'Imagine No Religion' Canadian Atheist Convention Sells Out
A Canadian atheist conference with speakers from across the world was sold out of tickets some time before registration closed.
The "Imagine No Religion 2" Conference, set to take place this weekend in Kamloops, British Columbia, announced their success last week via email.
Don Hutchinson, director of the Centre for Faith and Public Life of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, told The Christian Post that the conference's announced success was "a relative term."
"The conference website says all meetings are being held in the Kamloops Convention Centre's Theatre Room, which has a maximum capacity of 450," said Hutchinson.
"I wouldn't read too much into their gathering, just as I don't side with those who think evangelicals are plotting to take over the world every time there's a major prayer event or conference."
The "Imagine No Religion 2" event was preceded by the "Imagine No Religion" event last year in Kamloops. David Gordon, Vancouver Branch director for the Centre for Inquiry, told CP that the event came about as a way to gather secular organizations across the world together.
"The Center for Inquiry Canada began to critically assess the possibility of organizing a conference in British Columbia that would bring together like-minded individuals to list to high-profile speakers discuss pertinent social issues regarding religion and secularism," said Gordon.
"Last year's conference in Kamloops was a huge success so there was a hugely positive response to this year's conference. There are 240 people registered to attend this year's event."
Organizations sponsoring the conference include CFI Canada, Atheist Alliance International, and the Kamloops Centre for Rational Thought.
Gordon attributed the successful selling out of INR 2 to CFI Canada taking "a very proactive role in terms of marketing and promoting the event nationwide."
"Added to this, secular movements are becoming much more vocal and organized throughout North America right now," said Gordon.
"The conference in Kamloops seeks to address how secular people should try to deal with organized religion in our society."
Speakers for the event include American theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, Pharyngula science blog author and biology professor "PZ" Myers, and human rights activist Maryam Namazie.
As part of the scheduled events, on Friday evening there will be a debate over the existence of God. Christopher DiCarlo of Freethought TV and Atheist Community of Austin president Matt Dillahunty will argue for atheism while philosopher Michael Horner and Dr. Paul Chamberlain of the Institute for Christian Apologetics at Trinity Western University will argue for theism. Mel Rothenburger, editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, will serve as moderator.
"The conference schedule notes the Friday night debate on the topic of God's existence will feature Dr. Paul Chamberlain and Michael Horner presenting the faith side," said Hutchinson of EFC to CP. "Hopefully, they've left space for some local folks to attend the debate on Friday evening."