Atheist Camp Provides Godless Fun For Non-Believing Kids
Atheists are a growing minority in America in a time when religion seems to be dividing citizens more than any other issue, and, in the developed world, American reliance on religion sort of makes us an outlier.
While Europeans are more likely openly atheist, here in America, no politician could ever have a hope of election without some deference to religion as a candidate — a climate in which one imagines atheist kids who might feel awkward attending a Jesus-y summer camp could feel a bit out of place.
But there is one option, an atheist summer camp for kids who don’t believe in God or don’t identify with any particular religion. Camp Quest Northwest in Seattle provides a religion-free reprieve for kids who are not religious and may be more reason-oriented, camp founders explain.
Covering God-references with masking tape or signs about the “flying spaghetti monster,” founders say critical thinking and science-based ideas are promoted over faith-based ones. But Chuck Wolber, one of the camp’s founders, says religion and God are not verboten topics and that studying both is something he sees as a direct path to atheism:
“We would encourage [atheist camp attendees] to read, to go to church … The best way to become an atheist is to study the Bible, and I definitely recommend the kids do that.”
For 9-year-old Elle, who sounds a bit more worldly than many of her peers, atheist camp is a place where she can socialize free of the imposition of other religions on her daily life:
“It’s amazing. I love it here … With certain people, you have to limit yourself or feel socially obligated. This feels nice to be here and not have to limit yourself and know you won’t be bullied or hurt.”
Eleven-year-old Chandler agrees and says atheist camp is a place he knows he will not be treated poorly for being a non-believer:
“All of my friends are Christian … Sometimes I do get bullied because of that, because I’m an atheist.”
Chandler’s dad, Matt Garry, says he and Chandler’s mom have raised their son to value critical thinking and reason over faith and explains:
“It was always very important to me to teach them about the scientific method; if something is provable, you have a hypothesis and you theorize, find a solution for it. It boils down to when someone is sick or very sick or hurt, we don’t pray to God, we pray to doctors and to the science that is going to fix them.”
According to ABC in their report on Camp Quest, atheists are increasing in number in the US. Since 1990, there are twice as many atheists or non-believers as there are today. Would you like if more children’s schools and camps promoted an atheist point of view?