Saturday, 23 July 2011

Those lucky secular students

A recent post by Matt Dillahunty on the Atheist Experience blog, about a secular students association (the Secular Student Alliance to be more precise), got me thinking about students associations. I have never been a member of a students association, except the casting of students plays. In my time here in English universities, I was surprised by the very strong presence of the Christian Union. It was something so surreal to me. We have our Christians in Québec, of course, but they were never that open. Members of the Christian Unions, mainly girls, were everywhere when I was doing my MA and PhD. I had a friend who was among them, a very nice person overall, but who I think was trying to convert me. They were preying (praying, preying, funny double entendre here) on foreign students: I spent an hour with my Greek and Italian friends in the Christian Union playing Twister. I didn't convert.

They were preying on drunken students too: they were making toasts and tea right next to the university's bar (I might have told this anecdote before here). I ate the toasts, drank the tea, it lessened my hangover the next day. Oh and I argued/debated with them. I was not at my best because I was fairly drunk, but I think I managed nevertheless to expose their contradictions. I was surprised to see that they were mainly creationists and thought it was moral to think that unbelievers (and wrong believers: Jews, Catholics and so on) were doomed to Hell. I asked them why I would even want to worship such a vain, immoral God, even if he existed.

I learned recently that there is now a secular/atheist association in my British alma mater, linked to the British Humanist Association. I wish there had been a thing like this when I was a student there. It would have opened me to a community I was already a part on but yet didn't know much or anything about (heck I didn't know I was an atheist). It would have helped me develop my critical thinking. And it would have given me something productive to do outside of classes and rehearsals. I envy this generations of students. This is what university life is all about: opening horizons.

1 comment:

PJ said...

Honnêtement, je préfère vivre mon athéisme en loup solitaire. Les associations je suis pas contre, mais c'est pas mon truc. Une troupe de théatre, un club de danse en ligne, une équipe de soccer, une ligue d'échecs, un groupe de lecture, tout ça c'est le genre d'association plus "pratique" personellement, bien que je reconnais l'utilité des regroupements non-religieux pour contre-balancer les nombreux prêcheurs. C'est juste qu'un moment donné, les antireligieux qui s'y trouvent finissent par me tomber sur les nerfs aussi.

C'est pour ça que je retombe sur la sagesse de Brassens: sitôt qu'on est plus de quatre, on est une bande de cons.