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Ask the Patriarch 169
A Gathering

from: Jerome Davis

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An agnostic conference needs to take place.  We need to show people the religious roots of current conflicts in the modern world

The Patriarch replies:


There's two issues to deal with here - a conference, and whether current conflicts have their roots in religion.

First - a conference. I'm quite supportive of the idea of an agnostic conference. But, over the past ten years or so, I have found very little enthusiasm for the idea among other agnostics. Perhaps that is one of the most significant differences between agnostics and atheists - we just aren't that motivated to go to meetings.

Several years ago there was a meeting in Atlanta. A mere handful of people (essentially the most active few on the discussion board) showed up. A couple of years ago we tried to arrange something in Niagara Falls. Again, just a handful.

I invite you to open the issue on our discussion boards just to see if there is interest in a genuine conference. You will need to find people willing to put in a significant amount of effort to organize the conference, to raise up-front financing, to promote the event, to obtain guest speakers. It is a lot of work.

It's is not an additional workload I am prepared to take on. I am quite prepared to publish the details of the conference on this site, but that's it. (I think I'm already doing my fair share in promoting agnosticism.)

So Jerome, if you really want a conference, you are going to have to take the initiative in organizing it. The discussion board is there for you to present your ideas, and to obtain the assistance of others in refining those ideas and setting up an organizing committee.

What about the idea that the roots of most current conflicts lie in religion? I know many non-believers make this claim, but the more I think about it, the less I think that it is accurate.

Yes, many conflicts are between people of different religions, but they are also between different ethnicities and different nationalities. They are between different economic systems and different political systems. They are between different interpretations of history, and of land ownership.The divisions between peoples which lead to conflict are multidimensional and it is a mistake to blame those divisions solely or primarily upon religion.