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Author Topic: Jesus Camp  (Read 2185 times)
Ramza
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« on: August 22, 2007, 05:12:23 AM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Camp

Has anyone seen this documentary?

A friend of mine recommended it to me. He said "apparently, if you're not very religious, it'll scare the crap out of you."

..........................................................................................

I consider myself a fairly devout Christian. Evangelical, even (at least in some ways). But maybe I'm just balanced by being politically moderate and sensible? Because watching this was scary. I worked at a Christian summer camp for 4 years of my life, and it was never anything like this.

Talk. About. Brainwashing.

Certainly, there are worse things you could do to children, and I know the adults involved in these childrens' loves have good intentions ... but man, they just don't get it.


Whether you're completely unaware of how conservative, American Evangelical Christians operate, or whether you're right in the thick of it, this is probably a documentary you ought to watch.

Ramza
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Dave
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2007, 06:13:06 AM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86LzKSsuB2w

I'm sorry, there's nothing remotely appropriate in that video.

This shit is straight-up brainwashing.
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Jylan
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2007, 12:23:36 PM »

As a moderate Christian, this scares the hell out of me. I would never send my children to a torture camp like this.


This video is just as disturbing.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru7Ds2FZpVk&NR=1

WTF? Harry Potter evil now? J.K Rowlings is a Christian herself!

I don't know if i could stomache watching that entire documentary. Christianity to me is about loving and respecting your fellow human beings, not passing judgment on others This sort of fanatic zealotry is what scares alot of people away from Christianity. Very sad.
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Ramza
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2007, 04:29:20 PM »

Well... I guess I shouldn't have started this thread. Typical misinterpretation from both responses so far. (btw, JK Rowling's faith is up for debate, as she refuses to wear it on her sleeve ... something I respect).

Re: Bush ... they're practicing the typical Pentecostal "Laying on of Hands." This is in no way a worship or adoration of Bush ... it's not even "Veneration" like Catholics would do with Saints. They are praying *to* God that Bush would make good decisions (in their mind, this probably involves pushing the pro-life, traditional-marriage agenda ... but they aren't brainwashing these kids to worship Bush). To give you an idea, my church prayed for Clinton just as much as they now pray for Bush (I think Bush needs more help from the Big Guy upstairs, maybe a good slap on the face, but w/e).

Re: Harry Potter...

I contacted the father of one of the main families (if you saw Levi, the boy with the rat-tail? HIS dad). I asked a bunch of questions, since I'm going to be screening "Jesus Camp" for a world religions course I teach. When I asked him about the vehement Harry Potter tirade that Becky Fischer lets out in the film, he responded as such:

Quote
We are not at war with Harry Potter by any means.  We think they are well written stories.  Becky, actually, is not at war with Harry either.  She was attempting to address the idea of the kids actually getting infatuated with witchcraft itself.  She wanted to let them know that that was not OK with God.  She regretted the way we made the statement as soon as she said it, but it is an example of the fact that we had no editing rights when it came to this movie.  My wife and older daughter have read the Harry Potter books and we love Lord of the Rings.


This may not jive well with you after seeing that clip, but her point is regarding the use of witchcraft, warlocks, and whatnot ... apparently their specific sect is okay with reading Harry Potter so long as their children understand that witchcraft is contrary to what they practice.

The practices of a fringe Pentecostal Christian camp may scare you (speaking in tongues, vehement sermons, use of physical objects to display "spiritual" truths) ... but that's not what scares me. What scares me is that the kids are becoming convinced of political truths before they are intelligent enough to really know what to think regarding politics.

But in response, these people believe that these issues aren't about "politics," but are real tennants of their faith. Which is difficult for the secular world to accept, because they'd prefer that faith be privatized. I think the Washington Post review of this film is very even-handed for approaching the controversy:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/28/AR2006092801923.html?sub=AR

Hoping for less knee-jerk reactions,
Ramza
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Jylan
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2007, 05:29:32 PM »

I do apologize for my knee-jerk reaction. The "in Old Testament times, Harry Potter would be put to death" was just a bit hard to swallow. I was always taught, "hate the sin, not the sinner". I realize i am only watching snippets, and making a judgment based solely on that, which is not fair.

I guess i forget sometimes how varied Christian practices are in America. To me, it was always a time for people to come together and worship in each other's company. As you said, i am sure the founders of "Kids On Fire School of Ministry" really do have the best intentions with their program. But some of their actions really tend to lean more towards the fanatical side, don't you think?

After speaking to my wife about this, i think we might actually watch the entire Video to get a fair opinion of it.
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2007, 05:44:47 PM »

Pat, I hate to say this but even if people haven't seen Jesus Camp, it could still end up as a mudslinging thread where "normal" people sling mud at those "damn fundies."  And the fundamentalist believers could then come back and say secular folks are "faithless" or "unenlightened heathens."  

Even on a video game forum like RPGfan, threads about religion and politics tend to bring the heat.  

Although I'm not familiar with the documentary, I am aware that this "brainwashing" is something that happens all over the world regardless of belief system.  Whether you're Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Atheist, Satanist, whatever, it's not uncommon to see organized operations of overzealous extremists doing things in the name of their belief system that may violate common sense.  I won't deny that good intentions are at work, but sometimes good intentions can manifest themselves in unhealthy practices.      

I just think documentaries like Jesus Camp or even movies like But I'm A Cheerleader about camps where parents send their gay/lesbian children to be brainwashed straight again (and therefore be free of sin and not be smited by God) are more overt because Christianity is possibly the most widespread belief system in the world.  Perhaps more covert Satan Camps or Atheist Camps or things like that exist out there.  And with Internet media being what it is, we're just more aware of things like this.  

Organized belief systems are a powerful thing.  They can bring peace, order, and hope into peoples' lives.  But they have also been the sources of many brutal wars.

In any case, I do feel bad for that father whose family's words were manipulated by the media editor.  He seems a reasonable person (I can only tell so much about a person from a secondary sourced email message) and the way the film was edited will paint him and his family in an unfairly negative light.
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2007, 06:36:06 PM »

You know, I don't recall hearing about any atheist camps, actually. Ever.

And I don't remember atheists asking for tax breaks in the middle of war.

And I don't ever seem to recall atheists knocking on my door and asking me if I want to convert myself to their views.

Unfortunately you can't just make this an even-handed argument when there are the Three Big Religions, and everyone else. Between Israel, the U.S., and the middle east, there is a lot of politcal power at hand when the God-fearing masses are riled up. Yeah, that may have just been a laying on hands ceremonial gesture -- I don't care. Cardboard cutouts of politicians shouldn't be in a church full of children. It can send the message that the church approves of "THIS guy" but not "THAT guy"...

Hell, I'm offended that we have pastors opening sessions of Congress.

I'd highly recommend watching the God's Warriors specials on CNN. That network may be turning into a bunch of hacks, but Christiane Amanpour never disappoints me. It may not be true with everyone who sees themself as a devout follower, but there are large segments of our society that are doing everything they can to ensure that the laws of their religion become the laws of the countries.

I don't think Jesus was going around telling politicians how to do their jobs. In fact, I seem to recall him not paying a whole lot of attention to their decisions, and telling the people who he preached to that in spite of their leaders' lack of faith, that they, the followers of the word of God and the footsteps of Christ, would still enter the kingdom of Heaven. He also said "Give to Caesar that which is Caesar's, and to God that which is His." God's kingdom isn't of this earth -- so why do a lot of us try to make this earth God's kingdom?
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2007, 07:53:12 PM »

Quote from: "Dave"
You know, I don't recall hearing about any atheist camps, actually. Ever.

And I don't remember atheists asking for tax breaks in the middle of war.

And I don't ever seem to recall atheists knocking on my door and asking me if I want to convert myself to their views.



True, but atheists have done things like try to get the "one nation under God" bit changed on the flag pledge and stuff like that.  They too throw tantrums and fits when they feel stuff "offends" their points of view.  Many atheists I've met think anyone who believes in God is a complete moron for placing faith in some intangible.  

No matter what belief system you subscribe to, nobody's hands are clean.  

But this isn't about atheists vs. God-fearers or other such things.

All I'm saying is that the kind of stuff we see in these extremist Christian profiles is stuff we may see in others regardless of belief system.  Cultural brainwashing happens all over the world.  

In my opinion, no matter what the belief system, over-zealous fundamentalists frighten me.  Fundie atheists freak me out as much as fundie Christians, fundie Muslims, fundie Hindus, fundie anything.
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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2007, 07:57:31 PM »

Yeah, I saw this documentary a few months back with a friend and it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. It's an amazing documentary since they basically just turn the camera on and say go, commenting on it very little. It's also done by the two hosts of the 'Ring of Fire' radio show.
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2007, 01:53:40 PM »

I'm moderately religious and the idea of a brainwashing camp pretty much creeps me out. I know that in some Islamic countries, half of the schools can be quite bent on 'brainwashing' its children into believing certain values and systems. It's really strange, how people can use religion as a medium of overzealousness (sp?) or political idea.

I also find it weird that people need to tell children that witchcraft in Harry Potter is... sinful (or whatever). Any child with a fundamental understanding of his/her religion or any child brought up in a fairly religious household should already be able to deduce that on his/her own. Give 'em some credit. If the kid starts practicing wicca or jumping of rooftops with a broomstick, it's probably a parenting problem.
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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2007, 10:02:25 PM »

I will say that the youtube video is clearly skewed towards showing the camp in a negative light; even though many will say it does that well enough on its own. I consider myself a devout christian, but I would never send my child to a camp that was extreme, and any type of christian camp is risky. The way I see it, if there are things in the camp that are contradictory or overly extreme in the camp, it would have the opposite desired effect on a child, at least in the long run. That woman who made the statement "Harry Potter would be put to death" is a perfect example. By letting her emotions get the best of her(if the gentlemans reply is to be believed) she has innocuosly given Christianity an even worse rap than it already has.

Regardless of anyone's religious belief, it can never be emphasized enough that your words and actions will be taken in many cases as representative of the religion in question. Which is precisely why hypocrisy and religion are such a volatile combination.
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