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July 28, 2009



I saw the atheist camp on the breakfast news this morning. It reminded me of the Woodcraft Folk, only more earnest.

Chris Williams

Is there any way of representing a summer camp at all which _doesn't_ come over as rather more earnest than early C21st sensibilities would prefer?


No. They're irreducably earnest. And as you can see from the article, the organisers trying to recruit from the offspring of irrefutably but ecumenically earnest parents. The whole approach is terrible. There are millions of people in Britain who wouldn't swap a minute in bed for any amount of religous observence, but instead of finding ways to encourage religion to die in its sleep, they're trying to spread the message by making kids get up and have activities.


And is religion dying in its sleep?

(That's not to say I like summer camps. I think I'd have rather done Bob-A-Job Week all year round than gone on one.)

The Woodcraft Folk are all right, by the way.


No, surely the atheist summer camp film wouldn't involve a serial killer at all? One of the kids almost dies in an accident, and the rest of the kids think they see someone sneaking around in the bushes, and become convinced there's a killer on the loose - but in fact there isn't, it's just their imaginations.

Chris Williams

Hmm... the prospect of packing the kids off for a week to somewhere where they'll have fun without any prospect of mumbo-jumbo indoctrination seems strangely attractive. Despite my status as a semi-professional atheist, I think I'd prefer an agnostic summer camp, but needs must.

Remember - between about 1850 and about 1950, working-class British people packed their kids off to Sunday school, not so that the kids could learn about religion, but so that their folks could have a shag in private. The decline of Christian observance pretty much follows the rise of the semi. As it were.

Cian O'Connor

The scout troop that I went to (which was run by dangerous maniacs, though one's who knew how to have a good time) organised pretty good summer camps. Mostly they consisted of rock climbing, canoeing down mountains, building improvised shelters halfway up mountains and pyrotechnics.

I'm sure Woodcraft folk troops vary, but people who attended them as kids have always described them as pretty earnest to me.

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