If you were going through a religious “Confirmation,” it would requires weeks of religious education, attendance at Mass, Baptism, etc. If you’re a believer, though, it’s a powerful rite of passage.
But what do you do in a nation where religion is growing increasingly unpopular? You work with secular groups and offer non-religious confirmations. It’s a real thing in Germany that 50,000 children a year are going through, courtesy of various secular groups:
Children are usually between the ages of 14 and 18 when they sign up, and the process involves classes over a 20-week period before they formally graduate. The teens are taken on field visits and museum trips, taught ethics and social niceties and given a textbook covering the main topics: ethics, current affairs and climate change.“The ones who come are interested in further educating themselves on the secular aspects of life,” said Neumann. That doesn’t mean they aren’t taught about religion; but it’s just one of the things in the curriculum, alongside the constitution, tolerance and evolution.
It’s a wonderful idea. It’s also not unique. The Norwegian Humanists have been conducting a similar program for more than 60 years now.
It’s a great way to educate students beyond the classroom and make them feel like part of something bigger than themselves. You don’t need God for that.