A friend of mine is a reporter who specializes in social media. She did a quick phone interview with me (Cory) leading up to the conference. Unfortunately she got very busy and didn't get a chance to write the article until the last minute so it didn't get out before the conference. I thought it would be cool to share the article she spent so much time worrying about with those of you who come to the Brainstorm website. I also wanted to thank Becky for live tweeting the event from the Brainstorm Podcast twitter account. Make sure to follow us @Brainstormpod and follow Becky at . Here's the article Becky wrote.
It started out as a podcast.
Now it has led to the first secular conference in Saskatchewan on Apr. 30.
Cory Johnston started the Brainstorm podcast in 2013 to bring critical thinking to the podcast world.
Along with his friends, Johnston discusses news, politics, religion, science; all the things that are taboo at family gatherings.
And really, it was just a needed excuse for Johnston and his friends to hang out.
Atheism and secularism has always been an important subject to Johnston, especially since his 30s.
“Religion does harm in society, so I’ve always thought I needed to be part of the movement to battle against that.”
Discussion, education, and critical analysis of all religions is a big topic on the show.
"Especially for religious or non-religious belief, there is no evidence to support the belief system."
"A lot of religion plays the apology game", says Johnston, "with people excusing parts of their religion as not what they believe."
"This is people's way of justifying religion", says Johnston.
To Johnston, there is no religion that redeems the rest of the belief systems because all religions do harm in some way.
“Lots of atheists say that Buddhism isn’t as bad as some of the more monotheistic religions. But I find there is plenty of harm done by Buddhism as well.”
This Truth that each religion has, including Buddhism, puts other religious belief and non-believers into an Others category, like an out group.
“That creates a type of stress between both groups.”
Some people would say that atheism is a type of belief system, laughs Johnston, but atheism does not speak on what atheists believe.
“It speaks to what I don’t accept from other people’s beliefs,” says Johnston.
Taking on discussions on belief, Johnston just want people to be more understanding of the fact that there is more beliefs than just their own, he says.
They also bring in talk of racism, feminism, sexism, and other discussions about societal issues.
“It’s an attempt in many ways to broaden people's awareness of what other ways of thinking there are.”
One guest that is also going to be at the conference is Nathan Phelps, son of a Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church.
He discussed his escape from his father and the church and why he condemns the church on a recent episode of the podcast.
Other guests include, atheist vlogger and activist, Aron Ra, host of the webcast and cable access television show "The Atheist Experience", Matt Dillahunty, and University of Regina Professor and Head of the Department of Religious Studies, William Arnal.