Photo Credit: American Atheists
American Atheists traditionally hold their national convention, the biggest event of the year, during Easter weekend. So the next year's convention will take place April 19-21 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Less than an hour's drive away, in Williamstown, Kentucky, during that same weekend, The Creationists at Answers in Genesis are going to host an “Answering Atheists” conference. The invitation for the event has been posted on Answers in Genesis website, and it goes as follows:
"Many atheists have never really heard a clear, logical defense of the Christian faith that answers their skeptical questions. Both Christians and atheists alike are welcome to attend this five-day conference at the Ark Encounter! Find hope and encouragement as you learn the answers to the common questions asked by atheists and other skeptics."
What is the reason behind the idea to host creationist's conference during the same weekend when atheists hold their own event? Maybe they are trying to take away some of the attention or publicity that atheists get, but, no matter the fact that their invitation is addressing both christians and atheists, it is not likely to expect that creationists are going to draw away atheist's audience. People who attend this type of events are very different and it is hard to believe that atheists are going to skip an annual conference in order to hear "a clear, logical defense of the Christian faith that answers their skeptical questions", as the invitation states. The answers to these questions are going to be provided by keynote speakers including Ken Ham and Ray Comfort, in addition to a diverse lineup of dynamic presenters from Answers in Genesis and other organizations.
The event and its timing are not logical when you have in mind that Jim Helton, the National Field Organizer for American Atheists and co-Founder of the Tri-State Freethinkers, already proposed to Ark Encounter staff member Tony Ramsek a joint event with creationists during the next year's atheist's convention. According to Patheos, Helton's idea was to organize discussion-type setting or even a debate and it seemed like the Ark Encounter staff was receptive to the idea, but in the end they have chosen to spend five whole days talking about what Creationists should say to atheists. If they were truly interested in saying anything to us, they’d accept our invitation to say it to us directly.
Helton's idea sounds good and such event will give chance to both atheists and creationists to present their opinion through civilized discussion which will than allow audience to reach logic conclusion. On the other hand, Creationist's event, during which they are going to present "a clear, logical defense of the Christian faith that answers atheist's skeptical questions" without the possibility for audience to hear different opinion, is clearly targeting and reaching out for people who are not willing to hear anything different.