Since the freshers fair here last Sunday I've been thinking, why is there no athiest society? I mean, I've looked, and we have 7 faith-based societies, 3 of them christian, 3 chaplaincies attatched to the university for various denominations of christianity, a 'fusion' centre where christians can go to talk to each other, but no society for those who don't have faith.
And that's not even touching on my issues with the christian union. The christian union are militant evangelists. Over the years I've been here I've seen them use all sorts of tactics. In fact, I'm going to give you a numbered list -
1. Today I ran across a big sign that said "Free lunch" then seeing in small letters at the bottom "and a lecture from the CU"...no thanks. I've seen, over the years, the use of ice cream, barbeques and sports events as a front to preach to unsuspecting people, who just wanted lunch.
2. The CU has almost a monopoly on foreign student welcome events. To me, that is praying on vulnerable people, who have just moved away to a new country, and, again, as with the general posters, you really need to pay attention to realise these are CU events from the posters.
3. This leads me to point three, now, this could just be people in the CU and not the CU's general policy but as well as targetting vulnerable foreign students, I've also seen them target vulnerable freshers. They tried it on my a few times, approaching me when I was eating alone in the student halls canteen to 'lend support' about my faith. To me, in both these cases, deliberatley targetting vulnerable people and creating an environment where they can be accepted and loved only if they believe in your sky fairy is just wrong.
4. Posters evreywhere. They haven't got into full swing this year yet but at the end of my second year you, quite literally, couldn't go to the toilet without being faced down by a CU poster.
5. Evangelising at lunch. Now, I'm actually hoping for this one this year and may spend some time sat alone in the guild seating area to achieve it, but the CU have a habit of lurking then approaching people sitting alone, two CU people to one person sat alone (or, much more occasionally, two people sat together) and disturbing their break by talking to them and not leaving. I've had this one twice and nearly everyone I've talked to about it (an admitedly limited sample) has been approached at least once.
6. They show contempt to non-christians. Yep, I reject your faith. I grew up in faith. I went to sunday school. I'm not an athiest becasue I'm ignorant of your faith, I'm an athiest becasue I know enough about it to think, quite frankly, that it's silly. So educating me about 'what christians believe' will not help the situation.
So, I don't like them. I'm the kind of person at the moment where I don't have a shit what you believe, as long as you leave me out of it. I mean, in a small group of friends, chatting about yourselves, these things come up and it's fine, and I have no trouble with the CU meeting and even putting up the odd poster. I have an issue with them being omnipresent. I have an issue with the fact that I can't go to the toilet without knowing about them. I hate that they target vulnerable people. It's not the religeon I'm objecting to (at the moment), it's the group.
So, I have a plan. This plan has three steps.
1. If you see a CU flyer and it's possible, bin it.
2. If you see a CU poster, deface the poster with comments exposing their bullshit. They have a habit of phrasing their meeting slogan as questions, answer then on the poster from an athiest perspective.
3. If the CU hold any 'science' based talks, as they claim to have done before, attend and do not play nice. Read up before-hand, have questions ready, fight.
4. And, of course, the obvious, if they approach you don't pull punches and play nice athiest, they're going to try and convert me then I'm sure as hell going to try to convert them too.
The CU has a right to advertise, and I have a right to protest to that, and that's exactly what I'm going to do.
If I had more free time and I'd thought of it before freshers fair I'd have founded the athiest society. You live and learn, I guess.