Atheists at Augsburg? Absurd.

Anya Cleaver

Hey, raise your hand if an atheist group seems like a weird addition at Augsburg? Okay, great. Now, raise your hand if you think atheist is synonymous with Satanism, or Devil worship? Cool, thanks.

Myself and a few others here at Augsburg have put plans in motion to form an atheist, agnostic, and secular humanist organization on campus. Our main goal is not to convert others from faith to anti-faith, or to protest at chapel every third Tuesday and second Friday of the month… that’s just silly. Our main goal is to educate the wider Augsburg community on atheism, agnosticism, and secular humanism in an effort to show others that we are here and not about to burn holy scriptures—we promise.

According to Webster’s Online Dictionary, atheism is defined as “a disbelief in the existence of deity.” Agnosticism, however, is simply someone “who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or gods,” and humanism is “a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual’s dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason.” Now, doesn’t that just sound peachy?

In no part of those descriptions was the word “hate” or the idea of rejecting faith. We respect you, various religiously-inclined individuals. Honestly, we do. All we ask in return of that respect, is that you respect us, and allow us to be known.

Some people are probably wondering why we bother to go a religious university, and, well, what a fantastic question. In all honesty, I thought it would be pretty interesting to attend a Christian school merely for the idea of open dialogue because I, like many atheists, enjoy a strong pious-centered conversation/debate/battle. I like to rock the boat. That, and the fact that Augsburg is a super inviting place to be if you happen to not fit every specific that the original students had indoctrinated.

I feel safe here, I just want people to know that’s where I am: here.

For more information about newly forming AASH (Augsburg Atheists & Secular Humanists), contact Anya Cleaver at

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