Siouxland Freethinkers Bring SkepDakota Atheist/Agnostic Conference to Sioux Falls Aug. 29

Sioux Falls has a new Jesus billboard:

Photo: Amanda Novotny, SD director, American Atheists, 2015.08.22.
Photo: Amanda Novotny, SD director, American Atheists, 2015.08.22.

SkepDakota, South Dakota’s “premier freethought convention” happens next Saturday, August 29, at the Downtown Holiday Inn in Sioux Falls. Taking the mic for atheism, humanism, and other less-than-religious thinking are several speakers:

The conference wraps in the evening with a live recording of the Ask an Atheist podcast.

Tickets for the full day of philosophical stimulation (and commisseration?) are $40 for the general public, $35 for paid members of Siouxland Freethinkers.

24 Responses to Siouxland Freethinkers Bring SkepDakota Atheist/Agnostic Conference to Sioux Falls Aug. 29

  1. They should have you and I on a panel on their stage, Mr. H. Or at least you. That’s way over in Sioux Falls and everybody hates Sioux Falls.

  2. You do come from a mixed marriage do you not? Curious how your Lutheran Minister mate feels about promoting atheist events or if this is one more of the accepted tolerances of my good ol’ ELCA.

  3. Any attempt to divine ELCA policies from statements made by the non-ELCA member who writes this blog is highly illogical.

  4. Grudz, I would overlook distaste and distance to make a joint appearance with you at a public forum in any town in South Dakota (given proper notice, and maybe some travel money).

  5. I have to admit, the billboard with Jesus and the jackalope is pure genius! Also, you’re response to Dlund had me laughing out loud!

  6. Deb Geelsdottir

    Good answer Cory. Good luck to Skepdakota, too. An atheist conference is not a bad thing for religion. In fact, it would be a wise decision for religious types to attend at least a part of the conference to hear first hand about the pain some have suffered due to religion. It’s like a very helpful performance review.

    No, I’m not talking about the “show” a church puts on. I’m talking about how churches reach people, respond to them, talk about faith, etc. Critical reviews are the best kind.

    BTW, I’m not saying that all atheists have been hurt by churches. But some have.

  7. I certainly do not approve of churches harming atheists… or of atheists harming churches for that matter.

    Interesting suggestion, Deb, that believers might profit from attending this conference. They might, as long as all parties, guests and hosts, approach the event as an opportunity for open dialogue, not an occasion for defensiveness. But I wonder: do the organizers want a lot of Christians coming for dialogue? Or do they want a “safe space” for atheist/agnostic/humanist fellowship?

    Ooo, and here’s something I missed: South Dakota Progress is one of the vendors! Mixing politics and irreligion… sounds like fun!

  8. Deb Geelsdottir

    Yes, open mindedness would be required. And I have a feeling “a lot of Christians” won’t be a problem.

  9. Deb Geelsdottir

    BTW, I wonder how many professed Christians are really not? My guess is something like 10%.

  10. Trick question, Lar. The correct answer is probably “his own.”

  11. larry kurtz

    in your case, grud, it would be a necktie.

  12. “How many professed Christians really are not?” Oh, Deb, how do we establish an objective criterion on that one that doesn’t turn into the foolishness of our Tea Party friends declaring Barack Obama a Muslim in direct contradiction of all available evidence? That sounds like a question for the depth of each believer’s soul.

    Larry! Good commentary from Eberhard on torture and the strange absence of outrage from Bush II’s Christian base. Would those people be susceptible to Deb’s provocative question?

  13. larry kurtz

    Deb’s gifts are beyond my reach but we likely agree that crimes committed by our republic are commonplace.

  14. Deb Geelsdottir

    No Cory, I’m not talking about judging the faith of others. That 10% figure is based on the number of people who’ve privately confided to me that they don’t really believe what goes on in church. They go to please others, usually family members.

  15. happy camper

    There’s also clergy who no longer believe (see A close friend falls in this group. When I told him I was a non-believer he basically told me the same but had major word gymnastics prepared to justify his staying put. He could retire early with sufficient income from a university where he’s an educator/lecturer but said he was worried about losing his identify. Probably I blasted him (in a way he’s unaccustomed), but he’s just unwilling to give up his elevated position and stop being a fraud. We’re all flawed, I get that, but when hypocrisy presents itself in religion it’s very close to the heart.

  16. Regarding the picture; it seems appropriate because Jesus cared about those who are different. :)

  17. Deb Geelsdottir

    HC, you’re right about nonbelieving clergy. I’d describe them as doubtful. There is a small number who have become atheists, but probably more who have deep doubts. I’d also say that the large majority do believe.

    It seems to me that the people who claim a thorough faith ask the fewest questions so, in fact, they probably have the most fragile faith.

  18. What an interesting subset of churchgoers, Deb! I wonder: is that 10% keeping-up-appearances group able to vote on their values clearly? Are they more willing to support a non-Christian candidate?

    Happy, I’d join you in that blasting. Such hypocrisy is unacceptable. It sounds like he’s maintaining his status and income under false pretenses, as surely as I would be if I told a private school I believed in God and would happily lead prayers just so I could win a teaching contract.

  19. JeniW, I like your metaphorical reading of the picture. Hooray for difference… and antlers!

  20. happy camper

    The thing is Cory you and I blast, when others (like some Lutheran ministers) are more kind and wise. Faith in ourselves and mankind is also fragile. My friend is a false prophet let’s say, but we all disappoint. I certainly do both to myself and others (especially when the demons come out). We’re just slightly tamed animals (there’s no heavenly father) but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to be good and decent though never false. The only reason I put up with you people is because you actually say what you really think (which is the beauty of this blog).

  21. Happy, I agree with the Christian notion of human fallibility. “We are all sinners” may not make sense to most humanists, but putting aside suggestions that cosmic punishment awaits, I find the concept useful both for understanding human frailty and reminding myself to turn my own blasts down a notch (yes, what you get is turned down a notch from what it could be).

    That said, the fact that I know I will screw up or fall short at some point (probably daily) does not preclude me from calling out others for their failings. The knowledge that we are all sinners does not excuse willful continuation of sin. The friend you describe recognizes his failure (wait—should I call a loss of faith failure?) but is unwilling to accept the consequences of that failure. That’s a problem.

  22. ain’t that the truth, cory. your delivery at prairie edge, springtime, was bombastic, in a great way. how i wish i would have debated, or acted, in High School. way too busy, too cool then, and introverted though. and those were the AP kids, too. only had the privilege of one AP english class.

  23. Thanks, Leslie. Secularists living in God’s country need to use their bombast judiciously, just like Dems in a red state. But there are times and places for bombast.