Minnesota Atheists Meetup Group Message Board › Some ideas/meta-discussion/meetup proposals

Some ideas/meta-discussion/meetup proposals

John H.
user 11414150
Saint Paul, MN
Post #: 2
I've been a member for maybe a year now, and wanted to start a discussion for some thoughts on meetups. I by far have preferred the "talk" types of events -- Avalos, Shermer, the virtual Creationist Museum tour, etc. I also enjoyed my quota of two newbie nights. Primarily, due to deconverting from Christianity (LINK), I'm in the business of looking for a new social group since all of my relationships were centered around faith.

This meetup is great -- my summary after a year is that the meetups are primarily (listed in my estimate of decreasing frequency):
- FreeThinking Females (recent, but now one of the most frequent)
- Book club events
- Blasphemer's brunches
- Newbie nights
- Invited speakers (1x / 3 mos?)
- A few political-type things scattered here and there

Hopefully I didn't miss anything major (Edit: I did! Meal and Reels). In any case, what's the interest in some kind of recurring meetup either topic based, or simply social? Like a recurring happy hour or open discussion?

Or would anyone be interested in discussing how to become more rational (LINK)?

Or perhaps surveying various arguments/evidence for/against the existence of god and talking about it?

I don't know what the "Freethinking Females" do, but I wonder if my vision is something similar but co-ed?

Just some ideas. I'm posting particularly because I think I do best with a particular type of mental stimulation, hence I've attended almost every talk that I can. I also have approximately zero people that I can discuss completely openly with, and thus also gravitate toward the social events as well (or the social stuff after the talks). See a post of mine for more on that (LINK).

Anyway, I guess I'm just trying to open up the floor and see what others think. It sounds odd to say... but I'd somewhat summarize my goals by saying that I need new best friends. Yes, that does sound weird. Post-deconversion, I still have some that are close, but many simply fell away, stopped contacting, it seems awkward now, etc. My social circle plain and simple took a huge hit. People think "a part of me is missing" and what not. This gets difficult to deal with, especially when you are fairly sure that "all of you is absolutely still intact" (and even healthier/more aligned with "what is").

I look to the left and see that there's apparently 877 members to this group, but my perusing of the meetups doesn't suggest that this number is getting tapped (no offense! It's still a very active meetup). Since this is approximately my only known avenue for contact with "real people," (you know, the flesh and blood kind vs. my dwelling in the blog-o-world) who share similar beliefs, I decided to take some action.

I'm up for helping organize something like this if this is seen as the barrier, so if you like the ideas, don't immediately think that "it's too much work." It's worth enough to me to help organize, propose topics, venues, etc.

Let me know your thoughts!
Mary A.
PersephoneK
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 1
Hi!

I'm a newbie, so I also may have missed some of the meet-ups in this vein, but I think what you're suggesting is a great idea. I am also a recovering Christian, and have had similar experiences with losing friends that you are describing. I also really love discussion/debate, and just in general meeting other free-thinkers in "real life." Maybe something like a book club, but without the book. Just a broad topic/concept to get the conversation going?

Cheers!
Mary
Jack C.
user 3043821
Group Organizer
Minneapolis, MN
Post #: 53
I'm trying to host a Disbeliever's Dialogue once a month, too. Kind of a book club without the book. I always ask for topics, usually with a podcast or TED Talk or the like to base it on, just so everyone's on more or less the same page. Anyone who has an idea, please post it or send it to me.

Thanks,

Jack C.
John H.
user 11414150
Saint Paul, MN
Post #: 3
@Jack: yes, I actually forgot those. I have been wanting to attend and even signed up for 1-2 but kids and/or some other conflict have prevented me from attending. These sound great, though I think there could be a place for purely social stuff -- like the "post-activities" after Shermer, for example. Do we need Shermer to come and give us a reason to hang out together?

I found both the talk and the after event equally rewarding, just on different levels.

As for topics, I could see talking through various apologetics (either pro/anti-faith) and trying to discuss their strong/weak points could be interesting. Off the top of my head, there's some ballpark lists HERE that one could work from.

Or picking something that's still "up in the air" -- for example, I've heard debaters talk about inexplicable Near Death Experiences (where people flat-line and see something on the roof of the hospital, for example). It'd be neat to research these and confirm/debunk such things.

Or even a sub-meeting of those more recently deconverted? I could talk forever for support and input about my situation (see that link in my original post above), and love to talk about how others are coping of the "aftermath" of deconversion still pursues them.

Anyway, these are more or less broad brush strokes to throw something out there.

I'd summarize it by simply asking if anyone thinks that there are those out there who would enjoy more social/less-structured meetups just because we enjoy the company of other non-believers where we can share thoughts, stories, advice, and perhaps even self-improve based on some targeted goals.

I have nothing like this in my life, thus I'm reaching out. (And, hence, why I'm often one of the last to leave the meetups I do attend!)
A former member
Post #: 150
I have two young children (2 & 6 months) so going to anything too formal is a major challenge. I would love to participate in some 'very' informal gatherings (preferably on the East Metro side of town). Maybe at local parks or libraries where the kids could play and the adults could converse.

I'm a born and raised atheist (3rd generation) so I have no background in the fellowship concept, but my husband was a Christian as a child, and says that is the one thing he misses about the religious community. I would love to have my children know others who are not raised religiously!

I would be willing to host either at my home (in Woodbury) or a local park, possibly some sort of 'come as you are' get-together with kids welcome?
John H.
user 11414150
Saint Paul, MN
Post #: 5
@Andrea: I'm in a similar place: 2.5 years old and 8 mos! MN Atheists do tend to have some picnics during the summer that sound just like what you'd be looking for. Not many people have responded to this yet, so maybe I'll wait and see if anything shakes out. Otherwise, maybe I can just post a meetup idea and see if it takes off.

My wife is a believer and doesn't generally like to come to this stuff, so bringing the whole family (kids and all) is something I hadn't thought of!

Thanks for the comment.
John
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