Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Atheist Camp

According to the London Times, famed atheist Richard Dawkins has set up a "Christian-like" summer camp where 24 kids will get the chance to be atheists for life (his goal, not my words). According to the article, the kids ages 8 to 17 will enjoy standard activities (hiking, canoeing, that sort of thing) as well as lessons in "moral philosophy and evolutionary biology". They'll get some morning indoctrination, some afternoon swimming, and sit around the campfire singing John Lennon's "Imagine". The stated goal is to "encourage children to think for themselves".

Does this strike anyone else but me as odd? I certainly understand that adults would want to pass on to children their own beliefs. I absolutely get that people think they're right (if you didn't think you were right, you would change what you believe) and want to pass on to others what is right. I really have no problem understanding why an atheist would want to teach others to be an atheist. (Okay, I don't fully comprehend how an atheist can teach "moral philosophy" with no basis for morality, but, hey, that's his problem.) I'm not protesting Dawkins' camp idea. What strikes me as completely ridiculous is that indoctrinating children into atheism is anything approaching encouraging "children to think for themselves."

Come on, Richard (and the rest of the so-called "free thinkers). Be honest. You're not encouraging people to think for themselves. You're encouraging them to think like you do. It's understandable. You think you're right. There's no shame in that. But this whole nonsense that you're "free thinking" ("thinking for themselves") is really quite foolish. You don't want it. You don't teach it. You don't encourage it. If you did, then people who "think freely" into believing in Christ would be encouraged to do so. They're not, are they? No, I didn't think so. Please, Richard (et al), be honest. You're just as interested in inculcating kids with your view as Christians are with theirs. Oh, yeah, I forgot ... honesty is a moral value, something you don't actually have a basis to support. Never mind.

4 comments:

Science PhD Mom said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. But Stan, they are "not bound by superstitions any more...they think about things and come to rational conclusions." Because Christians don't actually think about things...that would be impossible, or they would think like they do! Of course such ridiculous logic would be seen as utterly fallacious in any other context (politics, etc), but when it comes to religion...well, that's just superstition!

Stan said...

I cannot fathom how "free thinkers" classify it as "free thinking" when they knowingly and intentionally disallow "free thinking" about God.

On the other hand, Truth, by its nature, limits free thinking. By explaining that 2+2=4, we have immediately eliminated a near infinite number of other answer to consider. We no longer have to wonder "Does 2+2=39?" or "Does 2+2=Apples? or a vast array of other now-no-longer-applicable possibilities. We are no longer free to think that 2+2 equals something else. That's the nature of Truth. Discovering it limits "free thinking". And it's a valuable thing.

DagoodS said...

Lurkers may want to inform themselves of some inaccuracies in the article. h/t to the Friendly Atheist

But hey—this comes from a person who apparently has no moral basis to be honest. *shrug*

Sherry said...

What'll they think of next? A camp for the kids with the gang gene?

I can't help but think that, if these are city kids who don't get out in nature a whole lot and if, during their time at "atheist camp", they are able to look up into a night sky FULL of more stars than they've ever seen, THAT alone may be a setback to what they are being taught that week.

Kids aren't stupid. Plus, many of them, no matter what they are being brought up to believe, choose to rebel against it and seek out other options, at least for a while. Spending time out in God's awe-inspiring creation can do a real number on one's head, if that head is being filled with anti-God info.

"Free-thinking" though? That's funny. The goal is to indoctrinate the campers into a set of beliefs, just the same as so many other camps.