Atheists in Palo Alto realize that their kids need regular instruction in morals and ethics – so they’ve started a nice secular humanist class, held, ironically, by a man with last name of "Bishop."  They are mimicking similar programs in other cities, and sending their kids to secularist summer camps like Camp Quest.  I have some observations.

  1. They want the moral and ethical results of Christianity without the God of Christianity – they will have some success, since half of human success
    if maximizing human potential – but the other half?  Addressing man’s spiritual condition and need for God.  Man without God
    will not be able to escape his own spiritual falleness – which is why
    atheist systems are destined to end in cruelty.
  2. They are right – humans need ethical and moral training.  But is the alternative they provide, devoid of faith in God, and awash in subjective morality, really going to produce moral people?  Probably only a few – not only because they ignore the spiritually fallen nature of man, but because a subjective moral system eventually leads to justifying persecuting objective ones.  And as Gary DeMar explains in Why all atheists aren’t monsters (PDF), "Most atheists are inconsistent with their atheistic assumptions, keeping them from becoming heartless beasts."
  3. Some Christian education programs ARE brainwashing, and I wouldn’t want my kids in them either. Those that practice blind faith religion certainly don’t turn out healthy humans, but the alternative is to find a healthy faith community.  However, atheists, in throwing out the God with the bathwater, are doomed to fail in their effort – cf. Communism, since, as the American forefathers knew, public virtue is impossible without faith in God (on a national level – individual godless people may be nice and moral, but it does not scale up – see point 2 and 5).
  4. It has been tried before.  In my post on Liberal, MO, we saw an atheist community that mimicked Sunday school, but preached humanism and science and humanistic philosophy in its place.  The result?   A moral cesspool.  As one former resident of the failed atheist town said "An
    infidel surrounded by Christians may spout his infidelity and be able
    to endure it, but a whole town of atheists is too horrible to
    contemplate."
  5. Atheistic moralism is merely reflecting (poorly) the light of Christian morals without God. In an excellent article by Gary DeMar (not yet released on the web), it is explained that, atheist moralists are like moon worshippers – they can’t actually stand the light of the sun, but rather, like the dimmer light of the moon, not realizing that the moon itself has no light, but is merely a poor reflection of the sun they have rejected.