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The Unbelievers

By Phil*, RMM worker in Malaga, Spain

The recent release of the movie "The Unbelievers" is noteworthy, not from its huge box office success, but because it highlights a significant cultural phenomena of relevance to Christian witness in the West. The movie features spokesmen for the new atheism movement that is attempting to rid the world of the remnants of pre-scientific beliefs, especially religious beliefs. Unlike the old atheism of the previous generation, the new atheism does not lament the passing of theism due to the enlightenment attained through scientific inquiry, but rather sees this as an important development on humanity's road to a better corporate life together. Christian witness in modern western society thus finds itself on the defensive. "Christian witness in modern western society thus finds itself on the defensive. It is seen as representing an inferior, antiquated belief system that is actually holding society back from making progress."It is seen as representing an inferior, antiquated belief system that is actually holding society back from making progress. The new atheism is less tolerant about allowing religionists to continue to harbor their outdated beliefs. Religious beliefs, since they are not based on empirical evidence (as the secularist sees it), are uncertain and at times dangerous. Society is better off without the error and fanaticism they engender. The new atheism thus questions the propriety of allowing parents to keep on inculcating these erroneous religious beliefs in their children. Richard Dawkins, a leading voice in the new atheism movement, asserts that this is a form of child abuse. The future is shaped by the present education of the young and so it cannot be left in the hands of the religionists who are seemingly spurning the scientific worldview.

Home schooling here in Spain, as in a number of other European societies, is frowned upon, if not illegal. It is therefore difficult for parents to keep their children from being inculcated with the prevailing secular and naturalistic belief system. Our local evangelical camp is trying to overcome this, not only by offering an evangelistic summer program for church youth, but also by building a bridge into the state school system. The Christian Camp where we are helping with Farm Day Out.A day out of school studying farm life or nature is required each academic year. The "Springs of Life" Camp intends to offer a farm day out to the two hundred or so schools within driving distance. The hope is that students will not only attend a farm day out at the camp but come to a more evangelistically-orientated summer program. A REACH team is due to come in December to help get the program off the ground. Maybe in this way at least some children in Spain will get to see a different perspective on life.