Wednesday, October 31, 2007

On the eve of All Hallows

Given that it's Hallowe'en, it's perhaps fitting that we watched a truly frightening film in life group tonight - the documentary Jesus Camp. As an outsider, it was incredibly worrying to see full-on 'children's ministry', complete with speaking in tongues, extended prophetic prayer times and so on. Watching the children pray over a life-size cut-out of George Bush left me feeling incredibly uncomfortable. And that wasn't the only part of the film which had my skin crawling.

I guess I could sum up why it was frightening for a number of reasons.

1) Realising that, although far more extreme, there wasn't much difference between what was in the film and my own childhood experiences.
2) The stat that 75% of home-schooled children in America are Evangelical Christians, but in the film 'education' looked more like 'indoctrination'.
3) The way young children were frightened by stories of the devil and convinced they were sinners because sometimes they found it hard to believe what was in the Bible.
4) Because it left me unsure what the difference is between finding a faith and being brainwashed. (And hearing that 43% of evangelicals were 'born again' before the age of 13, doesn't help either.)
5) The absolute certainty with which highly debatable concepts were presented as fact, e.g. America is a Christian nation and should return to it's Christian roots; George Bush has been raised up by God and is surrounded by "godly" and "righteous" people.
6) The doom-laden prophecies of the semi-narrator radio host who warned of a religious take-over any time now.
7) The way it reminded me so much of the book The Handmaid's Tale, which describes what happens when the fundamentalists take over.

Jongudmund's rating on Jesus Camp: 7/10 (Be afraid. Be very afraid...)

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