Beetle commented: “Hope to see a follow-up post about your talk!” The talk in question was my address to the Society of Edmonton Atheists.
And so, as requested:
There were about 25 people in attendance, a broad cross section of society from people in their early twenties to senior citizens in their golden years. Daniel and Richard from the SEA were excellent hosts and I had a great time talking for about twenty minutes about how Christians sometimes marginalize atheists through a poor reading of Psalm 14:1 and Romans 1:20, slotting all atheists into the category of “foolish” or “wicked”. Such processes of social marginalization are most often tacit — rarely do people articulate them explicitly. However this dismissal of others is a common phenomenon and I noted how ubiquitous it is today in society to see individual groups marginalized by other groups. Yes Christians sometimes do it to atheists, but as I have also complained, atheists sometimes do it to Chistians. And conservatives do it to liberals and vice versa. (All of this, as I noted, is discussed in my book You’re not as Crazy as I Think. By the way, I sold all four copies I brought to the meeting. Very cool!)
Anyway, after twenty minutes or so we went into a free for all discussion and debate. It was a lively, honest and intelligent group. People didn’t hold back questions and comments, some of them crackling like a live wire with emotion and deeply considered opinion. In other words, it was anything but boring.
After an hour and a half of conversation we adjourned the meeting and most people retreated to the Elephant and Castle Pub for more discussion. I stayed there for another 2 1/2 hours of discussion and continued to find the group diverse, interesting and engaging.
So I’d like to thank Daniel, Richard and the entire group for a memorable and challenging evening. I hope to do it again soon! Next time I’ll try raising my voice and sounding angry occasionally, just to liven things up a bit.