Higher Education, Spirituality, and Atheism

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Will Barratt, Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Indiana State University, came on the show to discuss one of the least discussed identities in student affairs — atheist. Will shared his perspective on the lack of discourse on atheism in higher education and student affairs.

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  • http://twitter.com/mi_chelle Michelle Sargent

    Great intro to the topic Eric! I would love to see atheist students on your show, voicing their experiences on campus. May be room for a student panel of varying religious and non-religious beliefs who could discuss how they practice on campus, if they feel there’s enough support, if religion is a topic that comes up with classmates, etc. Definitely room for more constructive discussion around this. 

  • http://twitter.com/peacox Paul Cox

    Completely agree with Will Barrat’s comments on understanding your own beliefs as well as those of others.  Ignorance of these, in my opinion, can only lead to blind dogma, misunderstanding, and sad acts of hate.  Let knowledge and respect be your guide.

  • Drogers

    I had to listen to this again this morning. When I listened last week I felt mildly offended twice.  Will said that “they are told that the only thing between them and the world of evil and sin is their religion”  I can assure you I was never told that and don’t know anyone who was.  Am I being persnickety…probably but I think the generalizations towards believers were unfortunately as prevalent as the generalizations about atheists that you were tying to addres.  I do not attend church to “search for meaning, companionship and fellowship”.  I attend because of my faith…because I believe.  The other is a value added but not even close to the primary reason.

    I think that is what probably bothered me most about the references of religion on the show…the word faith was not mentioned that I can remember.  One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Mark 9:24. It ends with the words “Lord I believe, help my unbelief”  My grandfather, a Lutheran pastor told me that if you were not questioning your faith and your beliefs then you weren’t growing in your faith.  I appreciate and can agree that the athiest voices are not as present on campus as they could be, or probably need to be. 
    I can also own that my own “unabashedly” faith-filled perspective is not as present as it should be.  As “religion” in society is increasingly polarizing, I struggle with sharing the joy my faith brings me, and the centering and the grounding and the hope it brings me. I do understand that I have Christian privilege, and like my other privileges I try very hard (not always successfully) to use it to address issues of justice.
    I am all over the place…wanted this to be a blog post but couldn’t quite get it together.  I appreciate the topic and the opportunity it gave me to reflect.  Possibly more to come.

  • http://twitter.com/eolsencreative Eric Olsen

    Christianity is a cultural default in America. So, it’s a safe “claim”. Identifying as an atheist softly claims a rejection of this norm. An intentional choice to “not” believe. So, although we joked on the episode about how few “evangelical atheists” there are, this may be the only kind of “group” on campus worth joining.

    If you believe in the power of truth, believe that this truth is not compatible with God, and believe that others are better off sharing this belief.

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