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Mon Jul 17, 2017, 08:25 AM

An Atheist Conference Is Being Criticized for Noting Its Diverse Speakers


An Atheist Conference Is Being Criticized for Noting Its Diverse Speakers
uly 16, 2017 by Hemant Mehta

As someone who has attended and written about atheist gatherings for more than a decade, there’s been a noticeable increase in diversity among speakers over the years. It’s a really wonderful thing. Not because it’s “politically correct,” but because different speakers can talk, from experience, about different issues. Richard Dawkins and Ayaan Hirsi Ali never give the same lecture, and anyone who’s listened to both will tell you they appreciated hearing their perspectives. The same thing applies to speakers who are LGBT or Hispanic, or those who left non-Christian religions, or who aren’t college professors, etc. The more, the merrier. Most organizers are aware that inviting a broader range of speakers will inevitably lead to a broader range of attendees. And that’s a big deal in a movement that is stereotypically white and male.

David Diskin had that in mind when he was planning California Freethought Day 2017, taking place this October. I don’t know how many people he invited, but the list of speakers who accepted was just released, and there’s a broad section of the atheist movement represented on it.

You have authors, a poet, community organizers, a podcaster, a protestor, group leaders, and more.

The website includes a brief description of what each person is best known for — so Sikivu Hutchinson is listed as an “African-American Feminist Author” because those are the issues she’s best known for writing about. Larry Decker is described as the “ED of Secular Coalition for America” for obvious reasons. David Tamayo is the “President of Hispanic American Freethinkers.” You get the idea.

But one atheist sees all this as nothing more than a symptom of the Regressive Left, and he made a video condemning the descriptions. I’m pretty sure my mouth was wide open the entire time I watched...


David Diskin had the right idea with this response to Garber: “Perhaps your followers will be less concerned about the last names and ethnicities of our guests, and enjoy our event.”

Atheists, diverse as ever, barely united by the one idea they share.

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Reply An Atheist Conference Is Being Criticized for Noting Its Diverse Speakers (Original post)
NeoGreen Jul 2017 OP
trotsky Jul 2017 #1
TlalocW Jul 2017 #2

Response to NeoGreen (Original post)

Mon Jul 17, 2017, 09:03 AM

1. "barely united by the one idea they share"

That is so true - which is both good and bad. It's also why I laugh at anyone who tries to define atheism as a "belief" or a "religion." We're just a bunch of people who happen to answer one question similarly. We have no dogma or doctrine - there is no atheist creed or official position. Yes, most of us tend to be liberal and progressive, but not all of us are.

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Response to trotsky (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 17, 2017, 10:00 AM

2. I'm relatively new to atheism

But as someone who is also childfree, it seems to be it's more difficult to manage a group based on a characteristic the members don't have instead of one they do, especially when it's so broad - in one case a desire to have children and in the other, a belief in a god. I've seen the difficulty that childfree groups - specifically No Kidding! - have gone through to set up and maintain groups because it's difficult to find activities that a majority of people will want to do since both childfree and atheists can run the gamut on so many different issues - politically, interests, hobbies, etc. Christians can find a church whose doctrine they believe in and then maybe a group within that church to also join, but if not, they still have the church. There are no churches in atheism that we can subdivide into so we're all one big group, more difficult to manage.

I also think that's one reason politicians don't like atheists. Sure, there's the likely attitude the religious normally have toward the non-believer to deal with, but since they're not in neat little groups, it makes it hard for the politician to address us.


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