Joining a fraternity that's influenced by Christianity.
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25-09-2015, 08:36 AM
RE: Joining a fraternity that's influenced by Christianity.
Update for you all - this fraternity is actually a very good group who are all about defying stereotypes. But I've found that people will have their ideas about Greek life and make generalizations whether or not they're really true.

About the religious part. No one takes it seriously. There is a Muslim guy who had some reservations, but he's at ease. I'd say about half the guys in the group are atheists. My big brother (the one appointed to show me the ropes on a more personal level) is also an atheist, and we've had long discussions about this. They see the religious part as just part of a tradition that isn't really hurting anyone (that's debatable).

So i get that no one takes it seriously. But still, it bothers me very much when there is a prayer at each meeting, or that in the pledge ceremony there were made many references to god. I've told them that I will not make any vows to follow a religion or deity to be part of this group, and I will not be ending anything with "so help me god".

I'm still very bothered by this. I can't decide if I will look past it as the rest do, or take it seriously (possibly giving it more thought than it deserves). Other than that, the whole fraternity is great.

They're proud they abolished hazing before most groups because it was a harmful and unnecessary tradition. I wish they would do that with religion.
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25-09-2015, 09:14 AM
RE: Joining a fraternity that's influenced by Christianity.
Is it like, a permanent thing? I mean, why not give it a try and duck out if you don't like it?

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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25-09-2015, 09:29 AM (This post was last modified: 25-09-2015 11:08 PM by kim.)
RE: Joining a fraternity that's influenced by Christianity.
(25-09-2015 08:36 AM)FreeThinker1994 Wrote:  -----

So i get that no one takes it seriously. But still, it bothers me very much when there is a prayer at each meeting, or that in the pledge ceremony there were made many references to god. I've told them that I will not make any vows to follow a religion or deity to be part of this group, and I will not be ending anything with "so help me god".

I'm still very bothered by this. I can't decide if I will look past it as the rest do, or take it seriously (possibly giving it more thought than it deserves). Other than that, the whole fraternity is great.

They're proud they abolished hazing before most groups because it was a harmful and unnecessary tradition. I wish they would do that with religion.

Tradition.
Chances are, this chapter is sponsored by a national fraternity which has established rules of order. However progressive they might seem, they probably can't (won't) set aside certain traditional rituals without some appeal and approval from headquarters.

If many of the other atheist members are so cavalier about the traditions then, why continue them? This might be a question to lay out during one of their "meetings".

Would it be possible to provide this group with the chance to be more inclusive and less derisive? Advise them that actually becoming completely secular would accomplish this. If they say that leaving out the "god stuff" would exclude people of faith, advise them 30 seconds of silence might be a more inclusive ritual of compromise.

For some, fraternities & sororities just present distractions and only create a narrow perspective while others' have their have their horizons expanded in such an environment. Just remember one thing: you would be joining a group of joiners. Are you a joiner or a leader?

Keep your own open perspective and you can thrive anywhere. But keeping that perspective under a rock doesn't do you or anyone around much good.

Pretending something doesn't bother you and doing nothing appears to be traditional. How to break with tradition is entirely up to you.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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25-09-2015, 10:31 AM
RE: Joining a fraternity that's influenced by Christianity.
(25-09-2015 09:29 AM)kim Wrote:  
(25-09-2015 08:36 AM)FreeThinker1994 Wrote:  -----

So i get that no one takes it seriously. But still, it bothers me very much when there is a prayer at each meeting, or that in the pledge ceremony there were made many references to god. I've told them that I will not make any vows to follow a religion or deity to be part of this group, and I will not be ending anything with "so help me god".

I'm still very bothered by this. I can't decide if I will look past it as the rest do, or take it seriously (possibly giving it more thought than it deserves). Other than that, the whole fraternity is great.

They're proud they abolished hazing before most groups because it was a harmful and unnecessary tradition. I wish they would do that with religion.

Tradition.
Chances are, this chapter is sponsored by a national fraternity which has established rules of order. However progressive they might seem, they probably can't (won't) set aside certain traditional rituals without some appeal and approval from headquarters.

If many of the other atheist members are so cavalier about the traditions then, why continue them? This might be a question to lay out during one of their "meetings".

Would it be possible to provide this group with the chance to be more inclusive and less derisive? Advise them that actually becoming completely secular would accomplish this. If they say that leaving out the "god stuff" would exclude people of faith, advise them 30 seconds of silence might be a more inclusive ritual of compromise.

For some, fraternities & sororities just present distractions and only create a narrow perspective while others' have their have their horizons expanded in such an environment. Just remember one thing: you would be joining a group of joiners. Are you a joiner or a leader?

Keep your own open perspective and you can thrive anywhere. But keeping that perspective under a rock doesn't do you or anyone around much good.

Pretending something doesn't bother you and doing nothing appears to be traditional. How to break with tradition is entirely up to you.

You bring up some very good points. Religion is so heavily involved in the tradition of my fraternity that there's even a cross in their emblem. But they were formed at a time when religion really did dominate American culture.

I am going to speak with my big brother about this today.

Ultimately, I'm still just a "pledge". I have 5 more weeks before the actual initiation, until which I could totally determine that this isn't for me.

Thanks a lot!
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25-09-2015, 04:53 PM
RE: Joining a fraternity that's influenced by Christianity.
(07-09-2015 09:59 PM)FreeThinker1994 Wrote:  Most of the guys I know just say the stuff and don't give any thought to it.

This group seems amazing to be a part of, and I think I can overlook the religious stuff.

Would you be uneasy in this situation? How would you proceed?

They seem just perfect other than this part.

If these were my friends and I fit in except for my metaphysics not only would I join it, I'd participate in their meaningless rituals.

#sigh
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25-09-2015, 10:57 PM
RE: Joining a fraternity that's influenced by Christianity.
(25-09-2015 04:53 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  I'd participate in their meaningless rituals.

Nah. Friends who require meaningless rituals to stay friends can suck my left nut. It's *my* requirement of them.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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26-09-2015, 04:15 PM
RE: Joining a fraternity that's influenced by Christianity.
I've had a couple of more conversations about this. Really, the only religious one is the president of the fraternity. He admits that even he doesn't live what he calls a "christian lifestyle", so the prayers and bible verses make him feel bad.

The religious stuff doesn't bother me as much as when I originally made this thread. As I get to know the guys and their values, they really seem like my thing. I'm going to overlook the religious stuff, because really it can't hurt me if I don't believe in it. But I've let them all know that I am an open critic of religion, and that they will have to substitute "is this your solemn affirmation" for "so help you god", and in so doing they respect my lack of belief.
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26-09-2015, 04:22 PM
RE: Joining a fraternity that's influenced by Christianity.
I know this is the personal support thread and all, but I've never understood the whole fraternity / sorority thing that goes on in American universities. I'm not really sure what they are as such. Why do people join them? Does every student join one? What function do they serve?
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26-09-2015, 05:46 PM
RE: Joining a fraternity that's influenced by Christianity.
(26-09-2015 04:22 PM)Mathilda Wrote:  I know this is the personal support thread and all, but I've never understood the whole fraternity / sorority thing that goes on in American universities. I'm not really sure what they are as such. Why do people join them? Does every student join one? What function do they serve?

They're a very American thing. They've been around in this country since around the mid 19th century.

Basically, they're organizations that stand for specific values. They're meant to build character. They help one with things like professional development and life skills. No one group is like another - they all have different aims and such.

Traditionally they were mostly made up of entitled, wealthy white people - because those were who went to university. Then you have African American fraternities and sororities that began at historically black colleges and universities.

Now, many of the old ones are of mixed ethnicity, class, etc. as more people have access to college. That's the way it is at my school. My fraternity is made of white people and people of color, lots of queer men, etc. I go to a school that is federally designated as a Hispanic serving institution, and we have three of these organizations that have a "Hispanic base" - one fraternity, one sorority, and one co-ed fraternity.

You'll see fraternities and sororities depicted in US college movies. They have the stereotype of being exclusive groups who only care about drink and sex. While this can certainly be the case, it's certainly not the rule. Since the 1970s, fraternities and sororities in the US have been cracking down on things like hazing, sexual assault, alcoholism, etc. within their organizations. But you never hear about the good - the food drives, the charity, etc. You only hear that a person is a fraternity member when they've raped someone, or died of alcohol poisoning. It's unfortunate. We watch news stories about fraternities who have done bad things at our chapter meetings, and we discuss how we can be good examples for "Greek life" everywhere.

There's also the stereotype that these groups encourage conformity. Certainly they encourage conformity to values such as integrity and trust. However, my chapter deeply values diversity and doesn't encourage blind allegiance. It's pretty cool.

Fraternities and sororities also have a lot of secrets. There are terms and references that I'm not allowed to know about until I'm an initiated member. There's also a heavily guarded ritual in my organization that I am not allowed to see until I go through the initiation ritual - then I can participate.

Every organization is very different, but this is how I'd explain them. I may be new to my chapter, but I have worked with fraternities and sororities at my university for the last two years. Smile
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29-09-2015, 11:22 AM (This post was last modified: 30-09-2015 10:12 AM by devilsadvoc8.)
RE: Joining a fraternity that's influenced by Christianity.
Fraternities can be good and bad. I was initiated into one my freshman year of college. I was even the president for a year. The ritual that open and closed meetings had christian references with a little bit of freemason mixed in. No one took the religious references too seriously. We did some stupid stuff as a group but the friends I made in that group remain my closest friends 25 years later.

As to the questions raised by the OP, do what makes you feel comfortable. It sounds like the ritual is not meaningful and is just a tradition. Sometimes a silly tradition helps to bond people. If joining helps you to make friends with people that you like and want to be associated with, then I'd recommend doing it. 5 minutes of ritual during a weekly meeting should not influence the other 10,075 minutes of the week.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored- Aldous Huxley
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