I saw a youtube video of a speech that Dawkins gave that inspired me.
In a nutshell, he stated that atheists in the U.S. have the potential for a lot more political power and social acceptance. Atheists, when combined with agnostics and people who consider themselves “non-religious” form a very, very, large group of people. Large enough to rival the power that fundamentalist Christians enjoy.
What they lack is a unified and active community.
Having been an atheist since college this is no surprise to me. You get a bunch of atheists together and you get a lot of boring talk about how silly religion is.
Human beings need shared values and beliefs to build communities on. Negations are not enough for community building.
That is why I think this summer camp for atheist children is a step in the right direction. It is teaching children the values and skills of rational skepticism. I’m not 100% fan of popular skepticism, but I think Dawkins is on the right track with his summer camp. That track would be giving atheists something other than a negation to have in common.
That is what happens with religion. Religion doesn’t just take away from people, it also gives them things. Highly definable things that make them feel better. Those things generate enthusiasm and the wish to bond with like minded people.
Focusing on teaching people how to think, the scientific method, how to evaluate information and some of the wonderful secular philosophies out there can bring many empowering changes into people’s lives. Concrete changes they can get enthused about and share as a common base for community building.
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