Richard Dawkins’s Atheist Summer Camp

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Al Mohler has a nice write-up on this new venture.

As The Times [London] reports: “Give Richard Dawkins a child for a week’s summer camp and he will try to give you an atheist for life.”

As for activities,

Budding atheists will be given lessons to arm themselves in the ways of rational scepticism. There will be sessions in moral philosophy and evolutionary biology along with more conventional pursuits such as trekking and tug-of-war. There will also be a £10 prize for the child who can disprove the existence of the mythical unicorn.

The organizers of the camp are doing everything possible to emulate more traditional summer camps, generally organized by Christian groups or venerable organizations such as the Boy Scouts. Campers are to learn about evolution even as they go canoeing and swimming. Like their counterparts at Christian camps, these campers will sing songs around the campfire. As might be expected, the songs will be quite different. “Instead of singing Kumbiya and other campfire favourites, they will sit around the embers belting out ‘Imagine there’s no heaven . . . and no religion too.'”

As someone mentioned on a blog post I read recently about such clubs or camps, it’s hard to get excited about them because they’re essentially negative – a group of people proclaiming what they don’t believe in.  They pointed out, insightfully, that it’s like a club for people who believe the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t the best team in the NFL.  Not much there to celebrate or to motivate anyone.

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2 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins’s Atheist Summer Camp

  1. It isn’t a group saying something doesn’t exist. It’s a group promoting rational thought. Just because one (of many) conclusion comes to a negative does not discredit the idea that rationality is a value to be instilled in young minds…but I guess you will read into it what you want to make your argument.

    • Hi Ryan,

      I’m a fan of rational thought, so I support that for sure. If this were a more neutral kind of camp where they just teach science or critical thinking, that would be fine and beneficial. But it seems to be all slanted toward discrediting faith and religion. It’s quite a bold claim that those who have faith or belong to a religion are irrational. I know that Dawkins makes that claim, but he’s been roundly critiqued by not only religious scholars but also fellow atheists who are better trained in philosophy and aren’t so quick to make sweeping statements like that. Some of the world’s greatest scientists and philosophers have been people of faith who saw no contradiction between faith and religion and rationality.

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