Why we Believe in God(s) & Important Topics Concerning Suicide


In the first part of the program, Dr. Andy Thomson, author of “why we believe in god(s)” and international speaker for the Richard Dawkins Foundation, will draw on his expertise in evolutionary psychology and the cognitive neurosciences as he presents us with a concise guide to the science of faith.  The talk will be followed by a short question and answer session and books will be available for sale.

In the second half of the program, our focus will shift to the topic of suicide – from prevalence and risk factors, to survivor guilt and grief counseling, to theories concerning etiology and the need to destigmatize mental health issues.

Featured speakers for this second portion will include:

  • Shirley Ramsey, Founder and Chairperson of the Virginia Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. As a ‘thriver’, Shirley has transformed personal loss into a call to educate herself and others about suicide with the goal of making such tragedies less common in the future.
  • Tadd Bartley (Shirley’s nephew and a co-President of Greater Richmond Humanists) is a Richmond native who will share personal insights stemming from the loss of both his younger brother and a close cousin to suicide.
  • Rev Alane Miles is a Spiritual Care Counselor and Bereavement Facilitator for Hospice of Virginia; she provides grief counseling for a local, National Alliance on Mental Illness supported group; and she talks openly and honestly about end of life issues as host of Death Club Radio on WRIR 97.3.
  • Dr. Andy Thomson, who, In addition to being an author, is a highly respected practicing psychiatrist at the University of Virginia with credentials in forensic psychiatry and a personal interest in developing an algorithm that better identifies people at risk for suicide so they can get the help they need.

1:00 – 1:15pm    Introduction and Overview
1:15 – 2:15pm    Why we believe in god(s)
2:15 – 2:30pm    Refreshments generously provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
2:30 – 3:45pm    Addressing Suicide
3:45 – 4:00pm    Book Sales and Socializing
*While we encourage you to attend both parts of the program, if you’re only interested in one portion, or only able to make time for one portion, that’s okay as well and we look forward to seeing you at the event!