President of a CHRISTIAN University’s student body comes out as an atheist – and receives hugs!

IT’S being reported that Eric Fromm, 21, has received a lot of hugs on campus lately — at least once a day since he “came out” as an atheist last week in an article in his Christian university’s online newspaper.

And while the Northwest Christian University student body President doesn’t quite know what to do with all the new attention he’s receiving, he says it’s a welcome change from the isolation, verbal attacks and accusing questions that he’d grown to expect as rumours about his non-belief circulated.

I don’t have to hide anymore. I know that people accept me for who I am.

Eric Fromm

Eric Fromm: who wouldn’t want to hug him?

Though his active campus involvement was enough to win him the student government presidential election, Fromm said he’s felt judged by some of his peers throughout college because, as he wrote in the article that appeared in the school’s Beacon Bolt.

I couldn’t force myself to believe in God.

It was his peers’ criticism, rather than his own doubts, that Fromm said ultimately compelled him to reject his faith. Fromm said he had beens baptised and attended a Methodist church regularly until his parents’ divorce when he was a teen.

He said he had many questions still lurking from his upbringing in the Christian church when he arrived in 2010 to study communications at NCU, which was established in 1895 and is nestled next to the much-larger University of Oregon campus. As a graduate of the 1,600-­student Canby High School, Fromm said he opted for NCU, despite his emerging doubts, because he liked the communications programme and the one-on-one attention he knew he would receive from his professors on the 600-student college campus.

While initially drawn to his peers’ faith and sense of community, Fromm said some students responded with shock, shame or fear when he divulged his doubts and lack of faith. Some avoided bringing up the Bible around him, some stopped talking to him for fear of losing their own faith, and others poked fun at him for his views, he said.

Fromm said he wasn’t keen about going public but felt forced to set the record straight as rumours about how he viewed Christians and Christianity circulated on the small campus. Prior to his article’s appearance, he worried that students and admini­strators might reject him or challenge his presidency.

According to this report, Fromm said he was baptised a Lutheran and raised a Methodist, but that, over time, he began to develop the belief that:

God wasn’t real.

He added:

I knew that the school catered to Christian thinking, so before I enrolled, I visited the campus to make sure that the chapel services were comfortable enough that I could fulfill the requirement. No one was speaking in tongues or handling snakes, so I decided to stay.

In his op-ed, Fromm described often struggling during university chapel services, as he found himself wanting to be a part of the excitement and energy, but he said he couldn’t force belief in God upon himself. From there, Fromm took aim at some of the Christians on campus who have treated him differently since they found out he’s a non-believer. He called it ironic that these same people who now scoff at him would often complain about how they were treated in high school as a result of their Christian views.

When people found out that I was an atheist, they started treating me differently. Sometimes they would verbally attack me, sometimes they would give me the cold shoulder, and sometimes they just gave me dirty looks.

Michael Fuller, vice president for enrolment and student development at Northwest Christian University, said that he has known about Fromm’s atheism for years and that it did not cause him to question his student body presidency.

He’s a man of very high character and respect. He’s a great advocate for our student body, which is exactly what he’s supposed to be and do.

While Fuller added that the school wishes Eric would be a “strong Christian man”, he went on to say that he wants students like Fromm to be a part of the academic community — individuals “who are looking to explore their faith and willing to look hard and make their faith their own.” Some critics, though, question Fromm’s presidency and charge that a Christian school’s mission cannot be fulfilled by having an atheist student leader at the helm. One critic wrote to the The Register Guard, saying:

With an atheist President, it doesn’t make sense how this mission can be carried out.

HAT TIP: BarrieJohn

14 responses to “President of a CHRISTIAN University’s student body comes out as an atheist – and receives hugs!”

  1. Kai Bråthen says:

    It is great to read what an honest man dare to do. Congratulation!

  2. barriejohn says:

    A predicament I will posit
    Of an atheist trapped in the closet;
    Coming out he was fearful
    But now is quite cheerful –
    That wasn’t so difficult, was it?

  3. Broga says:

    He had nothing to fear but fear itself. For Christians, however, he has become a dangerous contaminant. They know in their very fibre that they are forcing themselves to believe the incredible. No sane person can believe what they claim to believe. No honest person can say that the bible is not contradictory and cruel in its teachings and absurd in its contentions. Surrounded only be those who “believe” they can hold their anxieties in check. When they encounter a sceptic they panic.

    They cannot engage in temperate discussion. They cannot consider facts. And they dare not engage in rational thought. So they lash out, they want to hurt and they want to destroy. We see it on this site where even they merest sliver of doubt must be quashed by the believers who occasionally come here. And they cannot stay too long. The more ferocious their howls, the greater their psychic pain and they leave.

    I think Eric Fromm will find a new and free life opening up and the suffocation from superstition will seem like a nightmare. I admire his courage and he is a fine example to those who hesitate to follow him.

  4. ZombieHunter says:

    That’s one more of us and one less of them 😀

  5. Angela_K says:

    Eric Fromm is indeed an honourable man and a brave man too, for standing up for what he doesn’t believe in among a nest of Christian Vipers. No doubt a smear campaign against this man is in full flow.

    “…some stopped talking to him for fear of losing their own faith”

    How often do we hear this? The religious so terrified their fragile addiction to faith might be cured, just by talking to a rational person; it shows up the weak mindedness of the credulous who, like a Heroin addict, crave their next fix of dogma and eschew any cure.

  6. charlie says:

    Glad he found the courage to be honest with himself. So good he was able to express his doubts and start on the path to truth.

  7. AgentCormac says:

    OT but I thought the following story was interesting. The NSS has apparently instructed law firm Leigh Day, a practice which specialises in human rights, to ‘challenge the religious rite, which stems from the time of King Edgar in AD973 and rests on the belief that God chooses monarchs’ in an attempt to stop Prince Charles from taking a christian coronation oath if, as and when he is crowned king.

    As with the concept of religion, I personally find the idea of monarchy to be archaic and unacceptable in the 21st century (although whereas in my head the royal family are quaint, the vatican et al are fucking evil). So this campaign gets the thumbs up from me.

  8. barriejohn says:

    Angela/Broga/et al: When I was a Christian I was solemnly warned, time and time again, not to associate with “the unsaved”, and not to corrupt my pure mind reading “ungodly” books and periodicals, which might lead me astray. I was supposed to only read material which “strengthened my faith”, and keep company with those who thought as I did (even though Jesus was supposedly the acquaintance of people of a very different type – drunkards and sinners). All sorts of reasons were given for this, but I can see the real reason now. They are terrified that the light of reason will expel the darkness of superstition from their minds.

  9. barriejohn says:

    Take a look at this:

    “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.” (Matt.11:19 KJV)

  10. charlie says:

    While we supposedly do not have royalty here in the US of A, I’m with you on kings etc. Use them as exhibits perhaps or turn them into show places like Dalt Whisney land, etc.
    As to the Vatican and ALL religions, they are a blight on humanity and THE worst thing we humans have ever invented. War is the most pornographic thing we humans invented, and most of our wars have been due to religion. As John Lennon wrote; Imagine, imagine NO religion, no wars, nothing to kill or die for, no heaven above, no hell below. OK, yes, I DID paraphrase a good bit, but you know the song I am sure. I usually play it over and over when depression starts to grab me. At least it is still legal to dream here in the land of the (not so very) free and the home of the (not so very) brave.
    best to all.
    Thank you for all the great links you provide every day my friend.
    cheers from the US of A. Or as I call it; ‘Merikkka (also known as the useless of A)

  11. charlie says:

    Oh nuts, I should have added, doG save the queen………..LOL
    some days the snark gets me, some days I get the snark….LOL

  12. barriejohn says:

    @charlie: My pleasure, but it’s nice to know that they are appreciated!

    “Imagine” had a big influence on me as a young Christian, as did much else that John Lennon said (he was SO right about teachers – how can people whose own minds are messed up possibly sort out emotionally damaged children, yet I witnessed that all the time). Of course, I was beginning to think rationally, so what he was saying resonated with me and helped me to kick the religious habit. He has always been reviled by the right-wing press here, and the Daily Mail still like to stick the knife in his memory whenever they can. They – like the religiots and monarchists – are scared stiff of reason and rationality. That’s why religion is so important to them, as it keeps people supine and controllable. “Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way; Thou art the Potter, I am the clay” – yeah, sure! Here’s another great Lennon quote:

    When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down happy. They told me I didnt understand the assignment, and I told them they didnt understand life.

    And another link which I posted the other day, in case you missed it:

    If you remember the kerfuffle in the States when that was actually said then you’ll really appreciate that one!

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