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8/13/09

A Summer Camp For The Kids of Free Thinkers and Atheists


No singing of hymns around the campfire for these children. No Bible Study. The summer camp has come under fierce attack by Christian fundamentalists.

"Campers are not told that there is no God; only that they should weigh the evidence. They learn about the scientific method. An amateur biologist invites them to gather creepy-crawlies from a nearby pond. They are told how sensitive each species is to pollution, and asked to work out from this how polluted the pond is. They find several critters that can survive only in clean water, and conclude that the pond is in good shape. The kids are encouraged to explore ethical questions, too. The more argumentative ones sit in a clearing and debate the nature of justice.

"The kind of people who send their kids to Bible camp are appalled. Answers in Genesis, a Christian fundamentalist group, berates Camp Quest for drumming a 'hopeless' world view into young minds. But a humanist camp is less about indoctrination than reassurance that it is all right not to be religious; that it is possible to be moral without believing in the supernatural. Nearly all the kids at Camp Quest say they find it comforting to be surrounded by others who share their lack of belief. Many attend schools where Christianity is taken for granted. Many keep quiet about their atheism. Those who don’t are sometimes taunted or told they will burn in hell.

Atheists are broadly disliked in America." More

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