Tag Archives: nonbelievers

Camp Quest Ohio is underway

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I wrote about Camp Quest back in March and camp started up this past week. The Columbus Dispatch not only had a print article but also a podcast and short video about the camp. Follow the links below.

The camp director’s housekeeping lecture met the usual disinterest from the dining hall full of sweaty, bug-bitten kids.

Messy cabins are a staple of summer camp. Who wants to tidy up when you can swim, play games and goof around with your friends?

But August Brunsman finished his cleaning directive with a so-subtle-the-kids-probably-missed-it pun that made clear that Camp Quest is not the usual summer offering.

“Remember,” he said, a slight grin crossing his face, “cleanliness is next to godlessness.”

Camp Quest is a sleepaway camp for the children of atheists, agnostics, humanists and other nonbelievers, though kids from religious families are welcome, too.

Most of the time, the kids do normal camp stuff such as hike, compete in relay races, sit around campfires.

But the overarching philosophy is that life without religion is a perfectly healthy, viable option.

Kids wrestle with religion at Camp Quest

Faith & Values Podcast | No. 101 Dispatch religion reporter Meredith Heagney talks with Amanda Metskas, the director of Camp Quest, a program for children of atheists, agnostics, humanists and other nonbelievers.

Female nonbelievers *DO* exist

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One complaint about atheism and secular humanism is that we don’t have many if any women involved. The inference is that women tend to gravitate to emotional support that supposedly only theistic or spiritual religions can provide. Besides supporting a bad stereotype, the inference is plain wrong. Jen McCreight, writer of the Blag Hag blog listed some of the great female nonbelievers alive today.

As she notes at the end of her entry:

To clarify, this list is for living women who are known for their vocal support of atheism, skepticism, and/or scientific thinking – or, likewise, speaking out against religion and supernatural beliefs. There are plenty of women who simply happen to be atheists but never ever speak about it – this isn’t intended for them.

A large list of awesome female atheists

The list includes Wendy Kaminer – Author, Kathy Griffin – comedian, Taslima Nasrin – Writer & human rights activist, and Amanda Metskas – Head of Camp Quest among others.

Check out the list.

Et tu, Berlinerblau

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Jacques Berlinerblau writes in the column “Georgetown/On Faith” on the Washington Post-Newsweek website:

Query: Can an atheist or agnostic commentator discuss any aspect of religion for more than thirty seconds without referring to religious people as imbeciles, extremists, mental deficients, fascists, enemies of the common good, crypto-Nazis, conjure men, irrationalists, pedophiles, bearers of false consciousness, authoritarian despots, and so forth? Is that possible?

Nonbelievers of late have been churning out loud, unsubtle, anti-religious manifestos. The world would be a better place, they all seem to suggest, if religion and all of its associated personnel were simply to disappear. In this regards the new nonbelievers seem stuck in the ‘90s—and by this I mean the 1890s. This calls attention to one glaring problem with atheism and agnosticism today: it lacks new ideas. The movement abounds in polemicists, but has not produced a thinker of real substance since perhaps the days of Jean-Paul Sartre.

Secularism: Boring (Part I)

When I read something like that it’s easy for me to simply dismiss it as it almost always comes from some Christian fundamentalist with no clue about atheism or secularism.

In this case Berlinerblau is one of us – a nonbeliever. He is on the advisory panel of the Secular Web run by the Internet Infidels and he wrote the book “The Secular Bible: Why Nonbelievers Must Take Religion Seriously” (Cambridge:2005).

All beliefs have insider dissenters who for one reason or another would rather their comrades not be so “uppity”. It seems that people like Berlinerblau want nonbelievers to be meek and silent like a servant in a colonial household in the early part of the 20th century.

While I agree with Berlinerblau that there are some extreme views within the nonbeliever community, I think he paints with a too large a brush. Most of us don’t call believers imbeciles, pedophiles etc… (on a daily basis) and we don’t lump everyone into one large group as Berlinerblau appears to do to nonbelievers. Most nonbelievers will agree that the late Madalyn Murray O’Hair had far worse things to say about religion and even other nonbelievers that anything coming out of the books by Dawkins and Harris et al… and she got all the press she wanted.

However the nonbeliever commentaries that I have seen and read have dealt with specific views and specific actions of believers that might seem to be stupid or irrational. See practically any post of this blog for examples of that.

Yes, I did call Dennis Prager a turd but as Ann Coulter would say – I was just expressing an invective….

I have met some atheists and other nonbelievers who I didn’t personally like because they were buttheads socially, but doesn’t it seem every movement has buttheads leading the charge that opens the doors for the rest of us?

Now if we start seeing extremists on the other side being put in their place by more moderate voices, I might sign on to Berlinerblau’s ideas. It just seems that nonbelievers are the ones being asked to tone our criticism down or that we need to be silent so as not to offend those who might agree with us on church state separation.

It isn’t my job to make believers who agree with us on church and state issues to feel better about themselves and their silly beliefs especially as they remain silent when people like James Dobson or Pat Robertson have free reign for their stupid comments in the name of their religion.

I say lets see some compromise from their side.