Kenwood or Vita become Sunday meeting places for ‘non-believers’

Amidst tea, the occasional cake and good company, Goshen Skeptics meets every Sunday at 1 p.m. for discussion and questions.

The original idea for Goshen Skeptics was to have a church-like experience without the religion, according to Petey Biddle, a junior. He co-founded the group along with Peter Meyer-Reimer, a sophomore, to provide a space on campus for those who identify as non-believers or nonreligious.

Goshen Skeptics was meant to be “a community of people who like the community they were able to find in the church, but didn’t believe so much in a divine being,” said Meyer-Reimer.

Goshen Skeptics began in the fall of 2013. The group tries to meet every Sunday at 1 p.m., at either Kenwood or Vita house. Anywhere from three to 20 people meet for Goshen Skeptics, which was formed to support non-believers on campus.

“As a non-believer, this community allows me to comfortably ask questions and discuss topics that I wouldn’t feel as safe asking in most religious settings,” said Biddle.

The skeptics meet for support, diverse opinions, and discussion about whatever might be on their minds that week.

“We just discuss everything,” said Kate Yoder, a junior. “It’s not just bunch of men bashing religion.”

The topics are diverse and the discussion is varied, but the members express their gratitude in finding a place that welcomes different perspectives about the human condition.

“I think it’s just the feeling I get from the discussion of taking time to think deeply in a community of people that I feel comfortable with,” Yoder said, in response to why she choses to be a part of Goshen Skeptics.

There tend to be common threads of discussion across weeks, but not overall themes. Discussion topics may focus on the ethics of charity, nature of reality, Paul Keim’s work with words and the importance of puns and snacks.

Yoder described the meetings as a place where “we talk about things that you might discuss in a religious setting… in a non-religious framework.”

The discussion could stem from a Facebook post, an article someone read, or the book Yoder brings, Sum by David Eagleman.

“Skeptics is a way a community of people can come together and explore and explain the world around us without the assumption of a divine being,” Meyer-Reimer said.

There is a Facebook page anyone can join to get updates and the group is always welcome to new members.

“While many of us are atheist or agnostic, we strongly encourage anyone who loves to engage in discussion to join us on Sundays,” Biddle said.

Meyer-Reimer said, “The one thing I’m always startled by, every time, is by the end it really is a spiritually enriching experience.”