Why Atheism Matters - March 19, 2014
    Being flexible

When our March Salon speaker had to cancel, we decided to attend an event organized by another group this month instead of having a Salon. This decision worked out very well indeed!

The event was a talk entitled "Why Atheism Matters", given by Professor Douglas Cowan (shown below) from the Religious Studies department at the University of Waterloo.

The talk was lively, informative and entertaining, and was followed by a relaxed and conversational Question and Answer period.

Some of the slides, and the quotes from real people that accompanied them, were hilarious This one, from evangelist Ray Comfort's publications, is a good example.


The event had been organized by a student group called "The Atheists, Agnostics and Freethinkers of Waterloo". Sacred Secular Sanctuary members Jessica, Jax, Karis and Forbes attended (see inset, below). We were pleased to see some of our friends from the Society of Ontario Freethinkers there as well. In addition, we met some CFI (Centre for Inquiry) members who had come from Toronto, and one young man named Spencer, from Sudbury. A student even attended via Skype, from Australia!

Spencer turned out to be the organizer of the Sudbury CFI group, and he told us an interesting story about his group's experience with a bus sign.

You can see more about the Sudbury bus sign campaign on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBfLqvXGm48. When the sign was stolen part-way through the month, the media coverage increased beyond the group's expectations.
        Spreading the word

After the talk and the Question and Answer period, many of the attendees stayed to chat and get to know one another. Contact information was exchanged, and the atmosphere was friendly and enthusiastic.

Spencer explained that the bus sign was not intended to be in any way confrontational. He said, “We had seven or eight (ads) we could choose from, and we picked the one with the most benign wording.” We loved the idea of a harmless ad that simply spread the word that local non-believers can find community.

In addition, we discussed the possibliity of holding a convention/conference of Atheists/Freethinkers/Skeptics/Humanists/Secularists and unbelievers known by many other names, possibly next year.

And so...

About a week after the Why Atheism Matters event, members from the Sacred Secular Sanctuary, the Society of Ontario Freethinkers, and the Atheists, Agnostics and Freethinkers of Waterloo, met over coffee to discuss some joint ventures here in Kitchener-Waterloo.

The discussion was lively, and all sorts of project ideas came up during the brainstorming.

We agreed to meet again in about a month, after presenting the ideas to our respective groups. Watch for announcements about some of these ventures as we work out the details.

Whatever the outcome, the decision to attend "Why Atheism Matters" in March was the right decision!

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