The third annual Global Atheist Convention, ironically dubbed "Reason to Hope," has been cancelled due to dismal ticket sales, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Turns out, offering nihilism packaged as "hope" doesn't sell too well to the masses.
The conference, which was scheduled for February of this year, was set to be headlined by atheist novelist Sir Salman Rushdie, who was a huge get for the convention organizers. Iranian cleric Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Rushdie in 1989 in light of his published work, "The Satanic Verses." The book targeted the prophet Mohammad, Sikhs, and religion in general.
"What is there to respect in any of this, or in any of the crimes now being committed almost daily around the world in religion's dreaded name? How well, with what fatal results, religion erects totems, and how willing we are to kill for them," Rushdie once critically said of religion, SMH notes.
Fellow atheist Richard Dawkins was also on the anti-God roster.
And what atheist convention would be complete without depressed, atheistic comedians distracting us from our void and utterly meaningless existence?
"Alongside the thinkers, there was also going to be the 'entertainers,'" notes SMH. "Comic atheism is a particularly strong strand, and religious pomposity provides it with plenty of material. No doubt there was to be a feast of gloating about census figures."
The author of the SMH report, Anglican Rector Dr. Michael Jensen, writes that he is personally "disappointed" that the conference was cancelled.
"It's a great shame there's a lack of interest," said Jensen. "I say that as someone who believes in God and thinks that it is the most reasonable thing to believe. ... But I also think that the full and frank discussion of fundamental ideas is part of what a healthy culture promotes and enjoys. A Global Atheist Convention is to be welcomed, because every time people think about God and about the meaning of life is a time we more deeply consider the value and purpose of human life. It makes us better citizens."
"But what really is the poison in the blood is not religion: it is apathy," added Jensen. "Human beings don't need religion to be vile. We can be vile perfectly well without it. Even viler, I'd argue."