Closing our scheduled religion coverage for the week, we note, re Reason to Hope:
We regret to advise that the 2018 Global Atheist Convention, Reason to Hope , has been cancelled.
If you are a ticket holder, you are entitled to a refund (including fees) and we will be in touch with you directly. More.
Apparently, Ayaan Hirsi Ali pulled out. Richard Dawkins and Salman Rushdie were expected, as were other atheist luminaries.
The cited reason was poor ticket sales.
Poor ticket sales don’t just happen. Is it possible that the public is losing interest in “bad boy” atheism, whether it is represented by profane Darwinian bloggers or high class hatemongers (religion as a “virus of the mind,” etc.)?
Apart from professional obligations, who cares to argue with these people? The natural instinct of a sensible person is, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, suddenly recollect a subsequent engagement and, as inconspicuously as possible, find another table…
For instance, I know many Christian clergy who were point blank outraged by the “fatwa” against Salman Rushdie, representing as it does, an unhappy conjunction of mosque and state. But then we learn,
Rushdie once called religion a “poison in the blood”. He argued that respect for religion is not deserved:
“What is there to respect in any of this, or in any of the crimes now being committed almost daily around the world in religion’s dreaded name? How well, with what fatal results, religion erects totems, and how willing we are to kill for them.” More.
It would be useless to dwell on the fact that Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot killed hundreds of millions of people on behalf of atheism. We are unlikely to see an honest analysis of atheism-driven mass slaughters among the Reason for Hope crowd. And Australia would be a long way for most people to travel without much hope of insight.
It will be interesting to see if there is a 2019 conference and, if so, what is planned.
See also: An editor and journalist (Ken Francis) reflects on the absurdity of naturalism