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November Public Meeting - Program featuring Community Education & Participation

Arrive anytime between 1:00 and 2:00, here's the schedule:

1:00-1:15 p.m. – Social Time 
1:15-1:45 p.m. – Business Meeting 
1:45-2:00 p.m. – Social Time
2:00-3:30 p.m. – Program
4:00-whenever – Dinner at Little Szechuan (422 University Ave W; St Paul, MN)


Program: Community Education and Participation

For our November meeting we’ve decided to try something new, ambitious, and hopefully rewarding. We want a program that will engage our members more than usual, which will address some of the questions we all have. The program will be led by Bernadette Chlebeck and Phil Cunliffe.

We will start by posting on the wall issues from three categories: 1) Religious Apologetics (arguments from religious people directed at atheists), 2) Atheist Apologetics (arguments from atheists directed at religious people), and 3) Atheist Lifestyle questions and attitudes about how we live our lives that we are often asked by religious people, the public, and which we ask ourselves.

Members will gather around the issues of their choice and the most popular ones will be taken back to tables for group discussions of 6-8 people. After a period of discussion these small groups will make presentations to the whole group. We also anticipate having a panel of “experts” to bounce our ideas off.

Not only should these discussions provide answers we can all use, but we anticipate that a byproduct will be bringing to our attention talented new leaders.

Following is a sample list of issues. We may add to the list and any questions we don’t get to this time could be used for a future session if members tell us they like this type of program.

Religious Apologetics

• The Argument from Design

• The “Fine-Tuned” Universe

• “Intelligent Design” in Biology

• The Origin and Maintenance of Morality

• The Meaning of Life

Atheist Apologetics

• The Problem of Evil

• The Problem of Conflicting Revelations

• The Problem of an All-knowing God and Human Free Will

• Unintelligent Design

Atheists Lifestyle

• Talking about Grief, Dying and Death

• Talking about Religious Events with Family (Baptisms, Confirmations, Bar Mitzvahs, Weddings)

• Talking about Family Gathering Holiday Prayers/Religious Traditions

• Being Treated as Not Trustworthy by Society

Join or login to comment.

  • Ann Z.

    At the Public Meeting, August discussed a couple of options for housing the MN Atheists library. A couple of thoughts to add to that discussion:
    1. Does The Loft literary center accept collections on loan? If so, it might be a way to expand exposure in the community as well as a cost-effective way to store it temporarily. And, it might be possible to offer a class in writing a religion autobiography at The Loft, perhaps for a second volume of the Minnesota Voices?
    2. I have space to store the library free of charge at my house, as long as I can read the books while they're there. The down side of this is location and limited access for members. I live in Big Lake and am gone a lot, so it could be hard arranging visits.
    3. I'll volunteer to help organize a fundraiser to cover costs of the current storage rental.

    November 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I would like to thank everyone who came out to the public meeting today. We would like to get some feedback from the group to help us decide if we should do this again and if we do what adjustments should be made.
    Please response in the comments section or email Phil or myself directly through our meetup profiles.

    1) Would you like to see an event like this in future public meetings? If yes how often?

    2) What did you like about the format and would like to again?

    3) What did you dislike about the format and would like to see changed? 4) Are there questions you would like to discuss again? 5) Are there questions we did not discuss that you would like to see in a future meetup?

    6) any other comments Thanks again
    Your feedback will be very helpful in making decision about this format for future public meetings.

    Bernadette & Phil

    November 17, 2013

    • Joe S.

      Jordan- I'd like to go out for a beer some night. My treat! I'm interested in going to grad school for philosophy as well. Would love to pick your brain.

      November 19, 2013

    • Ann Z.

      I really enjoyed the discussion Sunday and thank you for allowing me to participate! Jill and I work together and she invited me to the panel, too. I am a psychologist and specialize in behavioral psychology. Raised by "Holiday Lutheran" parents, my early observations of human behavior found strong evidence-based answers in psychology but none in religion. I've worked with adults who have serious and persistent mental illness and/or chemical dependency for 25+ years, making questions of religion, reality, and ethics part of daily discussions. A U of M class in the 80s on Psychology of Religion fueled my passion for studying the effects of religions on communities and individuals. I am excited to have the opportunity to learn from all of you!

      1 · November 19, 2013

  • Donald A.

    It was excellent to meet with old friends I hadn't seen in a long time. The meeting content was good.

    1 · November 18, 2013

  • Matthew H.

    Parking was great and the meeting was very interesting.

    November 17, 2013

  • Matthew H.

    Wonderful discussion with great people. Let's do this again this winter!

    2 · November 17, 2013

  • Angelique

    Thank you everyone for the thoughtful discussion.

    3 · November 17, 2013

  • Eric

    Stuck at home with a sick child. Sorry I can't make it today :(

    Sounds like it'll be a great time though. Love Rondo Library!

    November 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Too busy.

    November 17, 2013

  • Steve P.

    George, you are one of the greatest and you keep us atheists honest. I like that.

    1 · November 13, 2013

  • George K.

    I think "atheist apologetics"implies a false equivalence between atheism and religion. Atheism is non-doctrinal. We have nothing to defend. We are free to follow the findings of science and conclusions of reason wherever they lead.

    3 · November 11, 2013

    • George K.

      I'll be there, and I'll listen. And, if in that discussion people are asserting atheist doctrines, I will probably disagree.

      November 11, 2013

    • August B.

      I suppose you could say we have a method, the scientific method, but not any immutable, a priori doctrine.

      November 12, 2013

  • Matthew H.

    I'll be there with my wife Nancy.

    November 11, 2013

  • Douglas H.

    Jo and I will do our best to join in the "FUN"!

    1 · November 11, 2013

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