Wednesday, June 04, 2008

To adapt from MCR: “Evangelists scare the living shit out of me”

A week or so ago, I watched the Oscar-nominated documentary film Jesus Camp, and while this blog isn't the place where I put my movie reviews (such as they are), I felt I had to at least comment on it here.

You see, it's stayed with me, the evil, vile, manipulative, deceptive, child-abusing nature of these people who run such camps.

How else can you describe people who instil such a fear into children about the devil solely to boost the numbers of Christian followers ready for the holy war against Islam that they are certain will come?

It may well be that one day a holy war will come. I won't deny that. This is not least because Muslims will never be content until the whole world is rid of infidels. That's a problem. But is the solution to this problem really the brainwashing of our kids? (I say "our" in a figurative sense, since I don't breed.)

They tell these kids that they must not read or watch Harry Potter. This is because Harry Potter is a warlock and, as such, to partake of him is sinful. If he were alive in Jesus' time, he would have been put to death, they say. (Well, listen up, freak: he's not alive in our time either. Duh! Yes, this is the one and only time you'll see me defending Harry Potter!)

They tell these kids that they should not tell each other ghost stories in theie dorm room in the dark of night. It's not the Christian thing to do, you see, to dwell on bad stuff.

They fill these kids heads with the belief that babbling incoherently is actually speaking in tongues and a sure sign of the Holy Spirit within. Puh-leeze.

How Middle America cannot see this as the child abuse that it is is beyond me. Jesus Camp "pastor" (read: evil prick) Becky Fischer should burn in Hell, if such a thing exists. Better still, since it's likely Hell doesn't exist, she should burn here on Earth.

I was heartened, however, to read that since the film was made, negative response to the Jesus Camps was so intense that they had to be closed down. Thank Christ for that.


Bill Maher on the movie:

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Blogger furiousBall said...

you're 100% on the money my friend. any organization that limits the scope of free thinking is the real evil. this is what fear based society is all rooted in. so fucking sad. and these parents and counselors think they are so righteous. they are so far gone.

04 June, 2008 18:09  
Blogger Captain Karen said...

I tried to watch the doc and turned it off halfway through because I was so freaked out and disgusted. Ugh. Good post!

04 June, 2008 18:53  
Blogger Avid Andy said...

fanaticism for anything can get out of hand... warming... just don't paint everyone associated with a group with the same broad brush.

and furiousball's comment could be made about a lot of our universities.

05 June, 2008 05:18  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

f/Ball: Yep. It all goes the the "power corrupts: theory.

Karen: I just sat slack-jawed through the whole thing.

Andy: Absolutely. I'm aware that not all Christians (of any type) are the same, just as not all Muslims want to kill those of us who aren't. I'm just not digging what I've seen of Evangelism. It scares me. That much is true. The rest is very much about those particular folks in the movie. And for sure colleges etc can be worked into f/Ball's comment. Especially these days with the trend towards non-evolution theories, which is something else that came up in the film, funnily enough.

05 June, 2008 08:41  
Blogger Say It said...

sadly, with every one that closes there are still others opening. I'm sure those evangelicals couldn't sit still, they are leading others children somewhere under a different name, surely.

05 June, 2008 12:54  
Blogger Milla said...

All faiths are bad when they become religion.

During the last London election I found it amusing that the BNP went on about how many mosques have been built (3?) when in my area EVERY OTHER community building has been bought by Christian sects and is now a Christian centre: the congregation of the mountain of miracles, the chosen pastor's congregation and weird names like that.

05 June, 2008 13:15  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

More evidence that religion is dangerous stuff that has little to do with spirituality and everything to do with dogma and fear.


05 June, 2008 13:27  
Blogger Avid Andy said...

i was referring to universities being hostile towards any thought other than liberalism - shouting down speakers they oppose, firing professors who go against them etc

yesterday on a news program i heard, in Britain, trying to convert a Muslim to Christianity can be considered a hate crime. is that true?

05 June, 2008 13:57  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Wow, there is a lot in your post Asterisk and a lot of things to think about in the comments here too.

Interesting in the Bill Maher panel, I thought Aslan was hilarious what a hoot. I remember this particular eipsode. You know Bradley Whitford is an active practicing Christian, so I think his comments with the woman panelist were very interesting.

The deal isn't religion...and sometimes even Bill Maher forgets's fundamenalism.

And fundamentalism can be found in all institutions. It's true that universities have become so money and profit needy that they offer courses that are trendy rather than classical acedemia. Mind you...people can get fundamental about classical academia.

I've known people who are fundametalists about religion. Absolutely no tolerance always criticizing and making smug comments about people of faith or who practice religion. They get religion confused and are so bitter about some people who practice a religion they are fanatic about hating religion.

It's kind of funny actually.

People also forget...Jesus was Jewish and Mohammad was Christian. So why all the jealousy and hate-ons I wonder?

I am shocked to hear there are fundamentalists churches in Britian...I thought it was primarily an occurance in North America especially the States. (there are a couple of extremists and fundamentalist churches in Canada...but very few)

All the fear mongering in political campaigns and actual real fear of the unknown and terrorist bombers has driven people to extreme behaviour. It's very sad.

There are some studies hat religious fantatism and fundamentalism (NOT basic religious beliefs and practices) are assocated with brain damage. some ways we should feel compassion for those who have brain damage and can't help but intefrpret faith and religion into a fundamentalist worldview...they got bonked on the head...

...and the final question do we protect children? The thing is can we really protect them from their own families and parents and communities? Look how drastic and hurtful it was last month when all those children were ripped away from their parents because the government steepped in against polygamy? The kids were completely freaked and the mothers were a wreck. Turned out the courts said the government was out of line and the children shouldn't have been taken away from their families so rashly and frighteningly...and the children were returned.

05 June, 2008 15:42  
Anonymous Franki said...

i only saw bits of this movie...had to turn it off and go hide under my bed.

05 June, 2008 17:13  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

Sorry but I wont go by this one bit because I have read the Harry Potter books and the church my husband I went to for a bit was telling us that woman cant cut there hair and woman shouldnt be heard. OK. I am a very opinionated person so you dont tell me I cant give my opinion after so many years of being able to do so.

05 June, 2008 18:01  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Say It: I'm certain there must be hundreds across the United States, yes...

Milla: It's tricky, isn't it? I'm of the opinion that a change is needed. I'm not sure we really need to build more mosques or more churches. Talk to me about more hospitals and there might be a conversation, y'know?

G/puss: Ah dogma and fear. Isn't that what we all live for?

06 June, 2008 17:55  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Andy: I understand that you're speaking as a Christian, so you'll doubtless have a different perspective from me. That said, I think just as we (theoretically) have a separation of church and state, so should we also have a separation of church and education.

Of course, there it gets tricky, since non-evolutionists don't want their kids to be taught evolution.

As an atheist, though, I would be equally unhappy if my hypothetical kids were to be taught Creationism or something of that ilk.

I haven't heard about that hate crime you mention, but it seems off to me.

06 June, 2008 18:00  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Candy: It's an age-old story, isn't it? Just as every once in a while I have to do a hate on religion! And it's usually Christianity that gets it in the neck from me, simply because it's what I was raised with and know best.

I dunno... For me, I just have a problem understanding how people believe in this stuff. I just don't get it. I'm not saying they shouldn't be able to believe whatever they want, obviously. I just can't get my head around how someone can believe in this stuff!

Yeah, we have fundamentalism here, certainly, though it seems mostly within Islam rather than Christianity. It will come to Christianity, though, just as it has in the States. The Christians will have to defend their place as the church of this nation. It's a big pissing contest that nobody can really win, and everyone loses in one way or another. Especially those of us who believe nothing and are marginalized, feared even, or pitied, by believers.

With regards to the polygamy thing: I think they were right to remove the kids. It seems like child abuse in waiting. Or even in progress. Though I imagine they went in heavy-handed, like always...

06 June, 2008 18:09  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Franki: I hear you. It's scary shit.

Tweetey: You're absolutely right not to let anyone dictate what you can and can't do. And the fact that they do this under the guise of sacred leadership is despicable and cowardly.

06 June, 2008 18:11  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Interesting I didn't know you were raised Christian. I guess I should have known...Actually most atheists are former Christians...

Well belief is a funny thing. We all believe that when we cross the street others are going to obey the laws or respect pedestrians. We have huge levels of trust when we go to the grocery store or a restaurant that others who are handling our food have our best interests in mind....In the same way that is how people believe in a god.

Whether there is a god or not, or a heaven....I think that people are much more attracted to the community and sense of belonging that a church or temple gives them...there is familiar food that they grew up with, some rituals they are also familiar with and a group of people they feel comfortable...perhaps even safe.

I just went to a rummage sale down the street at a local church...and hthe sense of community was palpable among the people working the sale...I felt an immediate awareness of community and familiarity people joking and helping each could tell they had known each other for years! (I bought a sewing machine...I have no idea how to sew!)

That is the main reason people practice religion. Studies also show that people who meditate tend to have more peace of mind and a higher quality of life.

Now...a common mistake is that religion often thinks it has all the goods on the big questions. The real thing is that EVERYBODY asks the big questions...atheists, non-believers, pagans (like me) (god's existence is not a topic of conversation for Pagans or Buddhists, we simply can't prove either way but we can practice compassion which is a benefit for our feelings and communities)

Everyone asks "why are we here?" "Is there a bigger picture?" "what is the meaning, if anything, of life?" "how can I be happy?" "how can I have peace of mind?" "and how can we help face challenges ofor humanity and life on earth?"

We all want the answers to these questions or at the very least we all wonder them and religion does not legislate the path or answers.

We don't have to believe in anything to be curious.

Like I said...there are many researchers who have found brain damage in religious people...shouldn't that help us have some compassion?

Besides...most people who believe in heaven, or god...are asking the same questions we all ask...and they don't have all the answers just because they have faith.

We kind of are all in this together and the idea of polarity between various practices is an illusion...

We all want to feel happy and peace of mind...and most people want the best for their family and friends...and there is nothing wrong with that and maybe we should focus on those common goals?

I wish fundamentalists would too...

06 June, 2008 19:13  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Ha, yeah. My mum says that when I was a kid (like aged 6 or 7) she thought I would grow up to be a vicar. That's how much I was into that stuff! Then a couple of years later I went through a period of being obsessed with drawing pictures of the crucifixion. By about 10 or 11 I'd decided I was atheist. My mum was still adamant that I should get confirmed when I reached the right age (13?), so I had to fight it out with her. My dad eventually took my side and said I ought not to be confirmed if I didn't believe.

Compassion is an interesting angle, but isn't it a little too close to the feelings of pity discussed in the Maher clip? I can understand someone wanting to believe in an afterlife and all of that. Jeez, I'd love there to be one. But I need some proof. Without that I'm at a loss.

Common goals is all we have, but I sometimes think we live in a society that favours the believers. Your own US money has the words "In God We Trust" on it. But not all Americans feel that represents them. Yet they have to handle that stuff every day. Seems a little wrong, especially in a church/state-separated democracy, no?

Also, Candy, do you think believers are less tolerant of non-believers, or that non-believers are less tolerant than believers? Generally speaking. I think the former, though I accept that there are plenty of cases either way.

08 June, 2008 10:57  
Blogger lightupvirginmary said...

I wrote about this too!
Plug! *evil cackle*

08 June, 2008 12:05  
Blogger cappy. said...

they are basically basing their faith in a book written thousands of years ago.
in 4016, will there be chrches dedicated to aurthur dent?

if any of them exist, why not prove it without a doubt then we can all get on with our lives?

or am i just being dumb?

09 June, 2008 15:15  
Blogger Milla said...

I have just finished watching it. That is one fucking scary movie that is. Fucking SCARY!

14 June, 2008 20:48  

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