The president of an evangelical seminary is surprising some with his participation in a video that promotes Open Secular, an initiative aimed at upholding religious freedom and creating a more positive image of nonbelievers in American society.
Typically, videos produced by the initiative come from notable nontheists who are looking to change the negative societal perceptions that sometimes surround atheism, but a new clip prominently features noted evangelical leader Dr. Danny Akin.
Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, opens the video by noting that there are serious issues that Christians and atheists disagree on, but that there are also areas of agreement worth highlighting.
He also acknowledges that it's a surprise to see him participating in Openly Secular, proceeding to explain why he joined in on the campaign.
"The reason is, though we do disagree about very important issues, we also agree about some important things as well," Akin said. "For example, we do believe together that no one should be coerced when it comes to their particular religious beliefs, whether they are religious or not religious."
He continued, "They should have the freedom to express what they believe and they should be able to do so without hatred, without discrimination. They should not be put down because they happen to disagree with another person in terms of what they believe."
Akin also said that there is agreement on the fact that every individual is valuable, and has dignity and worth. With that in mind, he argued that "all people should be respected and should be allowed to express their beliefs openly according to the dictates of their conscience."
Watch the video below:
“The reasoning behind [the campaign] is that there’s a lot of discrimination against a lot of different groups in this county,” Stiefel told TheBlaze last year of the mission behind Open Secular. "If everyday atheists, agnostics, humanists or other nonreligious people [stop hiding] what they believe, [others] can recognize that we are good."
Among those depicted in the regularly released clips supporting the effort are known names like comedian Bill Maher, former NFL player Chris Kluwe and ex-congressman Barney Frank, who all embrace a “secular” worldview.
Editor’s Note: The author of this piece is a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.