On my way to Austin.

Just landed in OKC.  Sat next to a lovely atheist couple on the way here.  Next stop: Dallas, then Austin.  I’m just running over my talk for tonight.  It’s strange…my most popular talks have been the ones that came together in a day or two, and I’ve had some real bombs that I worked on for months.  This one is from the latter category, so here’s hoping that it pays off.

And if you, as an atheist, spend the majority of your time telling people that their less fundamentalist strains of irrationality are beautiful, or even acceptable, then we should stop acting like we’re on the same side. There is a line between being nice and encouraging erroneous beliefs, and we’re on different sides of it. There are plenty of extremely nice atheists who can see that religion serves as a Trojan Horse for unreason, and that there is nothing good in religion, no beauty, no happiness, that cannot be had without sacrificing our good sense at the altar of faith.

Without religion we will still conceive of beautiful architecture, we will still pen symphonies, and we will still congregate with others like us. What we will lose without religion is people beheading witches in Africa and parts of Europe. We will lose the opposition to equal rights for good human beings based NOT upon the content of their character but upon the consenting adult they love, and who loves them back. We will lose children dying from neglect, merely because that neglect goes by the euphemism of prayer. We will lose the people who have made it their life’s work to dilute science in science classes, and those people would lose their financial backers, freeing up more resources for education. The destitute of the world will lose the bibles that occupy resources that could’ve been used to send oranges. But we would not lose art, and we will not lose charity. Humanity owns these things, not religion.

Wish me luck.  :)

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.