American Atheists’ Reason Rally : eradicating Christianity, fleeing dialogue and debate

The atheists are having a rally, so Christian apologist Tom Gilson sent them a message asking if they would be interested in hosting a debate at their “Reason Rally” and he got a reply.

He wrote this:

Dear Mr. Silverman,

Greetings to you… [mention of mutual friend],

I’m writing to ask if you would be interested in sharing sponsorship with me in giving Richard Dawkins and William Lane Craig one more opportunity to share a stage together in debate, while Dr. Dawkins is here in the U.S. later this month. I’m leading the True Reason project, which, as you may or may not be aware, is bringing Christians to the Reason Rally for respectful dialogue with attendees there. Additionally, this morning we released an ebook that has already climbed to best-seller status in the atheism category at Amazon.com, and has attracted enough notice that I’ve been asked to write an op-ed on it for the Washington Post.

I mention these things simply to give you some confidence that I’m representing a legitimate potential debate sponsorship partner to work on this with you and American Atheists. Dr. Craig is again wiling to meet Dr. Dawkins in debate. I have a contact at Georgetown University that would work with us to provide a venue for debate. Would you be open to joining me in inviting Richard Dawkins?

I’ll look forward to hearing you.

Regards,

Tom Gilson
http://www.thinkingchristian.net

And the American Atheists guy replied with this:

Mr. Gilson,

The Reason Rally is an event by and for the nonreligious population and their supporters. It is not an opportunity for Christians to push themselves into other people’s lives (yet again). I would never support infiltrating a Christian event with atheists on some kind of recruitment mission – that would be horribly rude.

Make no mistake – you are not welcomed guests at the rally. We are not going to DC for ‘dialogue’ with people who believe ridiculous things – we are going to have fun with other like-minded people. Those who proselytize or interfere with our legal and well-deserved enjoyment will be escorted to the 1st Amendment pen by security, which will be plentiful, where you can… shout yourselves hoarse.

Spreading out among the crowd is not a substitute for a permit. Indeed, I will be meeting with the Parks Commission on Thursday to discuss how to handle your infiltrative permitless counter-protest.

Dr. Dawkins has made it clear that he doesn’t want to debate Mr. Craig. I am not sure how much clearer he (or I) could be.

Sincerely,
David Silverman
President
American Atheists, Inc.

Why aren’t American Atheists in favor of conversations and debates?

American Atheists on eradicating Christianity

Consider this post on the American Atheists web site. (The PDF is saved here because I knew they would withdraw the post, but you can still see it with Google Cache)

Excerpt:

It should come as no surprise that the individuals who abide by fundamentalist Christian… doctrines would be the first to cry out that they are being persecuted when their dangerous, damaging and disingenuous beliefs come under attack. Most of these people lack the maturity and intelligence to act in a socially acceptable manner.  Many of them are sociopaths and quite a good number of them are psychopaths.  All of them are clearly delusional.

The fact is that fundamentalist Christians… are not interested in coexisting or getting along.  They have no desire for peace. They do not want to sit down with us in diplomatic efforts to iron out our differences and come to an agreement on developing an integrated society.

They want us to die.

Their interpretation of the Bible… are such that there is no other course of action but to kill the infidel, and if anyone believes otherwise they are only fooling themselves.  It is not just in the best interests of atheists to be intolerant of fundamental Christianity and radical Islam, but it is also in the best interest of mainstream believers within these faiths, as well.  Moderates and even Progressives who stand in support of extremists just because there is a claim to the same deity are not doing themselves any favors.  Fundamental Christians make all Christians look bad…

…the underbelly of fundamentalist Christianity… does not operate in the legal system. They don’t respond to lawsuits, letters, amicus briefs or other grass-roots campaigns and they must, must, must be eradicated.

That doesn’t sound very tolerant or open-minded.  It was written by “Al Stefanelli – Georgia State Director, American Atheists, Inc.”. This isn’t the view of regular atheists, but it is the view of militant atheists like those in the American Atheists group.

What do they mean by eradicating Christianity?

From the correspondence with Tom Gilson, we now know that they don’t want a conversation and they refuse to hear both sides in a debate. So they aren’t trying to eradicate Christian ideas by winning conversations or winning debates. What does that leave as a meaning of the phrase “eradicating Christianity”? Can we infer what they mean by “eradicating Christianity” from the e-mail sent by David Silverman? Could it be that eradicating Christianity means using coercion to suppress disagreement and free speech in public places? That seems to be consistent with what Al Stefanelli and David Silverman said. They don’t want to reason with anyone – they want to use force to make sure they never have to see another Christian again, or hear from one. How far would they go with that impulse?

One thing is for sure – there isn’t going to be any reasoning at the “Reason Rally”. As near as I can tell, being an atheist consists in 1) living without any foundation for objective morality and 2) trying to coerce religious people into acting if they are atheists by force. Not much reasoning going on, really, and that’s what you’d expect of people who believe in eternal universes, untestable multiverses and unobservable aliens who seeded the Earth with life.

Note: It is possible that there is a more sinister meaning to their desire to eradicate Christianity, and I wrote about it here.

UPDATE: Amy Hall of STR has linked to us from Stand to Reason for this post. Everybody go read it! Amy wrote it, and I like her work.

17 thoughts on “American Atheists’ Reason Rally : eradicating Christianity, fleeing dialogue and debate”

  1. Equality for atheists? *face palm*

    So no debate at their reason rally huh? Hey, remember when Hitchens and D’Souza debated at the megachurch hosted apologetics conference? I do. I guess that’s the difference between apologetics conferences and reason rallies; one side likes to show the arguments used in public debate and the other side doesn’t.

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  2. Thanks for posting the PDF, WK! I didn’t know American Atheists had removed that Stefanelli article, so I was able to add the PDF to the post I wrote about it way back when (I gave you credit, of course). Thanks!

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  3. Seems so strange to me. I don’t believe in a flat earth but I find no need to have a rally to proclaim the fact.

    Odd people, these atheists. Rallying against something they don’t believe in. Makes no sense at all.

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    1. I think it’s because once they have denied objective morality, they now turn to their peer group for “moral standards”, i.e. – arbitrary conventions that vary by time and place. They deliberately pick out a group of people who will affirm the morality that they already believe: selfish indulgence. Getting together with a group helps them to feel better about their self-centered “morality”.

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  4. Since the “Reason Rally” organizers seem to fear hostile protests from those who know the Lord, I suggest we all meet at the throne of grace. Before God we can engage the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places using the mighty weapons He has given us to pull down strongholds. May those living in darkness see a great Light!

    It is a sad irony that those who say they love reason are afraid to honestly look at the Christ. Instead they hide from the Truth behind the fundamentalist caricature they created.

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  5. It’s just that we atheists are so surrounded by religious messages all the time, even from presidential candidates(!), that we really don’t need to hear it at our own rally. How would you like for someone to stand outside your church on Sundays carrying a sign that says “There is no God” or “You don’t need God”? Secular people are there to rally together, not to be a big target for religious bothering.

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    1. I understand letting the atheist presenters give their lecture without rebuttal during the main program because it is a anti-theist rally after all, but it would be cool for the rally to end with a debate on the existence of God like apologetics conferences have sometimes, e.g. D’Souza and Hitchens debated at the end of a megachurch’s conference which was very cool because it exposed the theists to the opposing arguments.

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      1. Yes, other conferences have done that – like have a debate on abortion or something interesting. I agree. A debate at the end.

        Christians are a lot more open to this debate stuff than atheists.

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      2. Mikel has a point. There’s no reason to think that every time a religious group has a rally, that the fair thing to do would be to end the event with a debate with all the atheist protesters that have been gathered outside the gate throughout the event.

        This sort of thing does happen all the time, and the atheist protesters are being a distraction. They will have heard about some big public gathering of people they disagree with, and take advantage of the publicity of the event to make a fuss about how much they disagree and their own personal agendas. I would think the religious people holding the event would be rightly irked about this “co-opting” of their event, and the last thing they would want or should be asked to do is to invite those atheists to have an opportunity to proclaim their own agenda’s on the religious event’s dime.

        I sort of see the point about the way they chose to name the event implying that it is something else than what it actually is. But it sounds like they are being quite frank about what the event is supposed to be, an event for atheists to talk about their atheist issues. I wouldn’t expect that they would do anything different than what I would expect a religious group would do at their rally (i.e. not invite the dissenters in).

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    2. Mikel,

      I don’t think anyone would have suggested a reasoned debate if the event had been named the American Atheist Good Time Get Together. But calling the event a “Reason” Rally seems to imply that it is about expounding the rational basis for your faith in no God and honestly examining questions and challenges to that faith. In the Christian community entire ministries like Reasons to Believe and Reasonable Faith are dedicated to that purpose, and they welcome discussion and debate with those who disagree with them.

      The Bible calls Christ’s disciples to always be ready to give an answer for the faith that is in us, so we are simply asking atheists to give an answer for the faith that is in them. A mutual search for truth should ultimately benefit everyone.

      The Bible further calls us to give those reasoned answers with gentleness, respect, and good behavior. So if there are any angry, nasty protesters at your rally, they are not following the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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  6. I’m an atheist who attended the Reason Rally. It was pretty cool seeing so much energy from the (hard-to-corral) atheist community.

    I don’t know the details of who was and wasn’t encouraged to attend the rally, but it’s a public mall, and ordinary tourists were walking past the rally. I spend quite a bit of energy seeking out Christians who want to discuss religion and the effect of Christianity on society.

    If you want more, click on my blog link and search for “Back from the Reason Rally.”

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