Open thread on FtBCon panel: Evangelical Atheism

In a few hours I’ll be joined by radio veteran Jamila Bey and “Quiverfull” survivor Vyckie Garrison, to discuss being an “out” atheist an winning arguments with various types of people. Hope you’ll tune in.

I’ll also post open threads on this blog later today about Beth Presswood’s panel, “God is Love?” and the video game panels today and tomorrow that will be attended by me and Lynnea, respectively. See you there!

Here’s a quick outline of my section of the talk (subject to being abridged if there’s a lot of back-and forth conversation):

  1. Introductions
  2. Why should atheists evangelize?
  3. Does it even work?
  4. On “Playing to win”
  5. Approaching people you know, or: On being a dick
  6. Identifying your audience
  7. Sources of information

Vyckie Garrison will take on the REALLY hard stuff: how to talk to fundamentalists.


  1. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    Haven’t seen the vid yet, but these quotes seem apropos…

    “We have this kind of shibboleth which says: what wasn’t reasoned into existence can’t be reasoned out. The truth I think is rather much closer to this: that people are making desperate efforts, rather heroic efforts, to be reasonable, to have a coherent worldview, and when those efforts become too costly or too embarrassing… dogma loses.”

    -Sam Harris, Beyond Belief Conference 2006-S8

    “Take, for example, the people who think Elvis is still alive… What’s wrong with this claim? Why is this claim not vitiating our academic departments and corporations? I’ll tell you why, and it’s very simple. We have not passed laws against believing Elvis is still alive. It’s just whenever somebody seriously represents his belief that Elvis is still alive – in a conversation, on a first date, at a lecture, at a job interview – he immediately pays a price. He pays a price in ill-concealed laughter.”

    -Sam Harris debating David Wolpe, American Jewish University

  2. kdawson says

    I don’t believe in evangelical anything. It’s not my business, nor yours, to try to change someone’s beliefs. I don’t care what somebody believes, I do care when people start monkeying with other people’s creeds. There is a terrible arrogance in this. I only mind when they start meddling in mine. Freedom of religion is fine. All I want is a little freedom from religion. I don’t want to listen to your rant even if I agree with. This is an ugly business.

  3. says

    If someone was a white supremacist, would you want to change their beliefs, or would you not care? Just pointing out that there’s nothing arrogant about trying to help people out of a way of thinking if it is wrong or even potentially harmful. You don’t have the right to force someone to listen to you, but you’re not obliged to remain silent either.

  4. Russell Glasser says

    I assume you didn’t bother to listen to the actual discussion we had about why it matters, in the video itself. Easier to judge a talk by its title.

  5. says

    The only way your going to have freedom of religion is by using using your freedom of speech, even if it means that you might end up offending others. No one is going to have the same opinion as yours when it comes to religion, but if you can get them to at least understand your point of view and reason with them, then what is wrong with that?

    The time is now to end the misconceptions about atheism and stand up for what is right.