08 November 2007

A Minor Irritation

So: my dear, darling Divinity school just came out with its staff/student/faculty directory the other day, and (being narcissistic and wondering how my ID photo looked in grainy black and white) I of course decided to look up my name.

The photo was about as good as could be expected (read: not), so no surprises there. But I was incredibly irritated by the fact that under the religious tradition category they had listed me as "No Denominational Affiliation."

Now, I remember very, very clearly designating "Other: Atheist" (Atheist was never an actual choice) on every form I ever filled out for HDS. Now, as always, I don't want to be one of those angry, loud atheists...but believing as I do that we ought to have the right to be open and unashamed of our non-theistic identity, then I have to be willing to own the label and any consequences it may entail. Which is why it bothers me so much that the administrators seem to have decided that I didn't really mean to be open about my beliefs and have them listed along with my contact information. As though they felt they had to be ashamed of my atheism on my behalf.

Moreover, many many of my classmates opted not to have their denominations published - so not only is my information incorrect (well...misleading), but it seems to be an emphatic statement of fabulous agnosticism or fear of commitment (so non-committal that I'm even apparently afraid to be a Unitarian!).

I had hoped that perhaps there might be other atheists hiding in the woodworks here, who might be surprised and pleased to see a fellow free-thinker in their ranks. Maybe we could get together and have those interesting talks about religion that I had always hoped I'd have in grad school, but which have been entirely lacking for the last two months. But alas - such is not to be.

Still, I don't want to be a dick about it, so I'm not going to try to bring it to administrative attention. But I felt I needed to share that little bit of frustration with you all, if only for my own peace of mind.

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