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Kevin Jacobson

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I'm a little nervous about giving my atheism speech at school.

My writing teacher has given my class the assignment of writing a persuasive essay. Most people chose quite petty subjects to write on, but I decided to write about something that neither I or anyone else has ever written about. I'm going to give a speech on the the truth of science and atheism.

I believe I have very convincing coherence and evidence in my essay, but I'm extremely nervous on how people are going to handle it. I've already told a few people on what I'm writing on and both of them seemed a little offended and enraged. I'm only an eighth grader and so are my class mates. They might not fully comprehend my essay and just be extremely mad at me. Any suggestions on how to cope with this nervousness?
PS:My teacher already approved of my subject.

Topics: education
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    Oct 19 2012: Hello Kevin

    Thank you for posing a brave question.

    i am 44 years old, and i have never given a speech about atheism in front of a crowd. I am very much confident with my worldview and I do not expect it to change much for the rest of my life. And yet, i would probably be a little nervous too if i was in your shoes

    My parents were catholic and they are now devoted christians, one of my brothers even became a pastor and has a huge congregation. Wonderful people, all of them.

    For a while it was not easy to be the black sheep. It felt uncomfortable having to disagree profoundly with people that one loves profoundly too. But things turned out ok. They gave up trying to convince me, and i stopped trying to refute their every claim.

    We humans like belonging in groups. It hurts when we are ostracized, and it is no surprise that we all try to avoid situations that could result in us being ostracized. But understanding why it hurts goes a long way to cope with it when it inevitably happens (it is impossible to always be accepted to 100% of the groups you like or admire, right?)

    It hurts (and some will disagree i am sure) because humans, as a species, survived thanks to sticking together in groups. Most genetic variations that resulted in a brains that dedicated less neurons to this process of bonding with the group would produce individuals with a much lower survival rate

    So you and i have inherited a brain that was sculpted when our ancestors depended heavily on belonging. But nowadays, regardless of that pain in the stomach, our survival is not in danger if we are singled out of a group for some time

    But keep in mind that the main purpose of your speech is to explain a worldview, not to convince everyone to "switch sides". It is perfectly fine if everyone in the classroom remains as convinced of their view as they were before. But to some, your example will give them something to think about, and maybe, just maybe, the seed will land in fertile soil

    cheers
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      Oct 26 2012: Beautifully said Andres. I want to add that I feel some people with religious beliefs are possibly just afraid of death. It is unfathomable to accept that perhaps when we die it is over. To believe that we can be re-united with everyone we have ever loved is quite reassuring.
      In any case, your words were lovely. I am personally hoping Kevin throws out loads of seeds that day that start the important process of germination.
      All the best.
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        Oct 26 2012: Hi Lori,

        Thank you for your comment. If you have not, I think you should read Billions and Billions by Carl Sagan. He gives a beautiful perspective of facing death from a skeptic scientific view

        cheers!
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          Oct 26 2012: Many thanks Andres. I am just heading downtown for a rainy afternoon of coffee shops and bookstores. This will be the first book on my list to find, I actually haven't heard of it before but I am very intrigued. Have a great day, Lori

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