Highlights From The Great Lakes Atheist Convention In Toledo

Highlights From The Great Lakes Atheist Convention

By David G. McAfee

Last weekend, I attended – and gave a talk for – my very first atheist conference, the Great Lakes Atheist convention in Toledo, Ohio, which ran from Aug. 16-18. I’d like to start by saying that the group that sponsored the event, led by Barbara Williams, did an incredible job planning and implementing this first-time convention.

The event featured a number of well-known speakers, including author and former pastor Jerry DeWitt, atheist blogger and co-founder of Skepticon JT Eberhard, and political activist Zack Kopplin. Rebecca Vitsmun, known for her post-tornado interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, also showed up as a last-minute addition at the end of the convention.

Here’s a photo from Saturday, Aug. 17.

Jerry DeWitt, Sam Singleton, JT Eberhard, David G. McAfee, and Zack Kopplin at the Great Lakes Atheist convention in Toledo, Ohio.

Jerry DeWitt, Sam Singleton, JT Eberhard, David G. McAfee, and Zack Kopplin at the Great Lakes Atheist convention in Toledo, Ohio.

I was lucky to have my talk scheduled toward the end of the weekend. I spoke on Sunday morning just before Rebecca Vitsmun, so I was able to see and evaluate everybody’s presentation before putting on my own. The speakers all did a great job, but there were a few stand-outs. 

My personal favorite talk was by JT Eberhard, who spoke about everything from debating the existence of God to evaluating scientific conclusions. JT was funny, concise, and inspiring. I told him afterward that a Christian observer might seriously question their dogma after viewing his presentation – and he confirmed that has indeed happened. In short, if you get to hear JT speak, I’d highly recommend it.

Jerry DeWitt also gave a great talk, which largely consisted of a reading of his new book, “Hope After Faith.” I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, but the talk convinced me I should.

Atheist Evangelist Sam Singleton also stopped by and gave an amazing performance that had many non-believers feeling like they were back in church – a hilarious and satirical church. Singleton preached about the importance of evidence and even sold ex-baptism soap. It was a great show.

I was also fortunate enough to meet Frank Zindler, the director of American Atheists Press and former editor of American Atheists Magazine. Frank published my first secular essay, “America: One Nation, Under God,” in AA Mag in March 2009. It was a pleasure to meet the man who got me started on the road to secular authorship.

I gave my talk on Sunday and signed books afterward. There was a very positive response, and I’ve been told that video should be available soon.

Here’s a photo from my talk.

David G. McAfee on Sunday, Aug. 18.

David G. McAfee on Sunday, Aug. 18.

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2 responses to “Highlights From The Great Lakes Atheist Convention In Toledo

  1. Pingback: Highlights From The Great Lakes Atheist Convent...

  2. Dear. Atheists, book. Of. Hebrews. Says: what. Will. Happen. If. We. Neglect so. Great a. Salvation, (thru. Jesus), there. Is. No other. Hope to. Escape eternal. Damnation. Thanks.

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