Last weekend, the Orlando Public Library conducted a “Human Library,” where visitors could check out people instead of books for the purpose of a conversation. This particular event included a transgender woman, for example, willing to answer questions for anyone who wanted to ask them. It’s a wonderful way to gain insight about people you may not regularly be in contact with, and these kinds of events have been taking place all over the country.
I bring this up because David Williamson, an atheist activist from Florida who founded the Central Florida Freethought Community, was also available to “check out.” He told me all his conversations that day were respectful, and he felt that both he and the people he spoke with got something useful out of it.
We don’t feel like it is safe to talk about religion with friends or family — especially if you are religious and want to talk about your beliefs or talk to a non-believer about theirs. I think this is why local organizations and groups like Recovering From Religion are so important. We, as atheist activists, need more opportunities for outreach that doesn’t seem like we’re preaching on the street corner. This was one of those opportunities and I hope others will take advantage of it when it comes to their local library.
It seemed to work well, considering that a couple of people even “renewed” David so they could keep the dialogue going longer