Originally Posted by Lilgiant2016
I already know that as a humanist/agnostic that I would not be welcomed at Kappa Sig
Thirty years ago, I was eighteen years old, an atheist (as I still am), and I pledged and initiated KS. So I can sympathize with your situation in general, and I can also make some comments on Kappa Sig in particular.
BTW, I'm not pushing KS nor am I discouraging you from it. At least from what I saw of the Greek system, most or all of what I'm going to say about KS would be true of other groups as well.
Greek societies claim to be all about building character, promoting ideals, doing philanthropic works, leadership opportunities, etc. And each national organization claims that its societies mottos, rituals, etc. are so deeply meaningful and influential in its members lives that the members share a commonality across all chapters -- the idea that, for example, a KS from chapter X would, if he were to meet the brothers of chapter Y, immediately feel a sense of kinship and likemindedness with them.
My experience is that Greek societies are not just primarily, but overwhelmingly, social organizations devoted to making friends, having fun, etc. And from what I saw of my chapter versus other KS chapters, the changes I saw various societies on my campus go through during my time there, and stories I heard from high school friends who had gone to other schools, it seems to me that each chapter of each fraternity pretty much makes as much or little (usually the latter) as it wants to out of the "official" ritual, dogma, etc. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with either of those things.
I had the same discomfort as you, and for the same reason. As an atheist, I didn't want to take an oath professing belief in a supreme being. I told the KS members that. They assured me, "just take the oath; nobody really takes it seriously." The compromise I finally settled on was to tell them, "as long as you understand that I don't believe in God, I'm not going to change my mind on that, and I'm only saying the words to fulfill a requirement to get into your group, I'll say the words when the time comes." They agreed, I said whatever it was that had to be said (IIRC, I did quite obviously roll my eyes at that point in the oath
), and nobody ever mentioned it again. During the entirety of my active membership in KS, nobody ever said anything like "as a Christian group, we should be doing such-and-such." No visiting pastor, priest, rabbi, imam, etc. ever set foot in one of our meetings. No church ever contacted us with an invitation to attend services. Et cetera.
Look, I definitely know where you're coming from. Many Christians assume incorrectly that as atheists, we don't have any beliefs which are important to us, and therefore we should have no objection to endorsing Christianity (since they think we don't care one way or the other about it anyway). It can be incredibly frustrating dealing with people like that. But if I can offer a small piece of what little wisdom that I, as a gray haired old fart, have accumulated ...
You can't win every battle that comes your way. Some battles are unwinnable, some just aren't worth fighting, and there are some small battles you've gotta walk away from to save your energy and effort for the things that really matter. If you're going to be an atheist and live in the USA, you're going to have to put up with some Christianity from time to time, including some of the less attractive aspects of it, including ignorance, bigotry, and hostility from some believers. I suppose that if I wanted to fully "live my atheism," I might refuse to ever use cash because of that "in God we trust" motto, and I might walk out of the room every time I find myself in a "group prayer" situation at a public event. But some things just aren't worth the trouble -- and this really strikes me as one of them.
It's also worth mentioning that KS's ritual requires a somewhat gruesome death penalty for certain offenses. I'm pretty sure that nobody in my chapter took that
part of it seriously either, although I suppose you can never tell ...
Is this issue worth the trouble to you? Only you can really answer that. But bear in mind that out of those self-identified Christians who take the oath happily and without even blinking, probably well over half are in the category of "oh, I suppose I'm a Christian, my parents say I am, I'll really have to give it some thought someday."
To sum this up:
1) Your happiness in a particular fraternity is going to be far
more due to the personalities of the other members and the group's ability to function in campus society than due to the ritual slogans and mottos.
2) I wouldn't take anything
too seriously that a national organization says about its fraternity's "core values," etc. And that includes KS. If you already know what college you're going to, you have some familiarity with the Greeks there, and you know that particular KS chapter is full of seriously religious people, OK ... but if not, don't rule it out just because of what the KS national website says. And of course that goes for every other fraternity.
Apologies for the length -- just my $0.02 worth.
EDIT -- I skimmed but did not fully read the thread before posting, and now see that the Deep South was specifically mentioned a couple of times. My experience was in the South, FWIW.