Seth Andrews, a video producer and former Christian broadcaster, now hosts “The Thinking Atheist”, one of the most popular online atheist communities in the world, a site which encourages all to reject faith and embrace doubt, curiosity and reason.
Seth has chronicled his transition from believer to atheist in his autobiography, “Deconverted: a Journey from Religion to Reason”, and his weekly radio podcast downloaded 1.7 million times a month.
With a mix of humor and heart, Seth Andrews speaks around the country about his former faith, the rise of reason, and why we should all pursue a personal relationship with reality.
Ben is an organizer and activist best known for his service work through the Pathfinders Project, a yearlong international service trip sponsored by Foundation Beyond Belief. The Pathfinders supported clean water, education, human rights, and environmental conservation work around in 8 countries the globe, as well as providing the framework for the Humanist Service Corps. Ben is also works with the Secular Student Alliance in the UpperMidWest Network as a VNC, as well as various other secular and queer groups. When he isn’t giving talks about getting Malaria or doing activism, he enjoys arguing online, geeking out, and his caffeine addiction.
Richard Carrier has a Ph.D. in the history of philosophy from Columbia University, and is a published philosopher and historian, specializing in contemporary philosophy of naturalism, and in Greco-Roman philosophy, science, and religion, and the origins of Christianity. He blogs regularly, lectures for community groups worldwide, and teaches courses online. He is the author of many books including Sense and Goodness without God, On the Historicity of Jesus, and Proving History, as well as chapters in several anthologies and articles in academic journals. For more about Dr. Carrier and his work see www.richardcarrier.info.
Kevin Davis is the Head Writer and Editor at DividedUnderGod.com, and the author of Understanding an Atheist: A Practical Guide to Relating to Nonbelievers, a book aimed at improving relationships between the religious and their atheist loved ones.
He’s most recently known for being co-founder and Communications Director for Young Skeptics, an elementary-level after-school program for kids. Young Skeptics was launched in January 2015 as an alternative to the controversial Good News Club, an organization operating in public schools that evangelizes children and spreads fundamentalist Christian doctrine focused on shaming children for their sins.
At DividedUnderGod, Kevin keeps his readers aware of current legislative and judiciary efforts that aim to weaken the Wall of Separation between church and state that is so important to our success as a nation, free from religious influence and oppression. His work at DividedUnderGod has been featured or mentioned on CNN, Huffington Post, Salon, RichardDawkins.net, Patheos, and many others.
Matt Dillahunty is not only the current host of the webcast and cable access television show The Atheist Experience, he is also the founder of the most comprehensive counter-apologetics wiki, “Iron Chariots”.Mr. Dillahunty has participated extensively in debates both online and for large audiences, becoming a voice sought after in any debate. After 20-some years as a fundamentalist christian, Matt tried to bolster his faith by aspiring to become a Baptist minister. Studying Christianity led him to reject his beliefs. Since then, he has also been the President of the Atheist Community of Austin, as well as an accomplished magician, mentalist, and vlogger.
Find more about Matt at atheist-experience.com.
David Fitzgerald is an atheist activist, writer and national public speaker. He was the co-founder & director of the world’s first Atheist Film Festival and San Francisco’s oldest annual Darwin Day celebration, “Evolutionpalooza!” Today he works for the Secular Student Alliance and co-runs The Godless Perverts Story Hour. He is also author of NAILED: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All and The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion series.
His 2010 book NAILED critically examines the historical evidence of Christ, and he is currently working on the follow-up book, Jesus: Mything in Action, which will take on the secular arguments for the Historic Jesus.
Victor Harris has been a staple on the Bay Area poetry scene since 1999, featuring at various venues in Oakland and Berkeley, he was on the finals stage in Oakland in 2003. He is the recipient of the 2001 Frederic C Fallon Award for poetry from Chabot College, and a 2006 graduate of Cal State University Hayward with a B.A. in Liberal Studies.
Victor is excited to be a part of the group of artists behind Mad Art Lab (www.Madartlab.com), where art meets science and skepticism. He has been writing and performing atheist/skeptical/rational/science themed poetry for over 7 years. When he’s not writing, or performing, he is the talent behind Reuschelle’s Cheesecakes (Reuschelles.com) and won a Best of the Bay award from the East Bay Express in 2009. He has appeared at the Reason Rally, American Atheists National convention, Free Thought day, Secular Students Western Conference, Skeptical and the Blackout Secular Rally.
George Hrab has gained international notoriety in the skeptic community with his award-winning weekly show The Geologic Podcast. Hrab brilliantly serves up the news of the week through sketches, music, and skeptical/free-thinking commentary with a bit of help from a cast of extraordinary characters straight out of his fertile imagination.
A multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer, composer, and heliocentrist, Hrab has written and produced six independent CDs; performed for President Clinton; shared the stage with Elton John, Bernie Worrell, and many others; and has traveled across the country both as a drummer for the nationally recognized Philadelphia Funk Authority and as defacto President for Life of The Geologic Orchestra. Humbly following in the footsteps of such icons as Frank Zappa, Mark Twain, Carl Sagan, Will Rogers, and, yes, even Penn & Teller, Hrab has made it a personal quest to improve the cognitive thinking skills of each and every American by reaching them through their funny bones and dancing shoes.
Teresa MacBain became a non-believer after serving as a pastor in the Deep South. Through a long process of questioning, research, and reality-based thinking, she found she no longer believed in the religious faith she’d built her life upon. She came out publicly as an atheist during the 2012 American Atheist convention in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2013 she was named “Atheist of the Year” for her commitment to the secular community.
Teresa has appeared in major media outlets including: CNN, NPR, the O’Reilly Factor, the New York Times, and many others.
In addition to her former work as a pastor, Teresa has worked for the Humanists of Florida as Executive Director and as the Public Relations Director for American Atheists. Currently, she is the Training Director for Recovering from Religion’s Hotline Project and writes for the Ex-Communications blog on Patheos.
When the work-day is over, you’ll find Teresa playing fetch with her dogs, spending time with her family, enjoying a long run on the trail, or indulging in her greatest obsession– chocolate!!
Amanda K. Metskas
Amanda K. Metskas is the executive director of Camp Quest, Inc. She has been involved with Camp Quest since 2003, and served on the board of directors from 2004-2007. Amanda became executive director when Camp Quest, Inc. hired her as its first staff person in January 2008. As executive director, Amanda oversees the growth and development of Camp Quest.
In addition to her work with Camp Quest, Amanda is a board member of the Secular Coalition for America. She co-authored Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief with Dale McGowan, Molleen Matsumura and Jan Devor. Amanda holds an M.A. in political science from The Ohio State University, and a B.A. in international relations and psychology from Brown University. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband August E. Brunsman IV and their two cats.
Maribeth Mooney is a comedian, producer, actress and writer based in New York City. She appears regularly in clubs, bars and basements all over the world.
Often doing comedy.
Eschewing her 16 years of Catholic education, Maribeth became an ordained minister in 2013 much to the chagrin of her traditional Irish family. Reverend Mooney has married four couples in three states and has absolved the sins of thousands worldwide.
She is the creator and host of Moons Over My Hammy at Otto’s Shrunken Head which runs the first Friday of every month. It is a showcase of storytelling and stand-up that has been running for over four years.
Her latest show Reverend Mooney’s Comedy Confessional: Absolution Fabulous! was running at The Green Room at New World Stages and is being relocated to a new theatre in Manhattan this year.
In addition, she was the producer and host of Stand Up for Estro, the comedy portion of the International Estrogenius Festival: A celebration of Female Voices.
Maribeth has performed in venues as diverse as Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, The Comedy Cellar in Dublin Ireland and Nicky’s Auto Parts on Staten Island, NY.
Miss Mooney is a proud member of Equity, SAG/AFTRA and holds citizenship in both US and Ireland where she hopes to continue to marry the LGBTQ community across the pond.
Her essays have been published in The Rumpus and McSweeney’s.
Lee Moore is the current President of the nationwide charity and activist group “We Are Atheism” and is the creator of the A-News and Godless Gamers podcast as well as one of the three founding members of America’s first and only Atheist variety show “The Godless Revival”. He is also the lead organizer of a Manhattan based organization that goes by the name of Gotham Atheists.
From an early age he rejected the faith status quo of his little part of North Carolina and dedicated his life to the promotion of Atheism and the fight for separation of church and state. Now based on Manhattan, he spends his days building upon the ever changing godless culture through his various organizations and podcasts.
Lee is an avid video game enthusiast, animal lover, and owner of a rather extensive collection of silly hats.
A life-long evangelical Southern Baptist, Sarah spent years as a dutiful wife and mother before finding the courage to leave an abusive marriage. She ultimately let go of her faith, becoming a passionate advocate for growing the secular community by developing resources for practical support as people reconsidering the role of religion in their life. In 2011 she joined the leadership of Recovering From Religion and in 2012 she was appointed the Executive Director. Thanks to her tireless efforts, Recovering From Religion is well known as the bridge of hope for those negatively impacted by religion. In 2014 she was honored with the American Atheists “Atheist of the Year” award for her activism throughout the secular movement. When she is not busy directing RR and organizing events like Apostacon, she enjoys spending time with her family and homeschooling her many children.
We are excited to have Mark Nebo as the MC for this year’s conference. Mark founded Be Secular with his wife and the president of the company Shanon in 2012. He is also the co-host of The Ra Men Podcast with Aron Ra. Mark started the #NormalizeAtheism campaign and maintains one of the most epic beards east of Dan Ellis.
Beth Presswood, host of the well-known Godless Bitches podcast, actively speaks at conventions, has appeared on the regular podcast of fellow atheists “The Non-Prophets” as well as their affiliated project, “The Atheist Experience” television program. Having grown up in a hardcore Southern Baptist household and becoming a closeted atheist around the age of 15, Beth began her atheist activism with the founding of the Atheist and Freethought Club of East Tennessee State University. She currently resides in Austin, Texas.
For more information about Beth’s work, visit godlessbitches.com.
Aron Ra is a Youtuber and an advocate for rationalism in science classrooms. He grew up in an exclusively creationist environment where he felt like a lonely outcast just for understanding evolution, let alone accepting it. He was drawn into activism when the Religious Right dominated his state’s Board of Education, and began undermining education in history, health, science, and social studies. His videos often focus on evolution and the evidence indicating an interrelated tree of life. His series summarizing the ‘Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism’ and his subsequent series, ‘Falsifying Phylogeny’ (including the Phylogeny Challenge’) have been mirrored, featured, referenced, and recommended by many professional scientists, secularists, and educators, and has attracted more than 100,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.
Muhammad is a co-founder of Ex-Muslims of North America, where he currently works as the Executive Director. He is a public speaker, writer, and community organizer. Muhammad has been a human rights activist for the past decade, and now focuses on promoting acceptance of secularism in Muslim communities as well as working on amplifying the voice of Ex-Muslims globally, as a conscientious voice for change. Muhammad is a software engineer by trade, and leverages his expertise for the technical needs of EXMNA.
Mandisa Thomas is a founder and President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. Although never formally indoctrinated into belief, Mandisa was heavily exposed to Christianity, Black Nationalism and a bit of Islam. As a child she loved reading, and enjoyed various tales of Gods from different cultures, including Greek and Ghanaian. “Through reading these stories and being taught about other cultures at an early age, I quickly noticed that there were similarities and differences between those deities and the God of the Christian Bible. I couldn’t help but wonder what made this God so special that he warrants such prevalence in today’s society,” she recalls.
Mandisa has been featured in the April 30, 2012 issue of JET magazine, as a guest on podcasts such as The Humanist Hour and Ask an Atheist, as well as the documentaries Contradiction and My Week in Atheism. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Foundation Beyond Belief and the Secular Coalition for America, and has presented at conferences/conventions for American Atheists, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Secular Student Alliance, and many others.
As the president of Black Nonbelievers, Inc., Mandisa works to encourage more Blacks to come out and stand strong with their nonbelief in the face of such strong religious overtones. “The more we make our presence known, the better our chances of working together to turn around some of the disparities we face. We are NOT alone.”