Reasonfest 2013: Making Ethical Decisions in a Secular World

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posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 10:30 AM
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check this out, folks.....
from The Society of Open-Minded Agnostics and Atheists (SOMA) sponsored by the University of Kansas is having their third annual full weekend conference this coming weekend, and I was just invited to go with my mom - we are both really excited about it!

kusoma.org...

We're both alumni of KU, and as some of you may recall, she and I are very interested in the subject of religious theology and social policy.
Here's a link to the Lecture Information and Details
check it out to see the topics that are going to be discussed. They are several, and the breakout sessions include one on

Keys to Effective Debating: How To Talk About Religion Without Pissing People Off
Advice for atheists interested in starting discussions about religion in conversation and formal debates.

I promise to go to that breakout session, ATS, and listen very carefully.


When Mom called to tell me about it, while she was reading me the info (found on these links), I got so excited and thought Oh My Goodness! I have to tell ATS I'm going to this for sure!!
I don't know if any of you are in this area, but here's the headsup -
I had not heard of SOMA before.

Interesting plans for debates between different theology representatives, a panel of across-the-board faiths - Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist - all there together. There's going to be moderated debates, too!!

The speakers include Nate Phelps, formerly of Westboro Baptist Church to speak about his experiences

Nate Phelps is the son of Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, which gained infamy from their protests at soldiers’ funerals around the United States. He is the sixth of thirteen children, and was taught his father’s extreme version of Calvinism from an early age. This was accompanied by extreme physical punishments and abuse, extreme dietary and health requirements, and other extreme expectations. Nate left home at midnight on his eighteenth birthday, and moved to California where he built a new life away from his family.


Just hearing him will be great, but the speakers include all kinds of perspectives such as a former Southern Baptist and several other Atheist-related leaders.

Would any of you enjoy going to this type of a conference? It'll be like a mega-dose of our little forums, and in real life, and I'm very pumped. Have any of you been to this type of conference before?

When I return here afterwards (it's not til this weekend) I'll share what I've learned from it if anyone's interested.
Peace, and cheers,
~wild

edit on 15-4-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)
edit on 15-4-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 10:43 AM
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Okay let us know it goes.Sounds interesting. Although it isnt a secular world. But there are secular cultures and societies.



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 11:34 AM
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Sounds real interesting as I just completed my final exams on the Christian God and Contemporary History of the Church at St Paul U. Would love to be there to discuss.

Keep us posted please.



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 11:51 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 



Would any of you enjoy going to this type of a conference?

Probably not, though it's obviously not directed at a person with my views.


It'll be like a mega-dose of our little forums, and in real life, and I'm very pumped.

Well, have a good time, but bear in mind that it is highly unlikely to be "a mega-dose of our little forums", as there will be few, if any, people of religion there. Going to an atheist conference to learn about religion is a bit like going to the Republican National Convention to learn about the Democrats.



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 12:35 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


as there will be few, if any, people of religion there. Going to an atheist conference to learn about religion is a bit like going to the Republican National Convention to learn about the Democrats.

It's Agnostics AND Atheists, and if you'd at least look at the website you'd see it's aimed at ANYONE who is trying to figure out what to do about ethical behavior regardless of religious motivation.


Reasonfest 3 is going to be the best free conference you have ever attended. There will be speakers, workshops, an interfaith panel of an atheist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, and a Hindu, a debate featuring Matt Dillahunty titled “Moral Combat”, entertainment from Comedian Keith Lowell Jensen and singer/songwriter Shelley Segal. The debut of Godless Perverts Story Hour featuring Greta Christina, David Fitzgerald, and many more! This is a must-see conference with something for everyone.


I think it will be fascinating, and a perfect 'mega-dose' for ME of what I even come to these threads for (as I believe I have made clear). If this world is not going to self-destruct, we MUST come to an understanding. That means talking and thinking and recognizing that whatever faith or lack therof a person has, they can and do make perfectly ethical decisions.

To say a person with no faith cannot make ethical decisions is folly.
One of my biggest gripes is when people of faith accuse those of other or no faiths to be inherently "unethical" and "without morals" and it simply isn't so.

But, we will see. I'm excited anyway.

you feeling down today, adj?



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 12:54 PM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by adjensen
 


as there will be few, if any, people of religion there. Going to an atheist conference to learn about religion is a bit like going to the Republican National Convention to learn about the Democrats.

It's Agnostics AND Atheists, and if you'd at least look at the website you'd see it's aimed at ANYONE who is trying to figure out what to do about ethical behavior regardless of religious motivation.

I did look at it, of course, and what I saw was a fairly anti-religious agenda, as I said. With sessions titled "Sexy Violence! Violent Sex! Weird-Ass Morality in the Bible", "Hope After Faith" and "Godless Perverts Story Hour", I just can't imagine that it would draw many people of faith. As a result, even the sessions that would be of some interest and value to all people, not just the non-believers, will largely be populated by those, and you'll wind up with a slanted point of view, anyway.


To say a person with no faith cannot make ethical decisions is folly.

To the best of my knowledge, I have never said that in my life.

I have, on the other hand, been accused numerous times of following an evil god, not being able to think for myself, and making decisions based purely on fear, simply because I am a person of faith. You will, no doubt, find plenty of support for those three accusations in sessions like "Weird-Ass Morality in the Bible".



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 01:06 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Fair enough, my friend. Yes, some of the sessions look to be anti-religious. But the topic of the conference is ethics in the context of belief systems.

I've been to many, many conferences that offer a variety of break-out sessions and key-note speakers. This type of conference generally present things from all angles. I'm especially interested in the panel of people from all the different religions.

Why is it, do you think, that some people don't even make an attempt to learn about other faiths, and refuse to believe that people of other beliefs can be, and often are, quite ethical, moral, sensitive and caring individuals?



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 01:58 PM
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It's Agnostics AND Atheists, and if you'd at least look at the website you'd see it's aimed at ANYONE who is trying to figure out what to do about ethical behavior regardless of religious motivation.


Hi, WT. I really do know that your statement I just quoted was well-intended, but I am both an agnostic and a quant. Quants like to count things. On the information page on the OP, some form of the word "atheist" appears in 9 of the blurbs. No form of the word "agnostic" appears in any. The only place I did find "agnostics" is in the name of the organization atop the page. Even then, I notice that the acronym only has one "A" in it.

I'm thinking I can guess for which of the two A-words that "A" stands. But it was sweet of them to put us first in their name.

I do sincerely hope that you and your mother enjoy the conference, and look forward to your comments.
-
edit on 15-4-2013 by eight bits because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 02:06 PM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
Why is it, do you think, that some people don't even make an attempt to learn about other faiths, and refuse to believe that people of other beliefs can be, and often are, quite ethical, moral, sensitive and caring individuals?

I'm sorry that I don't have an answer to that, beyond people's personal convictions. Sometimes it is founded in reality -- it's tough to say that Westboro Baptist doesn't follow an evil god, and it's tough to say that some atheists, such as those misogynists who advocate raping "skep chicks" that they don't agree with, lack morals -- but most of the time it seems to be rooted in an "I'm right, you're wrong" point of view that is difficult to shake for an issue that is so personal for so many people.

Some of the best people I know are atheists and agnostics, but so are some of the worst, and I can say the same for theists. By and large, I make a concerted effort to detach religious persuasion from personal perspective, unless that's key to understanding what someone is trying to say.

I was sincere in my "have a good time" comment, I hope that you do, and I'm glad that you're excited to go.



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 02:56 PM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


LOL, ok, eight bits. Thanks.
I still think it's fairly apparent that since the panels include people from all religions, and also people who have personal knowledge and insider knowledge from their own upbringings, we will hear a lot of different things.

Thanks for your reply. I'm glad a few are interested in it. I have only a nebulous expectation of what to expect, but I do expect to be excited about thinking through all the different approaches to ethics.



posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 03:16 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


I know you were sincere, adj. Thank you.
I'm not looking at it as a 'party'. It's a learning venue, and about that, yeah, I'm very excited to see what is said. Might I come home and say "well, that sucked!" ? Of course. But, as it's a topic near and dear to me these last 2.5 years, I know I will be very well stimulated and given food for thought.



posted on Apr, 16 2013 @ 02:56 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 





Would any of you enjoy going to this type of a conference?

I would love to attend, hope someone would upload the debates on youtube.

Its always interesting to know how/what atheists and agnostics think. It wouldn't mean that i will agree with them but whats the fun if i spend all my time with birds of same feather.



posted on Apr, 22 2013 @ 11:39 AM
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Hello. people!

I just got home from this last night - wow.
It was nonstop sessions of people discussing their stories, and their efforts to end the "sneaky" things that the Right Wing Christians are trying to do. I learned SO MUCH, and came home with a whole new set of sources, materials, stories, and perspectives, and over the next few weeks I am going to share it all here.

The "sneakiness" is far, far more sinister than the obvious things in the article I posted from alternet.org about the "6 Sneaky Ways"...

In fact, the things going on "under the radar" are every bit as dark and 'insidious' as ANY so-called Illuminati shadow government. They really ARE trying, hard, in every arena of our culture in America, to force it into a theocracy of super-conservative Evangelical Christianity....and you will be horrified to hear the things I learned about.

I am exhausted today, from two solid days of paying very close attention, and to discussing the issues with my mom in between the sessions, and before and after the sessions.

Be advised: I will NOT STOP standing up against these indoctrination techniques, and I WILL continue to expose them, and the people behind them. I have networked with three of the speakers now -

one WAS a mega-church Evangelical, saw through it, and is now reaching out to educate those who were once his 'fellow members' toward a loving, tolerant point of view, and to STOP THE RELIGIOUS WAR against Science and Culture. He discussed how to address those more ugly and loud "you will go to hell!" types....and he is still a Christian, but has refocused on the actual MESSAGE of Jesus. I brought home his booklet.

the second is a man who has written a book called "The God Virus", which was the result of years of interviews with people damaged and caught in the "guilt cycle" of Punitive-God Belief, research, and theory - all built around his D.Ed. degree. He is a psychologist. I brought home his book, as well. My thread Religious Trauma Syndrome was along those lines.

the third is a man who was once a Baptist, then became a Christian Radio host. He's also a video producer, and now he has left the church altogether and is exposing the damage done by Punitive-God Thinking as well. He runs The Thinking Atheist website, an outreach vehicle with video, audio, links, resources and a forum, as well as a radio show/podcast. He showed -- among MANY other slides, clips, and exposures of how those mega-churches are trying, in ALL venues to indoctrinate EVERYONE'S CHILDREN (it will horrify you, trust me) -- a clip of "Jesus Camp", stopped it, and said, with the poor little girl speaking in tongues and catatonically beseeching Jesus in the stance of crucifixion --slowly, emphatically, pointing at the image:

THIS IS CHILD ABUSE. He got a standing ovation. He also stated that due to the documentary on that crowd, they were SHUT DOWN in 2006. YAY!!!!! WOOT!!!

Other sessions included a delineation of the Seven-Mountain Dominionists,(or New Apostolic Reformation; NAR) an under-the-radar network of loosely affiliated Far-Right-Wing would-be theocrats, including several politicians (Sarah Palin and Rick Perry and Sam Brownback all singled out), pundits, and pastors/preachers and missionaries. This crowd in infiltrating seven areas of our culture with their Punitive-God Thinking and WANT THE USA to be a Christian Conservative Theocracy. They are also going abroad doing missionary work, including the things we've discussed in this forum about that group....

The Seven TARGET AREAS - the "Mountains" that they intend to DOMINATE are:
Business
Government
Education
Media
Art and Entertainment
Religion
and finally, FAMILY.

It will shock you. MAKE NO MISTAKE, they are everywhere, all over the country, working together using 'code words' and 'strategies' that the speaker taught us how to recognize - they are the equivalent of organized PSYOPS... It will blow your minds..... They are specifically the people that this thread is talking about.

I'm going to stop here, but there were several other sessions that we attended, all of which shone a light from a different angle on the dangerous dogmatic things happening in this country.

WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED. For now, it is a loosely organized and rather informal "network" of people like myself, many of whom have far more widespread onsite presences. I stated to them that "I want to network, and I want to help this cause." They were all too happy to let me know how to get started....and very enthusiastic to meet me and hear about my efforts on this tiny corner of the web.

Talk to you all later - I need to take care of some homeowner stuff for now... meanwhile be strong, and speak out, folks. We do NOT WANT an Apostolic Evangelical Theocracy. We must fight this.

It IS a conspiracy, and a very dangerous, threatening, and scary one, on par with Sharia Law and the Islamist Extremists. Every bit as dangerous, and MUCH, MUCH bigger.
edit on 22-4-2013 by wildtimes because: Tweak






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