Reasonfest 2014!

Goodness, it’s been a while since I posted. Sorry about that. I started a post covering some thoughts on being two-decades-old but apparently never finished it. Whoops.

Anyhow, there’s this group at KU called The Society of Open-Minded Atheists & Agnostics (SOMA) and they put on this con called ReasonFest, which was this past weekend. It was a really good show, though I wish there’d been more people in attendance. There was a debate between Dan Barker and a baptist pastor and I expected more of the pastor’s flock to be there. I’m actually not certain anybody from his church came, so there wasn’t the swell that usually accompanies the debate.

The main theme for the weekend was Joy. JT talked on Friday night about how atheists and secularists find joy in life. Lyz Liddell from the SSA talked about reframing the way we view the fight (sort of as a way to prevent burnout–giving the good things the attention they deserve). The interfaith panel was kinda boring but in the ways you expect “interfaith” to work; nobody wants to step on anyone’s toes. Ed Brayton talked about the harm Christians actively do in our communities today. Darrel Ray tackled the question of whether Jesus masturbated. (There were a couple other talks that I didn’t see because I had to sleep for a bit Saturday morning.)

And then there was the keynote speaker: the incredibly dreamy Scott Clifton, who spoke about the metaphysical cherry-picking that Christian apologists like William Lane Craig engage in. It was his first time delivering a talk to a secular audience about atheist-related stuff, so that was pretty neat. (He really is quite dreamy.)

I got to see people I haven’t seen in a long time, including spending a few hours hanging out with JT (who has been living in the same town as me for *months* and we have not yet hung out). Generally, commiserating with my fellow atheists is very healthy for me. Even when I have to lose sleep in order to do it. Which is every time. x.x

So yeah, videos from this stuff will be available soon.

Cool people I met: Dan Barker, Lyz Liddell, Dr David Burger, some people from the Polyamorous Families group. I’m getting way better at just introducing myself to people and having conversations and shit. Working retail and taking this incredibly expensive pill called Vyvanse have helped immensely. Networking feels like an essential part of managing to get a job at a secular-oriented org.

Random thoughts pertaining to the debate: The question was whether the world is better with Christianity. It seemed like many of the points the pastor was bringing up were related to psychological benefits of being part of any group. I don’t see anything in his arguments that couldn’t be derived from humanistic principles rather than supernatural ones. And Dan did a poor job refuting those points. The pastor had lots of examples of studies relating happiness with religiosity and Dan had one about how Christians tend to over-report their church attendance and happiness. Overall, it was just really disappointing.

I asked a zinger of a question afterward though, which got chuckles from the room. And had me feeling super clever all day. :3

 

In other news: my poly is pretty much bursting at the seams. Many feels. Such libido.

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