In 2011, KU's Society of Open-Minded Atheists & Agnostics (SOMA) put on the first-ever Reasonfest in Lawrence, a free conference for those with no religious affiliation, those questioning religion or those just curious about the atheist experience.
That first year, we featured a debate between Dan Barker, founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and Dr. John-Mark Miravalle, a Catholic teacher and author, on the topic "Does God Exist?" The debate drew a standing-room-only crowd of more than 700 people, and the rest of the one-day conference also had a strong showing. Last year, Reasonfest got bigger, expanding to two days and once again drawing hundreds of attendees.
This year, Reasonfest is expecting an even bigger crowd for its two-day run, Saturday and Sunday, April 20 and 21, at Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union on the University of Kansas campus.
Reasonfest is still free and always will be. To show the wider community that those in the secular community place great emphasis on helping
others, attendees are encouraged to bring at least one non-perishable food item, hygiene product, OTC medication, new or gently used clothing item, or children's toy or book for donation to the Harvesters food pantry and the Lawrence Community Shelter.
This year's Reasonfest theme is "Modern Morality: Making Ethical Decisions in a Secular Society." In keeping with this theme, we will host an interfaith panel Saturday night featuring Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist and Hindu representatives discussing how each
worldview approaches morality and answering audience questions about their views on various moral issues.
After the interfaith panel discussion, Keith Lowell Jensen, a nationally touring comedian, and Shelly Segal, an Australian singer-songwriter, will bring laughs and music to the evening!
On Sunday afternoon, Reasonfest will present another debate, this one in a 2-on-2-style tag-team format. This debate, titled "Moral Combat: Atheism vs. Christianity," will feature nationally known atheist speakers JT Eberhard and Matt Dillahunty against John-Mark Miravalle and his father.
weekend highlights include Nate Phelps, previously of Westboro Baptist Church, who will speak about his experience in leaving the WBC and will offer his words of wisdom for dealing with the group. Also planned are the "Godless Perverts: Story Hour" discussion -- a "Vagina Monologues"-style event for both men and women -- and presentations/skits about human sexuality.
Join us for Reasonfest, beginning at 9 a.m. April 20 and 21, in Alderson Auditorium in the Kansas Union!
Let me know if you have any questions. MANY MORE EMAILS to follow asking for volunteers for security, lodging, picking up speakers from the airport, etc.
Call me with any questions at any moment during the day