A Message from Richard Dawkins to Young Freethinkers December 7, 2009

A Message from Richard Dawkins to Young Freethinkers

Michael Campbell is the chief editor of Young Freethought, a blog about atheism which features commentary from only people under 21. He sent Richard Dawkins a message about the blog, who they’re reaching out to, and what they’re trying to accomplish.

Dawkins wrote him back (how excited would you be?)

It’s relatively short and the whole thing is worth reading, but if you’re a college student or younger, the following part is especially relevant (emphasis mine):

… Of course we must leave people in peace to practise religion if they so choose. But the rest of us must be left in peace to live our lives without it. The religious want more and more influence over government policy and, if they succeed, our society will be the poorer: less tolerant, less equal, less just, less educated, less rational. These issues should matter to all of us, but young people are the ones who should care most of all. You will inherit the societies that current governments leave behind. This is your future we are talking about, and the kind of society you want to live in.

If you want -– and what decent person wouldn’t? –- to live with the best Enlightenment values, live free and tolerant and committed to knowledge and education and reason, then you must speak up and let your voices be heard.

If I were Michael, I’d get that email printed and framed — how often does someone of Dawkins’ stature directly address the work you’re doing and support it wholeheartedly?

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  • Calvin

    I don’t like Richards harsh approach towards religion. I don’t like religion any more than the rest of you, but it seems to me that Richard is implying religion = idiot, which is a similar approach that a lot of religious people take towards the non-religious. Let’s try to be a step-up and not return the idiocy.

  • It happened to me once. When Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing To Do With God was first published in Skeptical Inquirer, Dawkins wrote me a very short, two-sentence email saying that he liked the piece. I just about fell off my chair from star-struck happiness. I still have the email.

  • Oh, and Calvin: I don’t think Dawkins is saying “religion = idiot.” I think he’s saying “religion = idiocy.” It’s about the belief, not the believers. A subtle distinction, but an important one.

  • Well put, Greta Christina. To paraphrase a comment I left on another blog, I am no smarter now than I was when I was a Christian. For me, it was a matter of having the courage to discard comforting, yet idiotic beliefs. I was never an idiot, but I was deluded.

  • muggle

    It’s about the belief, not the believers.

    I’m sorry but that really smacks of the same tone as hate the sin, not the sinner.

    I like a lot that Dawkins writes but I do find him rather stuck up. The only reason I couldn’t sign on to the “Brights” movement is that the term itself is way too condescending.

    We really have to get over this idea that Athiest = smart and believer = dumb. Not only have I known some truly brilliant believers; I’ve known some truly stupid disbelievers.

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