Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hemant Mehta's Talk at Berkeley

Hemant Mehta came to UC Berkeley yesterday to give a talk to the Berkeley Students for A Nonreligious Ethos. Yes, the Lucky Atheist met the Friendly Atheist! Great talk, really glad to meet him in person, really glad to meet some of the people in a university atheist group, plus we all went out afterwards for pizza and good discussion.

One thing that stuck with me was Hemant's experiences with moderate religious people and organizations. He emphasized that shock-value atheists aren't helping matters, and if atheist groups and Christian groups at universities are using their unique relationships to (in at least one case) build houses together, so much the better. Over the long-term we get more deverts by being good examples of how atheism is a better way to live.

So, I'm going to start an AGD (Atheist Good Deeds) series. This could be anything from donating time to personal improvement, like breaking bad habits. I'm going to do both in April. I'm going to get the kid I've been mentoring since 2001 to finish his GED exams, and I'm going to give up chocolate for the whole month. (Atheist Lentmadan, I guess.) What will you do?


Anonymous said...

I was a Christian for the first 25 years of my life. Since I "de-converted", I have lived a much MORE moral life than before.I am more generous with my money (I give more now than when I was obligated to "tithe"). According to those around me I am more honest, more considerate and otherwise living my life at a higher standard of morals and ethics than before.

It seems strange now, but when I was a Christian, I used to fear the "inevitable" moral decline that might happen if I left my faith behind.

Michael Caton said...

It must be amazing to think of your previous mindset from your current one. But you're also extremely valuable as an atheist, because you know what the concerns are of on-the-fence theists and can address them much more effectively.