Thursday, 26 November 2009

Hey, Screacher, leave those kids alone!

Thanks to Ariane Sherine for reminding me of my favourite guitar riff and for more entertainment on the ship of fools- I mean superb atheist bus campaign.

Their latest ploy is to attribute words to a child telling adults not to attribute labels to them.

Why pour money into this idiotic scheme that could go towards helping the very real victims of religion? Why, because Richard Dawkins said it is foolish to label kids with their parents religion.

This has to be one of the most patronising and foolish comments ever. Do I think my Godson Nikolaos is an 'Orthodox child' because he accepts and understands the Nicene Creed whilst a Roman Catholic infant differs over its understanding of the filioque?

Of course not. He is an Orthodox child because he is part of our Byzantine family. Which is a lot better than many communities in Britain (mostly atheist) I can tell you.

Sherine pats her readers on the back (patting herself on the back in the process):

'Lastly, I'd like to take a final opportunity to thank everyone who donated to the campaign, supported it, commented on it or blogged about it – you really did make a difference to public discourse in this country and around the world.'

'Really'? So they weren't just being self-righteous narcissists who changed nothing? How did they 'really' change the discourse?

Update: This is priceless. At Camp Quest (an atheist summercamp: where's Mr Humphries when you need him?) teens can win a £10 note SIGNED BY RICHARD DAWKINS!! I'm sure that'll have youthful pulses racing.
'My little Johny's getting the latest playstation for his birthday'
'We're saving up to send little Michael to Camp Quest where we hope he'll win a note with Richard Dawkins' signature: you're so looking forward to it aren't you Michael?'

More seriously though, it demonstrates how daftly middle class the debate about faith is in Britain. Why not send the kids to some housing estates where they can see the real effects of secular British values?


  1. I find the thought of bourgeoisie atheist summer camps a little distasteful too - but on the other hand it's probably more mentally healthy for young kiddies to learn a bit of science and spend their time on basic experiments, or whatever, than learning about how they're going to burn in hell for their original sin - or face eventual judgement for the awful crime of being human...

  2. Quoting Dawkins from the article: 'Nobody would seriously describe a tiny child as a Marxist child or an Anarchist child or a Post-modern child.'

    I spent my early childhood in a Communist country and although it was the dawn of Communist rule and nobody took the issue of indoctrination seriously I bet the older generations did. On top of that I think there is a publisher that prints Nihilist (Anarchist) children books. Not that kids do not get indoctrinated in atheist camps (I can't even picture that sort of place).

    Funny how on the campaigns they link to websites promoting both atheism and humanism. Atheism is a non-belief in gods or supranatural. Humanism tries to give meaning to all this and in doing so builds on cultural structures left to us by, well unfortunatelly for the Atheists, Christianity.

    The Atheists remind me of Muslims who think Islam existed from the creation and all major prophets mentioner (or not mentioned) in the Bible were preaching Islam. So the Atheist deny origins of their morality in Christianity and think morality is a result of evolution.

  3. Hi Gareth
    Thanks for your comment, but I find your reasoning a bit weird. I never said anything about 'religious' summer camps. Would children be told they'd burn in hell in religious summer camps? How many denominations preach the doctrine of 'original sin?

    I'm not defending 'religion'; I find most denominations distasteful (though unlike the 'new atheists' I don't think it's any of my business what the hubbardites or Mormons do to each other). But it seems to me that militant atheists are a lot like the libertarians one meets. One minute you'll be saying that maybe British Rail was actually pretty efficient compared to its successors and they'll reply with a reference to Stalin. So it is with many atheists. Perhaps the most comical example is Johann Hari, who once wrote gushing praise for Melanie Phillips when he was in the 'decent left' camp, then he later attacked her writing on science saying 'the religious say... I have faith and have never praised Ms Phillips, but supposedly we are twins whilst an atheist who praised her is totally different.

    However, as well as having a distorted idea of what faith is, the 'new atheists' seem to think they should compete in these terms.

    Largely agree. There are so many cultures and the idea that Christian ethics are somehow 'inbuilt' is nonsense. I also notice that these 'secularists' quite quickly let their masks slip and use the term 'atheist' as interchangable.

    As for the 'atheist summer camps', I mainly feel sorry for the kids. I can't imagine anything more boring.

  4. @ Gregor

    I understand that my perception that some cultural structures in Western countries have their origins in the Christian religion either directly or indirectly is not substantiated. Sadly I am not yet in possession of adequate knowledge to meaningfully expand this argument.

    It is clear that much of what Humanists understand as right and wrong was not understood that way in Pre-Christian Europe and nor is it understood that way in cultures outside of it today.

  5. 'It is clear that much of what Humanists understand as right and wrong was not understood that way in Pre-Christian Europe and nor is it understood that way in cultures outside of it today.'

    I'd agree with that. It is curious that atheists/ seularists take monogamy (for instance) as being a default value when it does not exist in all societies. Philosophically, I don't see why polygamy should be wrong'from a secular viewpoint.

    More darkly, I don't think 'Thou shalt not kill' is a universal value either.

  6. Does this mean that atheist parents will never ever take their children on any type of protest march?

    What if their moody 13 year old offspring comes home with a copy of 'Mein Kampf'?

    I can understand where they are coming from (sort of) but where do you draw the line? Surely it is a parent's responsibility to influence their child's worldview in some way?

  7. 'I can understand where they are coming from (sort of) but where do you draw the line?'

    That's largely my thoughts; I read about a summer camp in America where the Kids prayed in front of a cardboard cutout of George Bush. That was pretty creepy, but it seems to me that the 'atheist bus campaign' is really noisy and childish.

    It is a bit like Avaaz, the human rights organisation. Yes, they made a lot of worthwhile petitions, but I disliked the way they are so self-righteous and pompous.