Tensions mount as Christian convention opens near atheist conven - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tensions mount as Christian convention opens near atheist convention

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Downtown Memphis is bustling as Christians and Atheists gather near the corner of Union Avenue and Third Street to participate in separate events.

On Saturday, one day before Easter, both groups congregated to meet others who shared their beliefs.

A Christian convention began at AutoZone Park while the 41st National Atheist Convention continued across the street at The Peabody Hotel.

"I'm addicted to the word of God now, and it's a feeling that I've never felt like this before in my life," said one attendee of the Christian convention.

The people that gathered at AutoZone Park stood together, holding hands and praying.

Across the street, the atheist convention had a very different atmosphere. There, more than 800 atheists gathered from across the country to share their stories.

"There are lots of believers in this society and to them I say we are already here. You already like us," said American Atheists President David Silverman. "We hope when we come out as atheists to you, you will accept us for who we are."

Silverman says the atheists always have their convention on Easter weekend because he hopes to show people they are not alone.

Although the location for the Christian convention was planned after learning about the atheists coming to town, Christians say they're unhappy the event is happening so close to Easter.

"They tried to be the antithesis for Easter, so we're bringing the antithesis to them," said Christian Mathieu White. "Just bringing the fight to their backyard. Fight negativity with positivity."

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