Atheists are seemingly doing everything they can to organize themselves into a religion. Apparently they just don’t believe in the content of religion but are fine with the rituals, culture, and institutions of religion and want versions for themselves. Remember church camp, where children go off into the semi-wild for fun, crafts, fellowship, and above all religious instruction and experience? Well, the atheists now have the exact same thing for their kids:
Camp Quest Chesapeake is a summer camp for atheists. Or the children of atheists. Plus: agnostics, secular humanists, freethinkers and other self-identified members of the non-religious community. This summer is the camp’s first appearance in the Mid-Atlantic — the second-largest launch in Camp Quest history.
The first Camp Quest opened in the Cincinnati area in 1996, founded by Edwin Kagin, a former Eagle Scout who was annoyed with the religious overtones in modern Boy Scouting. Camp Quest had about 20 campers. In 2002, it incorporated, launching a branch in Tennessee. A few years ago the organization hired its first paid employee. There are now 10 Camp Quests in North America and a few more in Europe. . . .
“Think of how many hundreds of religious camps there are in this country,” Kagin says. (The Christian Camp and Conference Association alone has 865 members, and there are many more who don’t belong to the organization.) “Camp Quest is a night light in a dark and scary room for children of freethinking parents.”The site for Camp Chesapeake was the group’s second choice. They originally tried to rent from a Methodist camp, but the Methodists edged away when they learned whom they were renting to. One religious blog has dubbed Camp Quest a “Re-Education camp.”
“We want kids to know what critical thinking is, and how to use it,” says Menon, whose day job is with the federal government. “And there’s an ethics component. We want kids to know that they should do the right thing” even if they don’t believe in heaven.
Which some might. Camp Quest offers daily lectures on world religions from an informational perspective. Also, lectures about famous freethinkers such as iconic physicist Richard Feynman and “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe.
Other atheist camp activities include atheist swimming, atheist nature hikes and atheist stargazing.
Christians are generally criticized when they attempt to baptize every little thing so that there is a Christian version, as opposed to a non-Christian version of secular activities. But I’ve never heard of Christian swimming. But there is atheist swimming.
I wonder if there are some atheists who say things like, “I don’t believe in organized atheism, but I am a very materialistic person.”