I read a few days ago that Hemant Mehta was going to be in LA this weekend, speaking at the Atheists United meeting. I’ve been a reader of his blog for at least 3 years, and love his writing style and the insights he brings to his posts. As I was thinking about it earlier, I realized that his blog was one of the first atheist blogs I started reading, and it’s definitely the one that’s made the biggest impact (as evidenced by it’s continued presence in my Google Reader).
I’d never actually been to an atheist gathering before, and was a little nervous before showing up. Although Leo was coming with me, I was worried that I’d stand out in some way. I’ve read stories on blogs about people being the only young attendees, or being the only woman, and I couldn’t help worrying that some scenario I wasn’t prepared for would present itself.
I shouldn’t have worried. We walked in and got our nametags, and were immediately welcomed by several people. I went to the bathroom, and when I came back, Leo had met Hemant, bought a copy of his book (I Sold My Soul on Ebay) and gotten him to sign it for me! The English major in me loves signed copies.
After milling about for awhile, we went in for his talk. It was entertaining, enlightening, and very informative. It wasn’t ever boring, which I always appreciate.
After the talk, I was able to meet Richard Wade, also known as Ask Richard on Hemant’s blog. I was so happy to be able to tell him how much his “column” has meant to me. Coming from an Evangelical Christian family, I’ve often felt like I don’t have many people to turn to for advice on “coming out” or any other issues. Even though I’d never met Richard, reading his columns made me feel like someone out there could answer concerns similar to mine. He was nice enough to agree to take a picture with me for the blog!
Although I was really excited to meet Hemant (and get his book), meeting Richard was really the highlight of my day. 🙂
Afterwards, we sat down as a large group to eat lunch. It was awesome to be able to eat with a group of people (something I miss about church) but be able to discuss atheism and belief in a setting where I knew nobody would misrepresent or take offense at my views.
All in all, a great afternoon, and a great introduction for me to atheist events. Plus…books! My review of I Sold My Soul on Ebay will be coming soon!