What a whirlwind of topics! Hahaha. Wow. And I was worried we'd have awkward silences and the like.

I just jotted a few things down while we were talking, which I think were things we all pretty much agreed upon.

1. Creating a space for atheism/atheists. Whether or not one prefers the more reserved and careful approach, or the more outspoken and provocative approach, we all pretty much agreed that atheists as a whole need to try to find ways to make room for atheism and secularism in today's society. We would like to see atheism 'normalized', like homosexuality has largely become normalized (or at least, is in the process of becoming more normalized).

2. Critical thinking skills need to be actively promoted. How to do this might be another topic of discussion, but we all pretty much agreed that there's an unfortunate dearth of critical thinking in society, and it's not just limited to theists; there are plenty of atheists who believe ridiculous things for ridiculous reasons, too. Several of us would like to see critical thinking skills taught as young as 8 years old. In my view, for example, if an 8 year old can understand the +, -, x, and / symbols and apply them to arithmetic, they could certainly also master the ^, v, ~, and => symbols and apply them to Boolean logic. And that's just one aspect of critical thinking. Teaching about fallacies (such as argument from authority) is even easier to teach kids about. It's not that difficult to teach, and it's a shame most people never learn these basic skills.

3. Providing support for those who are isolated or closeted in their atheism. Different atheists may have different experiences. Some people may know lots of atheists, and have no problem being open in their atheism. Others may feel like they are the only atheist around, and there may be real, tangible negative consequences if they 'come out' as an atheist. There was mention of many people in the Catholic school system who are basically forced to conform or suffer significant social problems, such as loss of a job. It would be a worthwhile thing for Windsor Atheists to be a source of support for such cases where people are isolated in their lack-of-belief.

And that's just 3 topics out of probably close to 20 or 30 topics we discussed. I think we've seen that there's plenty of 'cud' for this group to chew on (to borrow a metaphor from the evening).

We're going to try to have the next meeting at The Keg, since JP may be able to finagle some connections there. Should be fun to have the option to have some drinks and snacks and comfier chairs.

Tags: critical thinking, meetup, space for atheism, support, wrap-up

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