And we’re back from a long road trip up to Ohio. A friend and I drove up there for the Ohio Atheist Coming Out party (Well to be fair she drove…) Got to meet the Friendly Atheist Hemant Mehta, who gave me some great blogging advice, now if only I could find that damn piece of paper that I wrote it down on.
We even had protesters, though they were very nice. Not at all like the wackos I’m used to dealing with on campus every few weeks. Their signs just said, ‘God loves you’ and ‘You Still Matter to God.” I got to give them points, for once the grammar was correct, though that might have been due to the brevity of their slogans, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. They were pleasant and we brought them water and food. No need for them to dehydrate on our account. It’s a nice change from the one’s on my campus who think that I have horns because I’m an atheist.
There was great food, a little bit for everyone. My favorites were the various chicken dishes and a coffee cake, both of which I really did over indulge it. Oh well, gym here I come! I have to say there is something very refreshing and freeing in being in a group of atheists. You can just let yourself talk and not worry about offending someone’s supernatural sensibilities. Hell, sensibilities in general. All the people I talked to were wonderfully open minded and entertaining. I met a great many very nice people, including a intriguing young lady who writes the blog Gadfly Society.
After lunch everyone went up to listen to speakers. Hemant was hilarious and drove home some very good points. First of all, he compared our efforts to churches and pointed out what we can learn from them, such as charity work. He also pointed out that we need to take ourselves less seriously which led to the “Yo’ atheism is so militant” jokes, which included, “Yo’ atheism is so militant, PZ Myers started complaining about your billboards.” And Yo’ atheism is so militant, crackers desecrate themselves on hearing of you. And Yo’ atheism is so militant, you’ve been excommunicated by the Unitarians.
Probably the weirdest and most entertaining part of the whole formal portion was the de-baptism ceremony which included a communion of root beer and crackers with peanut butter and honey. The whole thing started off with Frank Zindler, president of American Atheists pronouncing, “Do you agree that the magical potency of today’s ceremony is exactly equal to the magical efficacy of ceremonial baptism with di-hydrogen oxide, and od you agree that the power of all magical ceremonies is nonexistent?” The answer was obvious chorus, “AMEN BROTHER!”
They de-baptised you with, you guessed it, … a hairdryer. But not any blowdryer, it is the Blow Dryer of Reason wielded by Edwin Kagin. The first person to go under the dryer yelled, “DRY ME BROTHER! I’M FREE!”
I found the whole thing to be fun and humorous although I know that there were some people who were bothered by it’s mocking tone. As for me? I’m all for a bit of creative mischief and some harmless fun and had a great time. I met great people and I know of at least one that I’ll be keeping in regular contact with.
Community… This is what it’s all about people.
Melenkurion abatha, duroc minas mill khabaal!