Stephen returned this summer to Base Camp as a seventeen-year-old high school graduate with questions for which he still wanted answers. He has been a Climber in the past, so he is familiar with the typical Base Camp routine: speakers, sessions and small groups. As good as the programming is, what brings Stephen back to Base Camp year after year are the teachers who give of their time and energy to come share their thoughts, beliefs and life stories.
In our interview with Stephen, he freely declared his love for logic and sound reasoning.
“I think they go together. If it’s sound, it will be logical. If it’s logical, it’s probably pretty sound.”
For Stephen, however, this year centers on the idea that it is okay to have doubts, as long as those doubts are then challenged with the truth. His favorite speaker is Dr. Swamidass, who continues to be open and honest about his personal struggles between understanding logic, reasoning, doubts, faith and how they all fit together. Stephen hasn’t forgotten the statement with which Dr. Swamidass ended his talk:
“In the end, my faith is significantly more important than the science of it all.”
As a third-year Climber, but first-time small group leader, Stephen let Dr. Swamidass’ faith over science message impact the way Stephen encouraged others in his group to dig deep and ask their own questions.
Sharing his own uncertainties opened up the floor, allowing other students to feel comfortable in being inquisitive on their own.
“In my opinion, people respond better when you get on the same level as them.”
When asked what he would say to someone searching for a safe place to ask questions and be heard as they search for answers, he offered up this advice,
“I think, as a leader, it’s not bad to have questions. I am not perfect and I don’t understand everything, so I have to ask questions so I can inform other people who ask me questions.
“Base Camp is the only place that encourages you to keep asking and challenging your faith.”