Students Form New Secular Organization

Extracurricular Discussion Group Spawned From Harvard Free Thought Society

Harvard students who "don't believe" can now disbelieve together, since the University recognized the Harvard Secular Society as a student organization last week.

The dozen-member group, which meets to discuss issues pertaining to atheism, agnosticism, secularism, skepticism and the separation of church and state, spawned this spring from the Harvard Free Thought Society, said President Derek C. Araujo '99.

The Free Thought Society, which began as an organization for agnostics and atheists, has since been transformed into an open philosophical organization, said Araujo.

The Secular Society was formed to fill in the gap between the Free Thought Society and the many religious organizations on campus, Araujo said.

"There are a lot of support mechanisms for the various religious groups, to get together and talk about their faith," said Treasurer Christopher R. Hall '99.


"I feel there needs to be something set up for people who don't believe, where they can talk about their lack of faith," he said.

The society has already begun to plan events for the rest of the semester.

The club has booked several lecturers, including Boston University Professor Michael Martin, who is known for his books on atheism such as The Big Domino in the Sky.

The Christian Fellowship has already challenged the society to a debate over the existence of God, Araujo said.

The society, however, is having some difficulties in attracting new members, Hall said.

"I think people don't know about the organization," he said. "One of the problems we're finding is that a lot of people who might join the organization are agnostics and don't really care...but that's fine."

Plans are also underway to have joint meetings with a similar group at MIT, Araujo said.