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Saturday, 8 August 2009

Faith camps and Camp Faithless

One amusing moment at the Faith Summer Session was when Fr Roger Nesbitt mentioned the media coverage given to Camp Faithless, the atheist summer camp for 24 children for which the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science has made a donation of £500 to fund a 'philosophy for children' counsellor. Fr Nesbitt said that he had telephoned the BBC to ask them to cover the Faith Summer Session with over 200 young people and they had responded positively asking when the conference was to be held. He then pointed out in deadpan voice "I'm joking". Neither will the BBC be likely to cover the Youth 2000 event, the Evangelium Conference, the Traditional Catholic Families summer school or the David Foster summer school ...

The Camp Faithless anthem is John Lennon's "Imagine" (... there's no heaven etc.) and it boasts that it encourages the children to "ask questions about beliefs". (Actually we do that too.) One game is to ask the children to imagine that the camp is surrounded by unicorns which cannot be seen or touched but only known through faith and then come up with rational arguments to say that they do not exist. Hmmm. This could backfire if they applied the same reasoning to Richard Dawkins' enthusiasm for the hypothesis of there being many universes besides our own. Or, as the caption on organiser Sam Stein's t-shirt puts it so well, "I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that."
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