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Student organization dispels rumors, misconceptions about Atheism

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Marshall University’s Secular Student Alliance allowed other students to ask its members questions about atheism and secularism Thursday in the Memorial Student Center.

SSA is a student organization that focuses on educating other students on the beliefs and practices of nontheists, described by the organization as “individuals who do not believe in a higher power, supreme being or supernatural entities.”

Several members of SSA set up a table in the MSC lobby in conjunction with Ask an Atheist Day, an annual event that allows the organization’s members to share their beliefs and answer any questions other students may have.

“I remember growing up in schools here and it came out that I wasn’t a Christian and I wasn’t treated very well,” said David Hulburt, a senior secondary education social studies major. “Even today I tell people I’m an atheist and they don’t really understand what that means.”

Hulburt said allowing students to ask questions who are curious about people with either different ideologies than him, or ones they have thought of, helps to bridge the gap between different students. He said this starts with understanding other viewpoints.

“Atheism is the most mistrusted minority in this country,” Hulburt said. “Especially in this part of the country, we want to tear down that stigma and show people what we really believe and dispel any types of rumors and misconceptions.”

Hulburt and Maggie Capehart, SSA director of events and hospitality and senior civil engineering major, said their goals include breaking down religious and social barriers in the government and between people on a personal level.

“We are not here to be aggressive. We are not here to be anti-god or anti-religion necessarily,” Capehart said. “We’re just trying to promote activism in the government and in our lives.”

Students of all religious or non-religious backgrounds are able to join SSA. Capehart said SSA is about recognizing all points of view and making sure everyone is heard.

Ryan Murphy can be contacted at [email protected]

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