‘Friendly atheist’ speaks to thousands at Oak Hills Church

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Not many atheists spend their Sunday mornings at a Texas megachurch as the guest of honor.


And not many megachurches would extend the invitation — especially if the atheist wrote a book called “I Sold My Soul on eBay.”

But at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, senior minister Randy Frazee saw an opportunity to challenge his congregation by inviting Hemant Mehta, a self-described “friendly atheist” from Chicago, to speak with Frazee in front of thousands of Christians.

At four church services over the weekend that attracted about 8,000 people, the preacher and the atheist casually talked and laughed on the brightly lit stage at Oak Hills. Online videos of their talks were posted on the church's website, which crashed Sunday morning from the demand of so many people trying to watch.

Clean-cut and courteous, Mehta could easily be mistaken for a church youth-group leader.

“Is there anything — anything — that might change your mind?” Frazee asked Mehta at one point.

Written By: John Tedesco
continue to source article at mysanantonio.com

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  1. This sounds like a great way to get ideas discussed. Good on him for opening up dialogue with the sensible. The nutters are really not worth wasting time and energy on. However I’m getting interested in how the advert bot targets articles here. I noted that the one about the future of science in Russia had one about dating Russian girls, which sort of makes sense. But what word in the title made this article have the ‘there are crimimals living near you’ ad? It couldn’t be the word ‘atheist’ by any chance could it? Worth asking them I suspect (whoeverer they are).

    • In reply to #1 by headswapboy: I’d prefer to chariterise it as “a” way or one of many. I can’t for one minute believe that there are better ways that work with everyone. Nor have I given up hope on the nutters, there is no reason to believe they aren’t at breaking point over a well dressed mormon/christian.

      This sounds like a great way to get ideas discussed. Good on him for opening up dialogue with the sensible. The nutters are really not worth wasting time and energy on.

      I’m afraid it’s just where you live, I get an ad for electrical energy, we don’t have an criminals living next to us.

      However I’m getting interested in how the advert bot targets articles here. I noted that the one about the future of science in Rus…

    • In reply to #1 by headswapboy:

      This sounds like a great way to get ideas discussed. Good on him for opening up dialogue with the sensible. The nutters are really not worth wasting time and energy on. However I’m getting interested in how the advert bot targets articles here. I noted that the one about the future of science in Rus…

      The ads I get related to sites I’ve been to.

  2. Clean-cut and courteous, Mehta could easily be mistaken for a church youth-group leader. – Its not like religion to stereotype people is it..? like perhaps a Bearded and Rude Atheist is what they expected ?
    It reminds me of a spider inviting the fly into his web – I get the feeling that religion has an ulterior motive when it reaches out to Atheists like this….Churches are already loosing people in droves whether the church discusses Atheists issues or not…that’s the beauty of scientific truth it has a real magnetism about it…..

    • In reply to #2 by Light Wave:

      Clean-cut and courteous, Mehta could easily be mistaken for a church youth-group leader. – Its not like religion to stereotype people is it..? like perhaps a Bearded and Rude Atheist is what they expected ?
      It reminds me of a spider inviting the fly into his web – I get the feeling that religion ha…

      Hey I’m A bearded and rude atheist!! And I resemble that remark.

  3. From the article :

    What happens, Frazee asked, if at the end of Mehta’s life, he suddenly realizes he was wrong about God?

    Face reality Frazee, your God is a phoney, ain’t there, never was. Don’t even these “friendly” Christians ever get tired of making ridiculous threats ?

    Hitch a ride on the Heavenly Express, just in case ?. Get stuffed Pascal. Not me, I’ll stay with reality, thank you.

  4. When I read the phrase “church youth-group leader” I suppose “clean-cut and courteous” comes to mind, but so does the notion “a career choice attractive to pedophiles.”

    But then I read Dan Savage’s blog, which includes the recurring “Youth Pastor Watch”, which documents the horrifying frequency of youth-group leaders victimizing kids.

    The analogy Dan likes to make is that if child-rape happened as often at Denny’s as it happens at churches, then no parent in their right mind would leave their kids in the care of those who work at Denny’s.

    I concede the analogy relies on anecdotal evidence, but it still comes to mind when I read about a “church youth-group leader.”

  5. I really hate the question of “what if, when you die, you find out you are wrong?” It is smug and arrogant, and the best possible answer is Richard Dawkins’ reply “What if YOU”RE wrong and you find out that god is the Great Ju Ju at the bottom of the lake?”
    Bravo to Mehta for having the patience to listen to people’s elaborate delusions and their elaborate wafflings about the things they themselves know are primitive, illogical and contradictory.

    • In reply to #7 by justinesaracen:

      I really hate the question of “what if, when you die, you find out you are wrong?” It is smug and arrogant, and the best possible answer is Richard Dawkins’ reply “What if YOU”RE wrong and you find out that god is the Great Ju Ju at the bottom of the lake?”
      Bravo to Mehta for having the patience to…

      On the other hand, he missed an opportunity when the preacher-man asked “Is there anything that would make you change your mind?” The reply should obviously be “Is there anything that would make YOU change your mind and stop believing in your version of God?” If the believer says ‘no’ then the problem is laid wide open: the impermeability of faith by logic or reality.

  6. This reminds me of something I discovered back in the 1970s. I would get speaking engagements to all manner of groups. including ones for whom I would have thought would have no interested in debating homosexuality. I would find out later that the person who did the inviting was usually someone who was gay and in the closet. They wanted me to break the ice, so they could later come out.

    I wonder if Randee Frazee is a closet atheist.

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