Matt Dillahunty - A Southern Baptist for more than 20 years, he began a broad, prolonged investigation into all things religious in an attempt to bolster his faith and pursue a career in the ministry. This investigation continues, though he abandoned faith and religion in favor of skepticism, reason, logic and scientific evidence. His interest in apologetics led to the creation of IronChariots.org, though the site’s current incarnation is the result of the combined efforts of many dedicated individuals.
Greta Christina is one of the most widely-read and well-respected bloggers in the atheist blogosphere. She was recently ranked by an independent analyst as one of the Top Ten most popular atheist bloggers. She is a regular atheist correspondent for AlterNet, the online political magazine with over 1,200,000 hits a week, and has been writing about atheism and skepticism for her own cleverly-named Greta Christina’s Blog since 2005. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and anthologies, including Ms.,Skeptical Inquirer, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the anthologyEverything You Know About God Is Wrong. She has been writing professionally since 1989, on topics including sexuality and sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind. She is an experienced and entertaining public speaker, who has been doing public speaking for many years.
Seth Andrews is host and video producer for the popular website, The Thinking Atheist, and his radio podcast reaches over 300,000 every month. A former believer and Christian broadcaster, Seth brings an inside-out perspective to discussions about God, the church and Christianity.
Nate Phelps is the son of Pastor Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, which gained infamy from their protests at soldiers’ funerals around the United States. He is the sixth of thirteen children, and was taught his father’s extreme version of Calvinism from an early age. This was accompanied by extreme physical punishments and abuse, extreme dietary and health requirements, and other extreme expectations. Nate left home at midnight on his eighteenth birthday, and moved to California where he built a new life away from his family. He later moved to Canada, and only recently began speaking out about his story after a chance encounter with a reporter while driving a cab in Cranbrook, British Columbia. Nate has now spoken about his story to many groups around North America, and even returned home to Topeka in 2010 to tell his story to the people in his hometown. Today Nate lives in Calgary, Alberta and works for the Center For Inquiry Canada. He is a vocal LGBT advocate, and speaks out against the dangers of religion and child abuse.
Taner Edis was born in Istanbul, 1967, to Turkish and American parents. After completing his undergraduate work at Boğaziçi University, he received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1994, in theoretical and computational condensed matter physics. Working in diverse areas, from atmospheric modeling with collaborators at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to the philosophy of machine intelligence, he is currently professor of physics at Truman State University, Kirksville, MO.
Fascinated by the plethora of supernatural and fringe science beliefs around him, and concerned about the rise of Islamist politics back in Turkey, Edis first got involved with skeptical inquiry into religious and paranormal claims during his graduate studies. He has since written and spoken extensively on such subjects, particularly on the topic of anti-evolutionary thought. His writing has characteristically combined scientific rigor with an ability to reach a broad audience.
Amanda Knief is the Administrative Director of American Atheists. Amanda grew up in Iowa, a hotbed of atheism. She has a B.S. in journalism with minors in biology and geology and a law degree–none of which matters to tea party legislators. Amanda worked in the nonpartisan division of Iowa Legislature, the Legislative Services Agency, drafting legislation for Republicans and Democrats in the areas of education, labor, tax, and immigration. Amanda loves living in D.C., which is much, much warmer than Iowa.
JT Eberhard was a campus organizer and high school specialist with the Secular Student Alliance, author of the blog What Would JT Do?, and has been a contributing author to AtheismResource.com.
Before joining the SSA, JT was most known as a debater on atheism and LGBT rights and as the co-founder of the Skepticon annual conference. From 2008-2010, JT worked as the organizing team leader for Skepticon 1, 2, and 3. The event would usher in a new format of conventions featuring rock star lineups while allowing people to attend for free.
JT also co-founded and led the SSA-affiliated Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster at Missouri State. The group would go on to make news on several occasions, often for their unconventional approach to combating religion such as building a cardboard box fort in the middle of campus to counter-protest evangelists or massing on their school’s free speech zone with expletive-bearing signs in response to the school saying bands could not use coarse language.
JT is an accomplished speaker having given plenary talks at Skepticon, the American Atheists National Conference, the SSA Leadership Conference, the American Humanist Association’s National Convention, Dragon*Con, and multiple campuses and community groups all across the country. As a debater, he has paired with other high profile atheists such as Richard Carrier, Victor Stenger, and Matt Dillahunty.
Outside of his work as an activist, Eberhard is a veteran of the Springfield Regional Opera’s Young Artist Program. A baritone, JT has a handful of professional roles to his credit with various companies including work under the directorship of two-time Grammy-winner James Billings.
David Fitzgerald has been called “one of the busiest atheist activists in the Bay Area.” In addition to serving on the board of San Francisco Atheists and Center For Inquiry-SF, he is also the Director/Co-Founder of both the world’s first Atheist Film Festival and Evolutionpalooza!, San Francisco’s oldest annual Darwin Day celebration.
In addition, he is a writer and historical researcher who has been actively investigating the Historical Jesus question for over ten years. He has a degree in history and was an associate member of CSER (the former Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion). He is at work on the follow-up book to his NAILED: Ten Christian Myths that Show Jesus Never Existed at All (Secretly, he is also a fiction writer under the name Kilt Kilpatrick).
He lectures around the country at universities, churches and national secular events (he is always a crowd favorite at Skepticon!) and may be best known for his popular multimedia presentations The Ten Thousand Christs and the Evaporating Jesus and The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion. He also speaks to religious groups such as Stands to Reason. David lives in San Francisco with writer, producer and movie actress Dana Fredsti.
David is currently working on a new book about Mormonism. Would you like to support his work and get a copy? You can get your copy of “The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion -Book One: The Mormons” early, autographed AND and at a very juicy discount! Pre-order today!
Keith Lowell Jensen is the Non-Pot Smoking, Non-Gay, Non-Religious, Non-Disabled, token comedian. He’s the non-pot smoker performing at pro-marijuana legalization benefits, straight host ofThe Gay & Lesbian Comedy Show and the non-disabled founder ofThe Comedians With Disabilities Act. He is the resident atheist of the multi-faith Coexist? Comedy Tour and even dropped out of school to become the only non-animated entertainer on Spike & Mike’s Festival of Animation.
In addition to performing for Beyond Faith (San Diego State University), SF Atheists, Free Thought Day Sacramento, Bay Area Regional Atheist Meeting, American Atheists- Los Angeles, Center For Inquiry – Portland, Interfaith Day (William Paterson University, New Jersey), Sacramento Freethinkers and Other Nonbelievers, Jensen has appeared at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival and performed with Norm MacDonald, Robin Williams, Doug Stanhope and Will Durst. He recently published a book of short stories, and released his second comedy album, Cats Made of Rabbit
Teresa MacBain became a non-believer after more than 20 years of ministry throughout the Deep South. Through a long process of questioning, research, and reality-based thinking, she discovered the faith she’d built her life upon was simply a house of cards. She came out publicly as an atheist during the 2012 American Atheist convention in Bethesda, MD.
is a professor of theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, specializing in Mariology. He is president of Vox Populi Mariae Mediatrici, a Catholic movement promoting the concepts of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix. Mark Miravalle completed his undergraduate studies in theology as a student in the St. Ignatius Institute (Catholic Great Books program) of theUniversity of San Francisco. He earned the Licentiate of Sacred Theology and Doctor of Sacred Theology degrees at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. His doctoral dissertation was on the message of the alleged Marian apparitions atMedjugorje. As of 2009, Dr. Miravalle holds the rank of Professor of Theology at Franciscan University, where he has taught since 1986, and where he has received several teaching awards. His areas of specialization are Mariology and spiritual theology. He is a member of the Mariological Society of America and the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, U.S.A. In the preface to Miravalle’s book Introduction Mary Cardinal Edouard Gagnon stated that he is “internationally renowned for his unquestioned fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium and for his outstanding scholarship”. Dr. Miravalle has given numerous international lectures in Mariology, has addressed several Catholic bishops’ conferences, and has served members of the episcopal hierarchy with preliminary investigations for reported apparitions. He publishes a bi-monthly Marian e-zine, Mother of All Peoples. He has made numerous appearances on Catholic television and radio for EWTN, the Apostolate for Family Consecration, National Family Catholic Radio, and Air Maria, the media project of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. He has been interviewed for CNN Latin America, BBC, Fox News, and the NBC series Dateline.
Jerry DeWitt was married for twenty-two years, has one son and still lives in rural Louisianan.
Fred Heeren, science journalist,has written for Nature, Scientific American, New Scientist, ScienceNOW, Smithsonian, and for the newspapers The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. His work has also appeared in the college textbooks Understanding Human Origins and McGraw-Hill’s Physical Anthropology. In the past decade, while writing his next book about paleontology, he has specialized in both dinosaur and hominid evolution, covering breaking discoveries from fossil sites in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. He runs the meetup group Provocateurs & Peacemakers in Lenexa, KS, an experiment to bring together religious believers and nonbelievers for the purpose of provoking deeper thinking and dialogue between people holding differing viewpoints. He founded and manages Day Star Research, a non-profit organization dedicated to peacemaking, to educating Christians in the ways of science and both religious and non-religious people in the ways of Jesus. He believes Christians need to take a hard look at their well-earned reputation for anti-intellectualism, arrogance, and judgmentalism, and ask: What’s up with THAT?
Dr. Sabeel Ahmed is the Director of the GainPeace Project, an outreach project of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). GainPeace.com conducts many outreach oriented projects in Chicago and many cities to educate people about the authentic teachings of Islam. Some of these projects include advertising the message of Islam via Bus, Billboards, trains and newspapers. Dr. Sabeel had given many presentations and workshops on outreach related topics, traveling extensively. Upon completing his medical education Dr. Sabeel decided to become a full-time outreach director of GainPeace . He was born in India and moved to USA more than 15 years ago. He is married, has two kids, and resides with his family in Skokie, IL. He is currently serving as the president of ICNA Chicago.
Dr. John Rziha is an associate professor of theology at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He earned his BA in philosophy at Fort Hays State University. He then went on to earn an MA in theology at the University of Dallas and a PhD in moral theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He has been a member of the faculty at Benedictine College since 2001. At Benedictine he has taught classes covering foundational issues in moral theology, bioethics, social justice, and a proper understanding of freedom. His area of expertise is the moral theology of the 13th century theologian/philosopher, Thomas Aquinas. His first book is titled, Perfecting Human Actions: St. Thomas Aquinas on Human Participation in Eternal Law, and he has a second book currently awaiting publication called, The Christian Moral Life: Directions for the Journey to Happiness.
Daniel Tabakh is a KU sophomore from Kansas City studying Chemical Engineering. He practiced Reform Judaism and worked for KU Hillel last semester as a Shabbat Around KU intern, where he was responsible with engaging the KU Jewish community by hosting Shabbat services on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the semester. Daniel also is involved with Engineering as a member of the Engineering Student Council, the Biofuel Production lab, and a researcher in the Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering lab.