Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Do we need atheist summer camps?

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The folk over at the Guardian's Comment is Free Belief section asked our editor Caspar Melville to share his thoughts on Camp Quest, the summer camp for "the children of atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers and all those who embrace a naturalistic rather than supernatural world view" which is taking place in the Somerset countryside this week – an event the papers have deemed so unusual as to deserve its own news stories.

While here in the New Humanist office we're more than happy to welcome a summer camp that counterbalances the more common Christian camps (it ties in closely with our ongoing debate on how non-religious parents should go about countering religious education), we find ourselves asking a more general question – do we Brits really do summer camps?

It's an issue Caspar addresses in his CiF piece, and one many will surely have opinions on. Let us know what you think.


Joe Hayhurst said...

To be honest it sounds a bit cringe-worthy. Why on earth would an atheist want to indoctrinate their kids over the summer? Isn't that what prof. Dawkins castigates believers for? What are they going to do, recite passages from 'God Is Not Great' around the campfire?
And lets face it, the religious are hardly gonna send their kids there are they, so the only kids there will be the offspring of the smug.

It's like setting up an atheist Sunday school!

Richard Eis said...

Sounds like fun. Blown out of all proportion by the media of course. A week trip to look at fossils and why they are there and that kind of thing i assume. But i will wait to see what they actually got up to and whether it was fun before passing judgement.
Joe, smug is thinking you are so important that the creator of the universe is there just for you. Let me know when we reach THAT level of smugness.

Peter Magellan said...

Summer camps? We don't even do bloody summer. :-(

Keith Sloan said...

Atheist Summer Camps - A great idea. Kids can have a great time without the indoctrination of Christianity

Invictus_88 said...

In America, this might make sense, however here in the UK we're effectively secular already.

What's wrong with the Scout Association? Seems like a far healthier thing.

Keith Sloan said...

"Invictus_88 What's wrong with the Scout Association?"

You have to make allegiances and promises to "god" that's what's wrong

Anonymous said...

Yep, and I'm in the position of having to swear allegiance to God if I want to become a formal leader. The group leader is so desperate for leaders she says she doesn't care if I say "duty to Gawd" or however I want to express it as long as I become a leader - which is a real farce. But then us athiests have no moral compass do we, so we don't bother volunteering or suchlike so it shouldn't be an issue.

Anonymous said...

Nobody in Scouting has to swear allegiance to God. Simple as that.

Vince said...

It sounds funny.
Thanks for post...

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Fri tanke said...

The Norwegian Humanist Associations Youth organization has had summer camps for three years now.


15-twentysomething year olds listening to talks about and discussing humanism, sceptisism, science based knowledge, evolution, conspiracy theories, among other topics, and having fun, making friends etc like your average youth.