Skepticon may be over, but the community that began there is only the beginning. If you ever wanted to see so much of a gathering that brings everyone together in one place on equal terms, then you want to know Skepticon. It was shocking to see how the people we look to for knowledge and strength in our community are the olive branch. They reach out, and give love, and by that they touch many lives.
The widespread misconception that atheists are anything but charitable, caring, loving and most of all humans is about the same as any other myth. I am humbled by the people who talked about what they do to reach out to their communities. But it is not just the way they are reaching out, but the lessons they are giving in reaching out. Being part of a strong atheist community is more fun than most people can explain to you. It is like church, but without all the hellfire, sinning, and damnation. In fact it is a lesson in just how bright atheists are. Never take for granted how many people became atheists because they mentally outgrew god.
When you are small and god is given to you, he seems so big and looming, full of doom and fear. Once you get educated enough you begin to realize that the christian god is small and petty. He is a immature idea of oppression in the form of a tantrum throwing deity, and he simply doesn’t ever grow up, so if you do, then you outgrow him.
Listening to the speakers, seeing the reading material, looking at the list of doctoral writers, imaginative musicians and looking to all that our community has to offer, free of judgment and fear, was just astounding. It is like walking down the corridor of a college and peeking into every class, even the ones you might not take, but can’t help but stop and listen to. It was pleasant to walk among these people and know that they guide us to think more, question more, and speak out about both more. When you look at the contributions to society, you wonder how any place in the world can be civil without atheists in the midst. What would the world be offered without such great freethinking people stirring knowledge into the pot of rancid religion? What would the world have been without all that they have done, not just now, but all through history. It seems every period of time has had atheists in the most inspiring of places, and without them, you face times like the dark ages.
It is not just the Skepticon method that is working, but the gathering, talking, relating, moving, helping that is getting the job done. It is far from just a bunch of people talking bad about religion, instead it is a bunch of people celebrating life, and how we can live it better without the petty and in just god that lives in the minds of billions of people. People who will always be hating themselves for whom they are and what they are, while atheists think up things to do like, feed the hungry. Yea other religions do that but for the hope of mercy from their angry sky daddy who just won’t let them breathe without fear. Atheists are busy helping children be better critical thinkers. Meanwhile religion is finding ways to stop critical thinking before more kids figure out their god doesn’t work. The list goes on and on, but one thing atheists do best is share time and company with the rest of the community. They gather, and laugh, and drink, and live. They are as much fun as anyone could be, they are just not ashamed of who they are. That is vital for the atheist movement.
I hope that in the next 100 years the world is full of freethinkers, rational minds, science loving people who can’t wait for the newest science to come, and not with men who think a woman’s body has some mechanism which determines if she has been raped or not. What a great world that would be. What a great idea to gather free minds and let them be free.