A few weeks ago, Jennifer at Purdue University threw out the idea of having people swap their Bibles (or other religious texts) for novels: Fiction for Fiction.
The event took place recently and Jennifer gave us an update:
We ended up receiving a bunch of books, mainly Bibles or other Christian spiritual books. We also had people turn in a Book of Mormon, the Tanakh, and two Bhagavad Gitas. While we did get a lot of glares or confused looks from people passing by, we also got a ton of smiles. It was great to have people come up and thank us for having the event (since Purdue almost always has people passing out Bibles or preaching). A lot of theists (mostly Christian) came up to ask what we were doing. Once we explained that we were trying to promote critical thinking of what you read (and that we weren’t burning the books), many of them supported our message. On our second day we were actually set up next to a Baptist group handing out free popcorn, but they were the nicest of all.
This type of event never goes on without religious zealots making themselves heard… so who was the worst? Was it the guy who said the atheists were going to hell? Nope. The campus preacher who screams about Jesus constantly? Nope.
The most irritating person was actually a student handing out fliers for Expelled. He came over and started yelling (literally) common creationist arguments without letting us respond and kept this up for about an hour. Though we have to thank him, because he just succeeded in attracting more attention to our booth.
Sounds like a reproducible, successful event that, unlike Smut for Smut, didn’t enrage those theists who passed the table.
Nice work, Society of Non-Theists!