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May 25 2011

The Oakland Rapture RAM report – part 3

I’ve already covered the entire event, but I skipped over my favorite part because it deserved a post of its own: the people.

From the moment I walked in the door on Saturday, I was met by friendly faces who were happy to be there and happy that I was able to show up. Over the next 30 hours or so, I met a bunch of new friends, posed for lots of pictures, signed a few books and, most importantly, heard numerous stories from people who wanted to express just how much The Atheist Experience has meant to them.

“I was a Christian…until…”
“I was a pagan…until…”
“I was afraid of hell…until…”
“I was apathetic…until…”
“I love what you guys are doing…”
“You’ve helped make my arguments better…”
“I’m just glad that you guys are doing this – it’s important!”

I can’t begin to express how much comments like that mean to me and every time I hear them I wish everyone involved with the show was right there to hear them with me.

There’s a major event coming in 2012 (the Reason Rally) and while there’s nothing official, I’m hoping to get as many of The Atheist Experience folks (including those who work behind the scenes) out to that event – so start making plans now!

I’ve always said that I’d be happy if the show made people think and happier if it helped someone. There’s no doubt that both are true and there are few feelings as satisfying as the combination of accomplishment and appreciation.

To all the fans of the show…thank you. We’ll keep doing what we’re doing.

18 comments

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  1. 1
    Justin B.

    Cheers to all at the AE, and continued success to you!

  2. 2
    JT

    I was already an atheist when I discovered the show, about 3 years ago when the "Best caller ever" youtube clip came across fark.com.At first, I didn't think much of it, because why would I want to listen to a bunch of people who I agree with? I think also at the time, I still was uncomfortable with the concept, like I was about to watch a bunch of Satanists.Since then, the show has helped me improve my views to be more sophisticated, and more importantly, to care more about what was going on, to the point that I'm starting to do stuff about it.

  3. 3
    Justin Casey

    As I told you in Oakland, I was never a believer, so I don't have any painful deconversion story, but I have had my share of religious people treating me and others poorly due to that difference. It was after watching the Atheist Experience (and all available episodes in the archive), but especially your words, Matt, that I decided I needed to participate in the groups local to me. That is why it was such a great pleasure to see you in person and give my appreciation. Thanks again!

  4. 4
    Martin

    I notice they don't have a definite date yet for the Reason Rally. I hope they won't be foolish and make it conflict with Melbourne. I'm already making plans and saving money to attend that.

  5. 5
    Guillaume

    Carry on guys! You are doing a great job and we need shows like this pretty much around the globe right now.

  6. 6
    Jonathan

    I've always been an atheist but i havent always thought about things i do now since i started watching the Axp and listening to the non-prophets… George Carlin first made me aware of the problems with religions, i live in Sweden and here religion isnt really anything most people think about. "I dont know if i believe in god but i believe in something" is what i mostly hear around my here. People dont understand my fascination and opposition to religion, but i think thats mostly due to the fact that they havent been made aware of what religion is out in the world, and not just the cute little village churches with the jesus guy and the love talk.I've never met or even heard about any fundamentalism in Sweden(in modern times). Whenever you rarely see any religious figures from here they are what you in america call "moderate believers". Many people have jewelry, necklaces, with crosses. I did, and i never knew what it meant. To me it was just jewelry. I think many others here dont understand what they're wearing either, and to me that kind of shows how absent religion is in this country…I guess i went off on a tangent there.You guys have been very important to me, and made me stronger in many aspects… Im more confident and vocal about my beliefs(and in general), and ive developed a much more sceptical mindset and an appreciation for science amd rational thought and reason… Im not perfect, but ive improved. Thanks for the effort you guys put out, it has helped me greatly and i look forward to the next show every week. (No non-prophets for weeks!? I need my fix you know?)

  7. 7
    KK_Me

    The show really made me pursue my atheism.A few years ago I just knew that I wasn't a christian anymore. Then I stumbled over some creationist stuff on youtube which infuriated me since they treated the science dear to me with unbelievable ignorance. Browsing then led me to The Atheist Experience, the archenemy of ignorance and I've been a fan ever since.Thanks everybody who ever contributed to the show in any way. You ARE making a difference.

  8. 8
    MegaZeusThor

    Hey sign me up for some of those comments you got:"I was apathetic…until…""I love what you guys are doing…""You've helped make my arguments better…""I'm just glad that you guys are doing this – it's important!"By the way Matt, you need to talk to David Silverman sometime about how YOU can get yourself on the occasional news program where they interview a theist and a non-believer (and then try and walk all over your time.) Why you Matt? Because you generally have good responses and can make solid points.(So consider getting your media information out there – not that this is your full time job or career, and would rarely have the time. Still, I love the idea of having good atheist representatives.)Thanks again for dedicating so much time and effort to this cause.

  9. 9
    Kate M. S.

    I'm so happy to hear about the potential AE member appearances at the Reason Rally! Keep us updated on times and places! Thanks for the account of the Oakland Rapture, Matt — it sounds like it was amazing!

  10. 10
    TroopDawg

    Before i watched the AE – "i just can't be in a religion that discriminates against gay people, women, and has pedophile scandals."After i watched the AE -" i just can't be in a religion that discriminates against gay people, women, has a pedophile scandal, and that doesn't have any evidence to justify it's claims" This show is awesome when theists call in and try to prove god. A) like it can be done over the phone B)(As matt has said before) they call up a cable access channel C) errrybody gets debunkedAs a 2 year fan of the show, I am trying to figure out when to come down for a sunday in 2012(if the world is still here).

  11. 11
    Christine

    I haven't been a Christian for about a year, but it took me awhile to admit it. I finally acknowledged that I was an atheist in February of this year. This occurred at the beginning of my first semester of graduate courses. With the heavy work load in addition to a nurse's full time schedule, I did not have much time to explore my new label. While I knew that I could no longer accept the claims of Christianity, I was left with a lack of a belief and had no idea how to investigate other claims. I felt frustrated and isolated.In March, I accidentally happened upon AE while searching for something completely unrelated on youtube. I watched a clip and I was immediately hooked. The short clips and hour-long shows gave me enough information to get me through the semester and to help me solidify my position. While I understand that AE doesn't have a doctrine to follow, it is the approach of the group that has given me the tools and the courage to continue to explore new ideas by reason.I can now clearly see the flaws in the approach of religion towards seeking truth. This approach is completely backwards from what has been learned from science. According to science: to solve a problem one must formulate a hypothesis and then test it with reality. If the evidence contradicts the hypothesis, then the hypothesis is discarded. Religion does the opposite. It makes claims to provide solutions to problems without testing them and refuses to change the claims even in the face of clear, contradictory evidence.Through AE, I was able to see that Atheism was not merely the end of my religious beliefs, but the very beginning of my new beliefs. it's scary to start from scratch, but thankfully there are so many resources and tools to aid in this process. Thanks to all of you at the Atheist Experience. You have made a world of difference in my life and I am sure the lives of others.Christine

  12. 12
    Mamba24

    The AE crew should consider going back to the old way of doing intro music, or find another intro song. Does anyone else actually like the intro song? It's just one of those annoying songs I can't stand to listen to.

  13. 13
    tonyD

    Well done Matt, and everyone at the ACA.I am amazed at all the hard work, you lot put into fighting against Religion.I wish you all continued success in the future. It is so important that someone speaks up for Sanity and Reason against the madness of Faith.I have no doubt the Godly would pull us all back to the dark ages if they thought they could get away with it.I hope you end up with a whole channel of shows dedicated to combating this vile nonsense.

  14. 14
    Sully

    I was an atheist until I saw your show…

  15. 15
    Apostulous

    I know Im jumping on the bandwagon but, before I got into the show, I was an apatheist."I couldn't give a god damned hoot about your damned god!"Living in Texas, paying attention, and seeing that I wasn't alone opened my eyes. If I hat a hat, I would doff it.

  16. 16
    Apostulous

    @Mamba:Heretic!! :)

  17. 17
    Mamba24

    @ Apostulous-lol Yeah. But seriously, the song is annoying, I mean it probably would be more inviting of theists if they just got rid of the intro song. LISTEN TO REASON!! YEAH! OPEN YA EYES! THIS TOTALLY ISN'T A BAD SONG! YEAH!

  18. 18
    Trevor

    @Mamba24I'm with you on this one.

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