But the connections I've made aren't just limited to atheists. At RT's quarterly Ask an Atheist table (the same event that originally got me interested in the group) I met a guy named Neil. He's a Christian who preaches on campus now and then, and it turns out that he not only knows both of my parents, but actually converted my dad from Judaism to Christianity. I had heard my mom mention that she knew someone who preached at UCSD, but this comment never sank in until I met him. Although of course I see Neil's views as deeply misguided, he did seem like a sincere and kind person. Thankfully, he agreed to let me tell my family about my unbelief on my own time rather than tattling on me himself, so that's one potential disaster averted.
I'll be attending some additional RT events over the next two weeks. There's a talk on "Hate Speech in Religious Texts" on Thursday as part of the Hate-Free Campus Campaign. While the point of the meeting is to draw attention to intolerant verses in the Bible and Quran, in a way it's also meant as a criticism of the very idea of "hate speech." Really, all (legal) forms of speech should be allowed on campus, even those with hateful content. Following that is Atheism Awareness Week, five day's worth of events on the following topics:
- Monday: "What's an Atheist?"
- Tuesday: "Questioning Religion"
- Wednesday: "Improve Your Mental Health"
- Thursday: "Critical Thinking Workshop"
- Friday: "Parenting Beyond Belief"