would get along in schools like that.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 05:40:30 UTC | #887786

A. R's Avatar Comment 20 by A. R

mmurray: Of course just because they say that they are inclusive doesn't mean they are. The Christians have been proving this for 1000 years.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 06:06:54 UTC | #887787

msloane's Avatar Comment 21 by msloane

If the school takes public (tax payer) money - then the school shouldn't have the right to refuse non theists.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 06:25:02 UTC | #887789

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 22 by rod-the-farmer

Late one night over pizza, University of Dayton students Branden King and Nick Haynes discovered neither of them believed in God.

Not the first time I have heard that pizza causes atheism. Herman Cain, Republican/religious candidate for President of the USA, no longer works for the pizza company. Did he find out the truth about pizza ?

Devils Food Cake, on the other hand, is mis-named, and cannot provide any evidence, even apocryphal.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 09:49:25 UTC | #887800

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 23 by Rich Wiltshir

A 'catholic school' is merely another limb of the institution's recruitment, indoctrination and management process; it would be surprising if their heirarchy sponsored an interest group that's spearheaded by intelligence and reason.

There's some validity (though it's a perversion atop a perversion) in the query 'why go to a catholic school if you're not catholic?' Though I can't put a number to it, comments from RD.net and elsewhere suggest that atheism is an emergant observation, frequently surfacing during our years in education. When the thuggery and buggery of the rcc loses influence and control (on society and individuals) atheism seems the most likely high ground on which to settle and observe 'enemy' maneouvring?

I can't help but chuckle at the notion they;d sponsor an islamic bomb factory whilst pour scorn on reasoned, intelligent, scientific and common sense interest groups.

But who'd expect reason from a cult of any stripe?

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 11:56:53 UTC | #887820

mmurray's Avatar Comment 24 by mmurray

Comment 1 by Atheist Mike :

...I have a bit of a problem with that. It's a religious school, yes it's stupid but what's even more silly is going against the specific requirement of a specific institution. If they don't want to have to pretend to be catholics they simply shouldn't be in a Catholic school.

I thought that in the US of A most kids had university paid for by parents remortgaging the house or similar ? In that case they are going to the university their parents choose for them. Guess what they choose if they are catholic parents.

Note also that this page from wikipedia says that having a religious requirement would be illegal:

United States In the U.S., many universities and colleges are private, operated as educational and research nonprofit organizations. Some of the most prestigious universities in the U.S. are actually private universities. Examples include Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

While most liberal arts colleges are likewise private, there are also some public liberal arts colleges. Some private universities are closely affiliated with religious organizations (for example, the University of Notre Dame) and some are directly operated by religious organizations (such as Brigham Young University).

An emerging practice in the sector of private colleges and universities is for investors to procure struggling private non-profit colleges or universities in order to salvage or expand the institution. When investors are involved with the institution, it consequently changes the status of the institution from non-profit to for-profit; such as in the case of United States University. Proprietary colleges are also private though they are most often referred to as proprietary colleges to prevent confusion with non-profit private institutions.

Like government-operated institutions, private universities are eligible for educational accreditation, but some private universities (primarily proprietary colleges) lack accreditation (see list of unaccredited institutions of higher learning), and their degrees are not formally recognised.

Legally, private universities may not discriminate, but generally have a somewhat free hand in setting admissions policies. For example, universities in the Ivy League based their selections on many secondary factors other than academic performance, up through the beginning of the 20th century.[20] Since the post WW2-era, however, following in the mold of James Bryant Conant at Harvard, most private universities have made enormous strides in becoming meritocratic. The nation's private institutions now make broad efforts to recruit students from underprivileged backgrounds.

The U.S. system of education has also been transplanted to other countries. Private universities such as the American University in Cairo and the American University of Afghanistan typically offer a liberal arts curriculum to their students. Tuition fees at private universities tend to be higher than at public universities though many private universities offer financial aid as well.[21

Michael

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 12:12:27 UTC | #887822

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 25 by Peter Grant

This is religious discrimination, plain and simple. It's religionists discriminating for stupid religious reasons. Why should you have to pretend to believe in God to attend a Catholic school? Us rational people can't choose what we believe.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 12:13:35 UTC | #887823

Flapjack's Avatar Comment 26 by Flapjack

For me the litmus test of whether this is fair would be a hypothetical situation where you had a purely atheist learning institution. Would that permit closet theists to have a club under the same umbrella? Tricky to say as most such institutions are secular, but for the sake of argument would you permit a messageboard purely for the theists in our midst on RD net to exchange ideas and discuss god between themselves? It's hard to find a direct correlation. The wider issue is whether there should be such things as Catholic schools and Universities in a supposedly secular society, but given that there are such places it's hardly a surprise that they won't fund an atheist club. I have a friend who joined a buddhist commune, then decided he wasn't a buddhist anymore and went on to some other sect. He still lingered in the buddhist commune for a year or two after jacking in his belief, in spite of his bedsit being set aside for believers. I'm no theist, but I would say what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If we don't support theistic splinter groups under our own institutional remits it's a bit unfair to expect expressly Catholic universities to fund the atheists in their midst.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 12:23:05 UTC | #887825

some asshole's Avatar Comment 27 by some asshole

Comment 1 by Atheist Mike :

...I have a bit of a problem with that. It's a religious school, yes it's stupid but what's even more silly is going against the specific requirement of a specific institution. If they don't want to have to pretend to be catholics they simply shouldn't be in a Catholic school.

It's not so simple. I went to a Catholic college. It was the one best suited to me because of a number of factors: It was the only one in my area that would accept the credits I had accrued at another institution; it had the program I wanted; it was the size I was looking for (small), and so on. Should I have had to go to a school that was a poor fit for me just so I was treated equally?

What I have a problem with is someone actually believing it's wrong for secular colleges to discriminate against religious students, but it's alright for religious (even nominally religious) colleges to discriminate against nonreligious students.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 13:23:26 UTC | #887842

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 28 by Red Dog

Comment 12 by susanlatimer :

Comment 8 by Pittamina

Although religious groups from different faiths are allowed, theoretically, the three monotheistic religions are supposed to worship the same god.

Except that Christians don't believe in the god of the Muslims or of the Jews, the Muslims don't believe in the god of the Christians or the Jews and the Jews don't believe in the god of the Christians or the Muslims. Other than that, he's EXACTLY the same guy.

They all believe in Abraham, though.:-)

That's overly simplistic. The Muslims do believe in Jesus and Mary. They are mentioned several times in the Koran and Jesus is seen as one of the most important prophets of Islam. They just don't believe in the holy trinity idea which wasn't in the new testament and was an add on of the Catholic church. And the Christians do believe in the old testament God. They believe that Jesus is the mesiah that was prophesised in the old testament. In fact the "old testament" is more or less just the original Jewish bible or Torah.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:26:18 UTC | #887863

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 29 by Red Dog

Comment 27 by some asshole :

Comment 1 by Atheist Mike :

...I have a bit of a problem with that. It's a religious school, yes it's stupid but what's even more silly is going against the specific requirement of a specific institution. If they don't want to have to pretend to be catholics they simply shouldn't be in a Catholic school.

It's not so simple. I went to a Catholic college. It was the one best suited to me because of a number of factors: It was the only one in my area that would accept the credits I had accrued at another institution; it had the program I wanted; it was the size I was looking for (small), and so on. Should I have had to go to a school that was a poor fit for me just so I was treated equally?

What I have a problem with is someone actually believing it's wrong for secular colleges to discriminate against religious students, but it's alright for religious (even nominally religious) colleges to discriminate against nonreligious students.

I can't see it. I could never have gone to a Catholic college. Even if you are studying the hard sciences you still have to take some classes in liberal arts and those classes will be incredibly biased in terms of how they view history, philosophy, and religion. Also, its hard for me to believe that you are really going to find the best engineers and scientists teaching at a Catholic college anyway.

And in any case going to college is as much about the experience of meeting and debating with peers and professors. Why would any non-catholic choose to go to a Catholic school and have to interact with primarily a bunch of Catholics? How boring. And when you go to a Catholic school aren't you supposed to sign something as part of the admission that says you agree with their core beliefs?

I agree these people should have the right to organize and its wrong for the college to discriminate. But I just can't understand why any atheist would choose to go to a Catholic college in the first place.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 14:33:03 UTC | #887867

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 30 by susanlatimer

Comment 28 by Red Dog

That's overly simplistic. The Muslims do believe in Jesus and Mary. They are mentioned several times in the Koran and Jesus is seen as one of the most important prophets of Islam. They just don't believe in the holy trinity idea which wasn't in the new testament and was an add on of the Catholic church. And the Christians do believe in the old testament God. They believe that Jesus is the mesiah that was prophesised in the old testament. In fact the "old testament" is more or less just the original Jewish bible or Torah.

I'm aware of what these Abrahamic gods have in common. What I was getting at is that each god has a different plan for the universe, gives different orders, makes different promises, etc. Although they are all "gods" of Abraham, they have morphed into separate gods. While some people define it as three religions believing in different ways of worship, I think THAT's simplistic. I think each of these gods of Abraham has become a distinct entity, at odds with the other two. Not the same guy. Factor in the schisms within each of these faiths and we're dealing with an awful lot of "gods" of Abraham.

Sun, 06 Nov 2011 20:05:44 UTC | #887960