The “Quest” for Kids

by Ken Ham on September 15, 2009
Featured in Answers Update

Many of those opposing the Christian faith accuse Christians of supposed “child abuse” for teaching them about God of creation.

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Editors’ note: this article was revised on 9/23—see footnote.

What do you think would happen if atheists took a group of children to a summer camp and gave them lessons that mocked the Koran and the Islamic faith? Would there be an outcry? Would Muslims remain silent?

Well, we all know that such a camp would not be tolerated. And we also know that atheists in America would not attempt to insult Muslims like this.

Yet, atheists can take children to a camp and make a shocking mockery of the Christian faith, and that’s apparently okay! According to last month’s American Atheist magazine, a “mass de-baptism” was held at a camp for children that was run by atheists.1 Over “100 humans [mostly children] were cleansed of religious folly.”

Camp Quest is described in the magazine as a place:

to provide children of freethinking parents a residential summer camp dedicated to improving the human condition through rational inquiry, critical and creative thinking, scientific method, self-respect, ethics, competency, democracy, free speech, and the separation of religion and government guaranteed [sic] by the Constitution of the United States . . . .
Camp Quest is the first residential summer camp in the history of the United States for the children of Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Brights, or whatever other terms might be applied to those who hold to a naturalistic, not supernatural world view [sic].

In addition, according to the group’s website, “Campers at Camp Quest are encouraged to think for themselves and are not required to hold any particular view. We do emphasize critical and scientific thinking over faith though.”

So these children, whose worldview is helping to be formed by those who teach them at the camp, are supposedly “encouraged to think for themselves”? Is that why the young people are given a free T-shirt that states “It’s Okay To Be An Atheist”? And why a “nine-year old Camp Quest camper, who after being De-Baptized [using a hairdryer], raised her arms skyward and loudly proclaimed, ‘I can see!’”?

Of course, they were not being taught to think for themselves, as any “bright” “free-thinker” can easily see. These children were being indoctrinated against Christianity, especially with their adult-led mockery of Christian baptism. They were explicitly taught to reject God!

Ironically, you can find numerous examples on the web, in books, and in magazines where those who are opposing the Christian faith accuse Christians of supposed “child abuse” for teaching them about God, creation, etc.

For instance, atheist Richard Dawkins in his book The God Delusion, states the following concerning the biblical teaching of hell:

I am persuaded that the phrase “child abuse” is no exaggeration when used to describe what teachers and priests are doing to children whom they encourage to believe in something like the punishment of unshriven [unforgiven] mortal sins in an eternal hell.

On a well-known anti-creationist website, we read this statement by a person commenting on our Creation Museum: “I have no doubt that brain washing children with deliberate lies about the processes of science should indeed be viewed as child abuse.”

You can find many similar quotes with accusations of child abuse against Christians, especially those who teach children about God and creation.

I believe, however, that the ultimate “child abuse” (to use the term many God-haters use) is to take young children—who in their hearts know there is a God, for the knowledge of God is written on their hearts (Romans 1)—and teach them: there is no God; humans are just animals; there is no purpose in life; when you die, that is the end of you.

We must not forget the sobering verse where Jesus declares, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

Let’s praise God for tools like the maligned, yet amazingly effective Creation Museum, and the arsenal of Bible-affirming books, DVDs, and other resources that so powerfully present biblical truth to young people!


  1. Clarification: Since this article was posted, we learned that the “mass de-baptism” did not occur at Camp Quest but at a different venue in Ohio. We inferred from a statement in the American Atheist article referenced above—that a “nine-year-old Camp Quest camper who, after being De-Baptized, raised her arms skyward and loudly proclaimed, ‘I can see!’”—that the sacrilege occurred at Camp Quest. This belief was fostered by noting that the AA article featured a photo of the founder of the Camp Quest movement conducting the de-baptism and also because photos depicted a rustic camp-like setting—all suggesting that this event was held at a camp that Camp Quest has become known for hosting. So, even though the young girl was described in the article as a Camp Quest camper (and thus we took the article to say that the de-baptism happened at Camp Quest), we made a logical yet inaccurate inference, and, so, we regret that in a fallen world, fallible people can make inadvertent mistakes like this. For this reason, we wish to retract the inference we had made that the incident took place at Camp Quest.

    By the way, we want to note that our article did not say or imply that Camp Quest was run by the group called American Atheists, as someone has alleged. We were merely commenting on an article that the AA group had written on a de-baptism. Interestingly, though, the magazine piece was accompanied by a photo of a young girl wearing a T-shirt that clearly shows the AA’s web address; we are also aware of other connections between the two groups: the Camp Quest founder is on the board for American Atheists and is also its National Legal Director, and the two groups largely share the same beliefs and goals. But again, we did not say that the camp was run by the AA.


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