A group of students is using a Facebook group, described as a place for Horned Frogs who don’t believe in a deity or afterlife, as a segue to implementing an alternative religious organization on campus.Joshua Donnoe, founder of the Facebook group “Secular Humanists are People Too!”, said he knows his beliefs are in the minority at TCU, but also knows there are other students who don’t follow any religion.
To bring these students together, Donnoe said he is currently working to have his idea for a club become part of the more than 20 officially recognized religious organizations at TCU. The club would be called the Student Association of Secular Humanists, said the sophomore math major.
“There is no community for us. We don’t organize, we’re just sort of unrepresented,” Donnoe said, “SASH would exist to promote a positive image of secular humanism and interact with the TCU student body in much the same way that any student religious organization would.”
Donnoe said in order to establish his club, he, along with the eight other TCU student members of the Facebook group, must construct a constitution, acquire an official secular humanist faculty adviser and attain 10 signatures from students who are in support of the club.
Donnoe said the group has already obtained seven signatures through networking in its Facebook group.
Donnoe said he used to describe himself as an atheist, but said this term is inaccurate because it describes more of what you’re not.
Like the rest of his Facebook group, Donnoe now describes himself as a Secular Humanist, which he defines as one who promotes the good will of humankind without a mandate from a deity. He said this term is different from atheism because it’s more positive.
However, although he doesn’t believe in a deity or afterlife, Donnoe said he does “still have morals, which some people are surprised by.”
Donnoe said the idea for this club originally came about through a lighthearted conversation with a secular friend of his a year ago in which Donnoe jokingly said the two of them should meet while everyone else is at church. Donnoe said the idea to construct the Facebook group sprung from there.
Rev. Angela Kaufman, minister to the university, said secular humanism is not a religion, but more of an ideology.
“I think the way he went about it is innovative,” said Kaufman, commenting on Donnoe’s method of creating a religious organization.
One of the eight members of the Facebook group, Eric Stone, said he agrees an alternative to traditional religion is needed.
“What I find least appealing about most Western religion, is the belief that our world is only a stepping stone to heaven,” said Stone, a junior English and philosophy major. “Most religions seem to be a religion of death, requiring you die to experience paradise.”
Donnoe said so far he hasn’t received opposition to starting this club. He said he and the rest of the group believe they have a good chance to “put out the (other) word,” as the Facebook page reads.