Edmonton Atheists Invite Theists to Join Them for Conversation… and It Works

National Ask An Atheist Day is coming up in a couple of weeks, but a bunch of atheists in St. Albert (Alberta, Canada) are taking a different approach to having conversations with Christians: They just advertise that they’re gonna be at a local gathering place and invite theists to join them. It seems to be working, too — they’re getting a lot of takers:

St. Albert’s Luke Fevin represents the Society of Edmonton Atheists. He said there is neither a formal presentation nor agenda for the meal that’s planned for 10 a.m. at the St. Albert Inn, which the group has been advertising to the public.

Group members simply want to make themselves open to the community at large and show everyone that they are generally a friendly lot that just enjoys healthy discourse on the subject. They don’t preach, Fevin said.

You can find out about future brunches at the SEA Facebook page.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • jose

    Let’s hope they don’t invite atheists, because then they’re going to have a situation.

    By the way, isn’t this what Hemant did at first? Go to a bunch of churches and speak with people?

  • K

    “you can be an atheist and actually believe in a god”

    No you can’t! Can you? I thought that was the one thing that united atheists. I wouldn’t consider a deist or a pantheist an atheist. Atheism means no gods, even ones that are abstract metaphors for the universe.

    This seems like a good idea- nothing reduces prejudice like face-to-face contact with the prejudiced group- but I’m not sure I could sit there politely while a Christian told me I just hadn’t considered the arguements for Christianity hard enough.

    A shame that even in Canada there’s prejudice against atheists. I thought Canadians were nice people.

    • icecreamassassin

      I guess that works in the same sense that one can be bald with a naturally full head of hair.

      • coyotenose

        But we’re all bald UNDER the hair, just like we all believe in God UNDER the atheism.

        Argh, I feel stupider even writing that as sarcasm.

    • The Other Weirdo

      I dunno. My Catholic ex-girlfriend’s mother was disappointed I wasn’t Catholic, but she was relieved when she found I am Jewish(even if an atheist). “At least he believes in Jesus,” was her mother’s remark.

      • Pedro Lemos

        *nuclear facepalm*

      • Matthew Delemos

        Another salad bar faither, eh? Yeesh

  • Wild Rumpus

    As an atheist and a Unitarian Universalist, I get to have conversations with theists at least once a week. I have real, deep, respectful debates with people who actually study the Bible (instead of parroting the choice bits like so many Christians). Everyone walks away from the conversation feeling they have taught something and learned something.

    • Todd

      Any conversions?

      • Wild Rumpus

        No conversions in my experience, but certainly greater understanding of ourselves, and each other.

    • Brenda

      We could all learn by having real, deep and respectful conversations with one another. Could I ask why you became an atheist and a Unitarian Universalist?

      • Wild Rumpus

        I became an atheist because I see no evidence of the supernatural. I became a Unitarian because I like being part of a non judgemental, caring community.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=647371049 Todd Sampson

    I have to say being in Canada, in Edmonton no less, that religion here is not the same as in the US. There is not the same level of discrimination against atheists here than in the US, at least none that I have ever faced or have read about. For instance, there are no laws in Canada stopping atheists from holding public office. We do have our religious fundamentalists but on the whole, religion isn’t as dominating a force. I doubt gay marriage would have been legalized 10 years ago (and in some provinces even before that) if it was as strong a force as in the US. We seem to lean towards the more secular kind of Christianity.


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