PAStAHCon Showed Us How Atheist Conferences Should Be Run

pastahcon_2017This weekend, I attended the PA State Atheist/Humanist Conference in Philadelphia. Amazingly (that’s sarcasm), the conference was successful despite not providing a platform for misogynists, racists, white supremacists, alt-righters, rape apologists, or any others with similarly vile points of view.

Wait, what? We can still put on conferences without making them into a shit show? Apparently so. I’m looking at you, MythCon.

Not only did humanism and activism take center stage at this event, but for the second straight time the conference concluded with a community service project called Atheists Fight Hunger, where conference attendees, speakers, and organizers worked together to raise funds and pack meals for local people in need. What’s more humanistic than that? It’s one thing when speakers get up on stage and tell us what we should be doing more of, or instruct us how to be better atheists and humanists. It’s quite another when attendees get to stand elbow to elbow with them and make a difference, practicing what we preach.

PAStAHCon featured speakers such as David Silverman, Hemant Mehta, Alix Jules, Amanda Scott, Tracie Harris, Lawrence Krauss, Yvette d’Entremont, and others doing great work. It was a terrific lineup filled with motivating talks and reinvigorated many who may have otherwise felt some burnout or distaste with the atheist/secular movement (like me) after recent issues that have further fractured the community and distracted us from our goals.

No, one successful conference is not going to heal the atheist community nor solve the internal issues we have. But this was definitely a step in the right direction. My congratulations go out to the organizers of PAStAHCon. Thank you for putting on another great event and setting an excellent example for other organizers to follow. I’m already looking forward to the next one.


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Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is the head writer and editor for SecularVoices, co-founder of Young Skeptics, and author of Understanding an Atheist. He is known for local and national secular activism and has spoken at conferences and events such as Reason Rally 2016 and the Ark Encounter Protest and Rally.

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3 thoughts on “PAStAHCon Showed Us How Atheist Conferences Should Be Run

  1. I agree. I want all secular conventions to do more for the hungry and destitute. Much better than ranting about sjw bs all day.

  2. People like Silverman are trying to turn atheists and skeptics into a voting bloc. The problem is a lot of the people in the community arn’t Democrats. Atheism dosen’t equal votes for the far left. It means i don’t believe in god.

    1. It’s true that atheism doesn’t automatically mean democrat, but most atheists are liberals. There are certainly exceptions, but when the party on the right tries as hard as it can to identify with Christianity (but fails in practice), atheists tend to steer clear.

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