As its membership rapidly increases, the Secular Student Alliance (SSA) of ASU, an atheist student organization, works to build a community of people to make Jonesboro a better place through charity work.
SSA President and ASU senior T.J. Burgess said "We've seen a dramatic increase in interest and attendance at our functions and it's a very exciting time for us."
Burgess wants ASU students to understand the SSA is not a typical group of atheists and that stereotypes do not apply to them.
"We have members who are agnostic, atheists, humanists, skeptics and students who are just looking for answers about life but don't follow old traditions when it comes to all the pitfalls of organized religion," Burgess said.
The SSA is a group of students who believe in a moral world and want to make Jonesboro a better place through participation in charity work of many kinds.
Building a community for those people at ASU who identify themselves as non-religious is paramount to Burgess.
"What we're trying to do is promote logical thinking and educate ourselves and others about religion, nontheism, antitheism, all while building understanding and tolerance. Atheism is the search for fact, not truth," Burgess said.
The members of the SSA stress that religious people have been incorrectly and unfairly defining atheism and agnosticism for far too long and the best way to combat those inaccuracies is to participate in their organization.
Members of the SSA said it is a place where people can share ideas freely without the fear of punishment from a church or a God that will eternally condemn you to Hell.
Free thinking and critical inquiry about everything from science to nature to the existence of God is all up for debate in the SSA.
"We are a group of students on campus who are here saying ‘We are not Christian, we do not believe in any gods, and we are capable of making the world a better place through charitable work, and we are the Secular Student Alliance." Burgess said.
SSA member Pamela Masterson said students don't have to believe in a higher power to be a moral person, and a moral compass isn't found only in the Bible.
"We are moral people and we are atheist," Masterson said. "If you want to be a good, moral person, you don't need the Bible. We live morally because we choose to do so."
The SSA welcomes all students to its meetings to express their points of view and join in an effort to make Jonesboro a better place.
"I think inevitably we all have similar goals in many important ways, especially with Christians in that we also want to volunteer in charity work and help the poor," SSA member Melissa Lawson said.
"There's no reason why we can't work with people of different faiths in helping to better the world around us."
The SSA is willing to work with a diverse group of student organizations on charity work and to be a productive part of the ASU student body.
Their focus, instead of in a higher power, is one of logic, reason and science.
Read it all here.
This is from my local paper, the area in which I have been an educator for many years in both public and private schools. Unfortunately, most of these students have never had a genuine exposure to scientific evidence touching on religion and the Bible. Therefore their assumptions are for the most part unexamined and untenable.