Intrests blend with secular student alliance

Justin Law

At a young age, Marian Yoder started questioning religion. The junior psychology majors parents started teaching her about many different religions along with science when she was still very young.

“My parents would not only stick to Christianity but also taught us about Judaism and Buddhism,” Yoder said. “My dad would also go into great detail and depth about evolution, more than what I could comprehend, so I started questioning what I believed in.”

It wasn’t until Yoder got a MySpace and saw the word agnostic for the first time that she realized what her belief actually is.

“I got to the part where I had to choose my belief and saw that agnostic was a choice, so I looked up the word,” Yoder said. “Out of everything else I mostly relate to that set of beliefs.”

Yoder carried those beliefs into college and is a co-founder of the new Secular Student Alliance here at USI.

“I really think there is need for this group on campus,” Yoder said. “There’s nothing else like it here at USI, and with it I think we can break the stereotype that people who are not religious are still good people.”

Co-founder Jacob Adams, who identifies as a De facto Atheist, described the group as a secular humanist group that promotes secular thought, endorsing scientific theory and aiding in humanistic resources.

“Our goal is to build a community of non-believers and skeptics of religion to stand up for what they believe in,” Adams said.

The group, however, is not only for people who associate with secular thought but for anyone willing to listen.

“The group will not segregate believers from non-believers, “Adams said. “If you are religious, it’s fine that you come, just be open minded when you walk through the door.”

Even though the group has just started this semester, and yet to hold a meeting, it has generated a following. Over 60 people have liked the group on Facebook, and students are already talking to the founders about joining and getting a leadership position.

Nathan Tamulonis is starting his first semester at USI as a transfer student and is looking to put his marketing skills to good use with the group.

“I would love to get some sort of leadership role with the group,” Tamulonis said. “My interest blend well with the group and think that it has great potential.”

Tamulonis, who identifies as Agnostic leaning towards Christianity, is looking forward to working with other religious groups on campus and setting up a common ground.

“I don’t want people to get the idea that we are anti-religion,” Tamulonis said. “We share similar goals, in that we all want to help out the community and be better people.”

The group’s first meeting is Nov. 3 and is open to anyone.