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Richard Dawkins Funds Atheist Camp For Kids

Famous atheist Richard Dawkins has put his money behind a Summer camp for kids — you can think of it as the anti-Jesus Camp.

At atheist Camp Quest, kids aged 8-17 learn about rational skepticism, moral philosophy, ethics, and evolution — while enjoying traditional camp activities. According to those involved, the project is not about changing what kids think, but about changing the way they think.

Do you think kids should be able to go to camp and just have fun, or is it valuable to include an emphasis on religious or ideological values?

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Join The Conversation
cg130 cg130 8 years
I think this sounds great! I've read about Dawkins' camp before, and it really doesn't seem like it's "anti-religion", it's all about skepticism, scientific inquiry, and learning to think freely and for oneself. Dawkins is an atheist, and these are qualities valued by many atheists, but I don't think that one necessarily has to be an atheist to appreciate these qualities or this camp. And I think the "not change what they think but how they think" means that instead of telling them what to think, what this camp teaches is different ways of approaching a question.
nyxmoxie nyxmoxie 8 years
I'm an atheist but I would never send kids (if I ever have any) to such a camp. I would want my own kids to make their own choice. I don't want to indoctrinate them with atheism the way that christian parents indoctrinate their kids with christianity. If I had kids then I would only send my kids to such a camp if they asked me. As an atheist, I really hate how cult-like atheists can tend to act. They can sometimes act as cult-like with their atheism as religious folks act.
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 8 years
Sounds like a wonderful idea and a great way to expand the mind while also taking part in everyday summer activities. If I had children, I would definitely consider sending them. Not to be anti-god or anti-religion but to open their minds.
cherryblossom cherryblossom 8 years
All I know is that id rather have my kid go to this atheist camp, than to jesus camp any day, those kids are farking nut jobs no offense but speaking in tongues is weird.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 8 years
I'm not an atheist but I think what he's doing is just fine. There are many people with different interests, ideals, principles, etc and if he wants to donate and make this camp to be nourished, it's his prerogative and people with the same belief system (atheist in this case) can definitely benefit from this.
cordata cordata 8 years
This sounds neat. If the camp's goal is to encourage individual thinking and healthy skepticism, I'm all for it. What I'm not for is any place that espouses dogmatic rules and an "us against them" mentality.
sabriel2 sabriel2 8 years
Cheers to Phil, I agree! However, I don't know if (even in 2009!) people will warm up to it as much as they would if it were called "free-thinking camp" or something similar. For some reason 'atheist' is considered a dirty or a negative word by many people, as sad as that is. But I wish this had been around when I was a kid!
eveday eveday 8 years
Awesome! :D I wish I had had the chance to go to one of these when I was a kid.
ally14 ally14 8 years
Love it! Hope it's around when I have kids.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
Awesome. I'd send my kids. Do they take adults too?
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Why is it being labeled an Atheist camp? This just sounds like a more academic camp with no religious emphasis...that's not necessarily "anti-Jesus", but simply not religious. Whatever happened to regular summer camp with the canoes and volleyball and the arts & crafts and learning about teamwork and group interactions and foster a sense of community and belonging???
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
I would like to find out who is teaching at this camp before I send my child. I raise my sons as Christian but I think free thought is a wonderful thing . I would just hope that by example they would be able to see that being Christian and loving and living for Christ does not make you a brainless dummy ruled "fan fiction".
nygirl09 nygirl09 8 years
It's not only anti-Jesus, it is anti-religion.
Phil Phil 8 years
I never went to camp as a kid, but I would have loved to have gone to this camp! Really, this isn't any more ideological than going to space camp or math camp--it's simply a camp that promotes free thought and scientific inquiry into all things. It addresses a fundamental problem of 'Jesus camps', which is that they are tools for proselytization of minds that are particularly susceptible to the influence of groupthink (which can often turn grave--look at the state of the GOP). Such a camp doesn't necessarily promote atheism, so much as it's interested in promoting reason and science and healthy skepticism of all things--even elements of evolution (as almost all scientists have in some semblance). And, yes, of such doctrines of religion that would have people act without a sufficient basis of reason simply because some supernatural force wills it according to some people centuries ago who wrote fan fiction, or according to some old white man with an impractical hat who, from his ivory tower, preaches archaic idealism to millions of blind believers, regardless of the consequences. Cheers to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for promoting the mental tools necessary for exposing the reality of mountbanks and charlatans that are rampant in religious institutions.
Chrstne Chrstne 8 years
I like the idea. I think it's awesome. If we have christian and jewish camps, we can definitely have an atheist one, too.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
I'd totally go. Also, being Atheist doesn't equal being anti-religion or anti God.
michaeluvnikita michaeluvnikita 8 years
Well i believe in God but I don't believe in religion so, I don't know if i would send my kid. But if if it was for adult i would go just to see their side of the story
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