I’m finally back home after trips to Indiana and California. The last of the writeups are also in!
They say positive things along with some constructive criticism.
Akusai at Action Skeptics has both a short and long review:
Short version: Hemant was funny, personable, and an extremely talented speaker. While my irascible, sarcastic nature causes me to differ slightly with his take on positive atheism, there really is nothing in his approach with which to outright disagree. If all atheists were like Hemant, I don’t think anyone could hate us.
Thanks! Akusai also has a bit about my criticism of people (like PZ at times) who have a much more blunt attitude toward religion. The point I wanted to make was that we can criticize religion all we want, but we need to be mindful of the people who practice it. Name-calling won’t help people want to think rationally. Understanding where they are coming from and helping them across the bridge to our side will be more effective.
Michael at The Lucky Atheist was inspired:
So, I’m going to start an AGD (Atheist Good Deeds) series. This could be anything from donating time to personal improvement, like breaking bad habits. I’m going to do both in April. I’m going to get the kid I’ve been mentoring since 2001 to finish his GED exams, and I’m going to give up chocolate for the whole month. (Atheist Lentmadan, I guess.) What will you do?
Gauranga has good things to say about the Stanford Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics:
Sadly, for the religious community, they are much nicer than many of the religious groups on campus…
But hopefully in the process [of reading I Sold My Soul on eBay] they would meet a friendly atheist in the pages of the book and maybe just maybe develop a little appreciation where many people who have lost interest in organized religion/God are coming from.
i wanted to see more of a debate between the two. the pastor who was opposite hemant was a pretty liberal guy (i’ll just call him rev. geoff because i forget his last name) and in most circumstances would be the kind of christian leader i’d be looking for, but for the fact that i feel religion has pretty much failed to provide any good answers to anything. in a debate, hemant would have torn rev. geoff apart, not because of any superior speaking style, but because rev. geoff was hedging around his real beliefs in order to stay relevant and in order to appeal to the young age of the audience. he couldn’t come out and talk about his issues on abortion, gay marriage, creationism, evangelism, etc., because he didn’t want to alienate anyone. you could see it in the way he steered most of the conversation toward his stance on social justice and human rights, which was liberal enough to sound good to college students.
hemant, on the other hand, could just let loose with what he believed because he had no need (or desire) to pander to anyone…
Frankly, I didn’t think Pastor Geoff’s views on those social issues would’ve been different from most atheists’ views. His beliefs led him to focus on social justice issues. But he did have the harder challenge: presenting a Christian viewpoint that most of us are not used to hearing, one that’s less doctrinal and more about good works.
There was a brief video clip of the talk available. More video will come soon:
My collar appears to be eating my face.
In any case, thanks for everyone who came out to the events! I had an awesome time. Hope you did, too.