Next year’s American Atheists national convention will take place April 19-21 in Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s Easter weekend, which has traditionally been the time AA holds its biggest event of the year.
And in 2019, they will have some company. The Creationists at Answers in Genesis recently announced that they would be hosting an “Answering Atheists” conference that same weekend, less than an hour’s drive away.
Many atheists have never really heard a clear, logical defense of the Christian faith that answers their skeptical questions. Both Christians and atheists alike are welcome to attend this five-day conference at the Ark Encounter! Find hope and encouragement as you learn the answers to the common questions asked by atheists and other skeptics.
Keynote speakers include Ken Ham and Ray Comfort…
I’m tempted to say they’re trying to step on AA’s toes by taking some of the attention away from the atheists — or capitalizing on the inevitable publicity AA gets. But it’s not like they’re going to draw away attendees; the groups have very separate audiences.
Jim Helton, the National Field Organizer for American Atheists and co-Founder of the Tri-State Freethinkers, told me this other conference doesn’t surprise him one bit, but he doesn’t think it makes much strategic sense.
Every July, the Tri-State Freethinkers hold a demonstration in front of Ark Encounter to mark the anniversary of its 2016 grand opening.
Ark Encounter usually has employees there to proselytize to us and we respond by engaging in civil dialogue. Ark Encounter staff member Tony Ramsek was at this year’s demonstration, so I told him about the 2019 American Atheists National Convention in Cincinnati Easter weekend and that we would be open to discussing the possibility of holding a joint event one of those evenings. I said that we would prefer a discussion-type setting, but we wouldn’t be opposed to a debate. They seemed receptive to the idea, so I planned to follow up with them the first of the year to see if there was still any interest.
The invitation still stands, which is why what they’re doing makes no sense (as usual). They’ve chosen to spend five whole days talking about what Creationists should say to atheists. If they were truly interested in saying anything to us, they’d accept our invitation to say it to us directly.
I doubt the Creationists will take them up on the offer. They’re not interested in reaching atheists or anyone else who understands science. Their target audience has always been ignorant Christians who might fall for their mythology and get taken in by the size of their exhibits.