Hemant Mehta is the chair of the Secular Student Alliance, the blogger of Friendly Atheist, and author of I Sold My Soul on eBay. Basically, he's the coolest guy ever. He came to UCLA!
Hemant Mehta grew up as a Jainist. Therefore, he didn't have the same experience as many other atheists (eg me) who grew up going to church until they were sick of it. In the interest of activism and gaining understanding, Hemant Mehta held an auction on eBay, which allowed the winning bidder to send Hemant Mehta to a worship service of their choice. The winner decided to send Hemant to nine different churches, and his experiences led him to write the book I Sold My Soul on eBay.
Hemant didn't just disappear after that. He started blogging at FriendlyAtheist.com, which has proven to be a great source of activism. Hemant told us some of the highlights of his blogging saga, including the story of Laurie Higgins, who tried to get him fired from his job as a math teacher. Hey, I remember when that happened!
Apparently I've been reading Friendly Atheist since his first year of blogging, 2006. Has it really been that long? At the time, Friendly Atheist was probably no more popular than my blog. Not that I ever expect to be as popular as he. I don't think I could handle the fame anyways.
We also got to see Richard Wade, who was originally a guest blogger on Friendly Atheist. Eventually, people found out that Richard Wade is a really awesome advice columnist, so now he functions as the agony aunt for atheists. Richard Wade is the kind of guy who can just off-handedly mention that he's doing an astronomy show for kids tomorrow.
Even with my shoddy photography skills, it's still impossible to take a bad picture of Richard Wade
Hemant himself has a few more pictures and comments on his blog. A voice recording of the talk may appear in the near future.