Challenging the Deepest Beliefs

Minnesota Atheists president encourages discussion between those with different views

Reposted from the MSU Reporter

August Berkshire, president of the Minnesota Atheists, will present "The Top 12 Excuses Religious People Give for the Horrible Behavior of their God" at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Centennial Student Union 284 at Minnesota State.

The event is hosted by Campus Atheists and Agnostics. According to organization member Trista Ayers, the presentation is designed for non-religious individuals and religious individuals to open discussion on important topics.

"People are more than welcome to bring their own ideas," Ayers said.

Many of the members of Campus Atheists and Agnostics know Berkshire on a personal level. He played a big role in getting the MSU Atheists and Agnostics chapter off the ground, Ayers said.

Berkshire gave a presentation on campus last fall about the "unconvincing" arguments for God's existence. He will tackle another controversial topic Wednesday by challenging the reasons religious individuals give for why bad things happen to good people. After Berkshire's presentation on the topic, those in attendance are encouraged to ask questions and voice their personal opinions.

"I think it's something that does piqué a lot of people's interest," Ayers said. "You just have to be willing to challenge your beliefs."

No matter what individuals' beliefs are, Ayers said, Berkshire's presentation will force people to re-examine those beliefs and why they hold them. She added that everyone is welcome at the event.

"We're not all evil people," Ayers said of atheists and agnostics. "We aren't going to try to convert anyone or anything. The goal of this is to get people talking and thinking."

Berkshire is known for his affinity to start interesting, and not always popular, conversations. On his Web page, augustberkshire.com, he blogs about the 5 C's of atheism.

"Yes, atheism is a conservative position," Berkshire wrote. "We accept statements only so far as there is reason and/or evidence to back them up.?Anything else is speculation."?

He goes on to discuss the clarity, consistency, contradiction-free, courageous lifestyle he attributes to atheism.

Though the majority of Berkshire's postings are adamantly atheist, he is not afraid or unwilling to engage in civil discussions with those holding views opposite his own. The Web page also contains recording of his recent appearance on "KKMS Live with Jeff and Lee," a Minneapolis/St. Paul Christian talk radio show.

Nia Jonesz is the Reporter news editor

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