According to the Britannica Encyclopedia 2005 estimate, 2.3 percent of the world’s population declare themselves as atheist, while an additional 11.9 percent are nonreligious. Although seven states ban atheists from holding public office, Bellevue College provides a club for the representation of atheists in our community.
Members of the Atheist club at Bellevue College partake in courses concerning philosophy, teaching, education, chemical engineering, and other career fields. “Over the past few years, I have enjoyed watching philosophical and religious debates more than playing ‘Skyrim’ and other video games. There are better uses of your time, and a lot more things to learn,” said Christopher Robertson, president of the Atheist Society at Bellevue College.
The club is planning science and history field trips, guest speakers, orderly debates and community service opportunities. Student Secular Alliances throughout the country have been shut down due to hostile environments, and those of the atheist club hope to provide a place for students to openly discuss their ideas about spirituality, welcoming the opinions of theist, nonreligious, and atheist students.
“I’m a Christian, but I came to the club to understand and get the point of view of nonreligious students. I have met very smart and compassionate atheists,” said Gianni Calderon, Bellevue College student.
The atheist club discusses the history of the Bible and origins that come from Babylonian and Egyptian history. “I have read the Bible a couple of times, and I love to hear Christians interpret it,” says Robertson.
Bellevue College does not have an atheist club to deny the existence of a divine deity or god, but to spread knowledge of the fundamentals and misunderstandings that surround atheism. Club members have no intention of restricting the practice of religion, but they wish to prevent enforcement of beliefs on others, or association of Bellevue College atheists with common stereotypes in our society. “Education is the solution to everything,” said Joshua Tzuker, member of the atheist club.
One student, Carl Malec, brought up the ideas expressed in the television special “Through the Wormhole.”
“The series describes the human body as an ecosystem, operated by a tiny heartbeat. Then it expands this explanation to the scale of a city, country, continent, and finally to the entire universe,” said Malec.
Activism is the major focus for Bellevue College’s Atheist Society. “When prayer groups are happening, I want the atheist club to participate in community service projects, write to Congress and fundraise for education programs,” said John Dazey, vice president of the Atheist Society as well as the Bellevue College American Veterans Club.
The Atheist Society is a branch of the new Secular Student Alliance (SSA) of Bellevue College, which just began operating this summer quarter. The SSA is working towards promoting ideals of scientific rationality, secularism, democracy and human-based ethics.
Student secular alliance programs are arranged to establish respect and regard for the voices of nontheistic students. The Atheist Society meets at 148th café every Wednesday and interested students are encouraged to check out links and discussions on the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/AtheistCommunityBC/info.