Letters: Camp Inquiry

Many listeners wrote in response to Barbara Bradley Hagerty's story on Thursday about Camp Inquiry, a summer retreat for young religious skeptics.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Now, it's time for some of your letters. And no story gathered more than Barbara Bradley Hagerty's report about Camp Inquiry for religious skeptics. Her profile of the Upstate New York camp brought cheers from many listeners, including Sarah Bernard Stevens(ph) of Junction City, Kansas, who writes:

It's comforting to know that there are places out there for young free-thinkers to meet and connect with others who share their views. I became an atheist in high school and can understand the isolation that most of these campers feel and the scorn that some of them receive from their family and communities.

Instead of comforted, others felt frustrated, including Alan Patterson(ph) of Knoxville, Tennessee. At the camp, a boy said he was terrified of not existing. Well, Mr. Patterson e-mailed: What he's really feeling is the knowledge of his lostness and the reality of God and heaven, and that right now he is rejecting that. That terrifying feeling he is having - really, when you get down to it - is that feeling of being lost and without hope. But Mr. Patterson goes on: Jesus of Nazareth is alive and welcomes and saves sinners who turn to him, even the little arrogant ones at Camp Inquiry.

One camper in the story said faith and scientific method don't mix. Bruce Campbell of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, writes that as a teen, he, too, felt science left no room for God. But studying high-level physics changed his mind. He says: I realized that science does allow for a God and even provides suggestions of one. I'm glad that I had this atheistic period in my life. Because of it, my belief is real and not based on a desire to convince myself. I can now see God all around me in the beauty of existence.

Here, we believe in the power of feedback. You can e-mail us through our Web site, npr.org. Click on Contact Us.

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