Ask an Athiest: Secular club welcomes all


Some students struggle with telling others their beliefs, especially when the question of one’s faith is brought up. Some students will not admit their beliefs for fear of judgment.

Emily Eppens

At the free-speech zone near Parks Library and the Hub, members of the Atheist and Agnostic Society stood at their booth answering questions and giving information to students passing by.

Every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the club sets up its booth, “Ask an Atheist.” On the booth, there are multiple pamphlets, resources and a sign-up sheet so students can receive emails about speakers and events the club hosts throughout the year.

Atheism is the lack of belief in gods, according to An agnostic is a person who does not have a definite belief in God and believes there is no way to prove a God exists, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 

Alexandra Mielke, junior in psychology and the president of the club, says that the group’s goal is to speak out for the atheists, agnostics and people who are still discovering what they believe.

“There [are] actually not as many [atheists] on campus as people think,” Mielke said. “Christians make up a majority of the American population, a fact I don’t think a lot of people know.”

There are about 24 groups on campus registered as Christian or the belief in one God while the Atheist and Agnostic Society is the only registered secular group.

Christjahn Beck, senior in political science and club vice president, said he hopes that the group will be encouraging to others who struggle with their belief systems.

“People think we’re strange sometimes because they don’t understand how you can have a club about not believing in anything,” Beck said. “We get a lot of questions asking us what we believe.”

The group meets in the Memorial Union on Monday nights and acts as a support and discussion group for students who are atheist or agnostic.

Throughout the school year, the group has various speakers, including Dan Barker, president of the Freedom of Religion organization. The group discusses how to tell its families about its beliefs, and how to interact with people of different religion.

“I joined a couple weeks ago at Clubfest,” said Dallas “Tex” Nicholson, freshman in computer science. “I really wanted to find a secular group that I could connect with. So far, it’s been really cool.”

The group has participated in events with some of the Christian organizations on campus, one of the favorites being “dunk the atheist” outside the Salt Company’s kickoff event in August. The dunk event was a way for the group to raise money for speakers and other club events.

“We encourage debate,” Mielke said. “We want to stand out on campus as a group that isn’t harsh or demeaning.”

For more information on the Atheist and Agnostic Society and other student groups, visit the ISU student clubs and organizations page.