Friday, August 08, 2008

Inquiry is what got me here

I heard a report on NPR about a camp for kids that was an alternative to Christian camps all over the place this summer. I thought that was interesting. The camp was called "Camp Inquiry". I was confused, since when is inquiry the opposite if faith?

I listened to the testimonies of kids who proclaimed God as not existing, as being as valid as believing in fairies and basically in their youthful wisdom (ahem) declaring belief in God a rather disdainful, delusional path to take. I know when I was their age, I was pretty much in the same place. I almost killed myself on account of it.

The thing that struck me though was the name of the camp. It is as though Camp Inquiry is the only place where kids are asking the hard questions. And Camp Inquiry, being decidedly outside of religion, sounded like it was the alternative to church camps. This is taken from the Center for Inquiry's website.

Through education, research, publishing, and social services, it seeks to present affirmative alternatives based on scientific naturalism. The Center is also interested in providing rational ethical alternatives to the reigning paranormal and religious systems of belief, and in developing communities where like-minded individuals can meet and share experiences.

So, one can inquire, but the inquiry has to remain in the realm of what can be proven by humans. Which kind of purports that humans are the ultimate, what we don't know doesn't exist, or what we can't prove doesn't exist. I heard a person say once, in talking about cosmology that if our science doesn't allow for the humanly unknowable, our science is very limited, and while not useless, substantially lacking.

So I suggest that Camp Inquiry is faith based as equally as a Christian camp is, only the faith is in humanity. To me, this thought is depressing, disturbing and wanting.

It also makes me appreciate faith based camps more as being more open minded.

Inquiry is an absolute part of any real choice or decision that isn't going to retract itself shortly thereafter. I actually was excited and thought "I want my kids to go to camp Inquiry!" when the show started, but then I realized it was not a true sort of inquiry, but one limited to what can be proved by science. This belief is called alternately "Naturalism" or "Materialism", and they are based on humans. Too bad Camp Inquiry wasn't true to its name.

It is isn't a place of true inquiry. Camp Inquiry inquires really in only the direction of secular humanism. They teach you about evolution and why creationism is dumb, and they give you a safe place from all those Christians. At first I thought I would send my kid there, until I saw this. That and the radio interview really espoused a negative attitude against faith. I don't really think it is inquiry they are after, they are after getting away from religion. They believe instead, in humans.

Because honestly, since no one knows if there is a god, it all takes faith of one sort or another. Since evolutionists cannot recreate the theory they hold about the beginning of life (you know, the proteins in the primordial pool), it takes a level of faith to believe that their theory is true. Natural selection is different than this idea of life coming from nonlife. So is evolution.

So the question ends up as who are you going to put your cards with? A God that is better than we could ever be, or humanity as it is.

I am sorry if I sound dogmatic. I was once one of the kids at Camp Inquiry, I read Camus, went to parties and tried it all once. I was a secular seeker. And none of it made me very happy. All my inquiry in that direction just lead me to a "Is that all there is?" place.

I think the change in direction (going toward God rather than actively escaping him) actually opened my mind rather than allowing the culture and media at large determine what to think of Christianity (after I became Christian, a friend sent me a mixed tape with the song "Christianity is Stupid, give up!"), my "inquiry" made me see that even if none of it was true, my life quality would be infinitely better pursuing the direction of God.

And it is. So I suppose that in the way some people feel it is bad to raise your kids within your faith, it seems equally as unkind to raise your kids without the option of a faith. Camp Inquiry, at best is this limited inquiry masquerading as "enlightenment" and at worst a way to leave no option for a kid to make sense of the world and give them a reason to hope when hope is gone.


Zhenya said...

This post reminds me of the film "Expelled-No Intellegence Allowed". Have you seen it?

Mrs. T said...

There is a class at our church those considering joining the church and those who have left and are thinking about coming back. It is called "Inquiry". You are absolutely right.