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Monday, March 15, 2010

~ priest of reason

I left this weekend’s Atheist convention, like many others I imagine, with a feeling that we might well be on the cusp of change. Only time will tell, however, whether the great communal spirit generated over the three days will translate into any sort of social action.

I made many many notes and I’ll probably be talking about this experience for weeks to come, but for now, I just want to cry out about how wonderful it was.

I went by myself and, in a Melbourne crowd of thousands, I encountered only two friends, yet I felt far from isolated. It was a strange and wonderful feeling finding oneself in a such huge mass of like-minded, like-spirited people. There was a palpable energy in the air. An electrically vibrating morphogenetic field [if you like] binding us all together. A little like a religious gathering, I suspect. Just the kind of social construct that the churches are experienced at providing - and of which the non-believers need more.

Again and again, speakers noted that this was the largest gathering of Atheists they had ever seen or heard of in the world. And the last of these speakers, Richard Dawkins, was predictably brilliant. Beyond his actual words, I was astonished by the air of thoughtfulness, wisdom, humility and kindness he generated. Perhaps it was partly the great respect in which he was held by the audience, but he simply shone with charisma - like a true priest of reason.

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4 comments:

gavgams said...

Shit, I which I was there

Matt said...

Hi Sam. It was great to see you there!
I also left the convention enthused and with definite sense of optimism.
Dawkins spoke well, but I particularly enjoyed the range of speakers, range of views and the many discussions they generated.
It's a bit of a shame that the media is focusing on the perceived "ridicule" of the faithful, when it was such a very small part of the weekend's activities!

Anonymous said...

Was the experience similar to the Bowie line in '78? : ) Good luck Sam, you're a one-off. Cheers - great blog

Sam Sejavka said...

Anonymous, you may be right. There were definite analogies ... isolated individuals of a like mind finding each other at last ...