Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Reason Rally Experience: Angry by Compassion!

My experience at the Reason Rally 24th March 2012 was truly amazing. It was my birthday, and I can say: I had the most incredible birthday!

The story starts on Friday, the day before, when I saw that the Reason Rally organizers were launching a contest for the VIP seats.
I participated with my last post with some little hope.
In the middle of night, Saturday at 1:00 AM I got a mail from Jason Gross from center for inquiry that I won a seat! Wow, amazing time!

Waking up at 7am going with my friend Dean Marbury @TheDudeInSF, we did the way from our hotel and actually arrived too early :)
But we had a good time, and the rain did not arrived yet.
Finally, from 8am to 6pm we were on the National Mall ground, under the rain, experiencing this great show.

I was a little scared that there will be too much bashing, too much negative thoughts expressed on stage and in the crowd. But, guess what, exactly the opposite happened.
The speeches were emotional, inspirational and extremely positive. All the speakers and musicians gave so much joy and hope, just amazing.
It was an emotional blast!
And the crowd was so fun to be with I could not believe it!

The Reason Rally is not a conference or some lectures, where you get knowledge about what it means to be a "non-believer", but it was an emotional expression of the movement.
Still, I got one new piece of wisdom during the show.
I read before the great blog of Greta Christina about Why Are You Atheists So Angry? and if you are a moral person, you cannot disagree with her.
But during the Rally one more thought came up: Atheist are not angry about what religious people are doing to them. They are not angry to selfishly protect themselves, they are angry because religious dogma is generating a huge amount of horrible suffering to OTHER religious people.

Atheists are angry by compassion.
  • Where is the compassion of the Catholics for their own community members that suffers child abuse?
    Catholics should up in arms against the church for theses crimes.
  • Where is Christian compassion for those teenagers, push to suicide, after being told their gay soul is worthless!
  • Where is the compassion for the millions of AIDS victims in Africa?

Conclusion: ”Angry by Compassion” is my new Meme :)

Because I was afraid that anger will be controlling the show, I wrote in the middle of the night (from Friday to Saturday) this small text addressed to all my fellow Atheists that gathered under the rain:
The protective mother (especially if she is Jewish), will tell you: "You cannot change the world. Go with the flow and you'll have a better life".
Steve Jobs and startup entrepreneurs will tell you: "The ones, who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do".

Both miss the point!

The point is: The world is changing, the world will change.

The real question is: Do you want to participate in this change, or play catch up for the rest of your life!

We are here because we see our world changing. And we know it is not changing for the better. We don't believe, we don't have faith, we KNOW that only reason and rationality can make our world a better place.

Irrational emotional behavior of fundamentalists have no place in public discourse. We are here to remove emotions from our laws, our politics and the public decision making.

But we cannot make the mistake to think that emotion can be replace by reason. Talking rationally and reasonably to emotionally driven people will led us nowhere.

We need to be reasonably emotional!

We need to show how good we feel when we read or listen to Carl Sagan words!
We need to show how amazed and excited we are when we learn how we came to be!
We need to show our deep good feelings when science is telling us how our physical, biological and neurological being came to be!

All the amazing scientific progress keeps providing us food for thought and for our emotions.

We should show the world that, when emotion and reason are in synchrony, you are a better person!

We can and should show anger when religious bigots are pushing homosexual teenagers to suicide, or protecting pedophile priests.

But, the goal is: Let's hammer the point:
"A reason driven society is a better society!"
Let's change this world!

Thank you.

Here I am in the VIP crowd:

Image source

And for the "cerise sur le gateau" I met Shelley Segal which sings with so much emotions, I'm moved every time I hear her.

And also Aron Ra, which can calmly point any irrational thoughts promoted on religious channels (a lot of work he got :)

And finally in the evening, Thunderf00t which spends a lot of his smart brain cycles on exposing the "scientific" behavior of faith ;)

Need some sleep!!!


snicketmom said...

Glad you had a wondrous birthday! I got on of those winner emails in the middle of the night, but I was on a bus, so I didn't know I had one. In hindsight, it would have split our group, so I'm glad I stuck with my own very important people. (I'm still a bit jealous though.) I'm enjoying reading other posts about others' experiences.

Emily said...

Fantastic follow-up post for Reason Rally, Fred! Great meeting you & I hope to see more blogs from you.