Holy Shit

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Holy Shit

Holy Shit

I am shocked. I am stunned. I am outraged. I am saddened beyond belief. I have just seen the new movie “Jesus Camp”. The film was a silent documentary on a midwestern minister and her children's summer bible camp. But this is no simple vacation bible school. This camp was a full scale effort to indoctrinate children into dominionist, fundamentalist christianity. The film followed three children, two girls and a boy through the camp and interspersed it with footage from their home lives.

I am shocked by the lies, deception and dogma that was force fed to these children. I am stunned by the facts that both an adult would do this to a child in the first place and that a parent would willingly offer a child up for such treatment. I am outraged by the sight of children speaking in “tongues”, writhing on the floor after their involvement in the ceremony of the day. I am saddened at the fact that in this day and age we still have the curse of religion around our collective necks.

We live in an age where we can see the very atoms that make up all the matter we, and everything else in the universe, is made of. We can split the atom for power and fuse it for war. We can travel around the globe in less than a day. We can send people to the moon and machines to the places and space beyond. We can cure diseases that were fatal not 50 years ago and provide enough food to feed all. We can manipulate the properties of the electromagnetic spectrum so precisely that we can communicate with virtually anyone, anywhere, anytime and in multiple ways. We can look into space and measure the shadow of an extra solar planet as it passes in front of its parent star. we can do all this, and much, much more and yet we still have those who believe, and would impose that belief, that the writings of bronze age tribesmen in the middle east is the final authority on how we all must live.

Before I go any further, there is something you must understand. I am an atheist. I don’t believe in anything supernatural. No gods, ghosts, sprits, angels, devils, demons or any of the characters from any of the mythologies of the world, both past and present. This was not always the case. I was, at one time, a fundamentalist christian. I was raised to be a christian from the first day I was born. I was sent to a fundamentalist christian school for grade 5 through 8. I was an avid participant in the youth group at the church my family went to and I was sent to a lutheran summer camp two weeks a summer for years. I was able to quote chapter and verse of the new testament of the christian bible. I was an acolyte at church and at one time considered going into the ministry. But something happened. I grew up. I began to see that the church and its people were lying to me. My christian teachers were lying to me. My minister was lying to me. At first it was little white lies, the kind you tell children so they’ll sleep. For example, I was told that animals like lions and tigers and bears didn’t eat people because people tasted and that god had made them taste bad so that the “lower creatures” wouldn’t eat them. At first this might sound like a harmless ditty that someone told a child, but I was told that in a biology class in sixth grade. Imagine my horror at being laughed at in eighth grade biology when I presented that fact to my then teacher in front of the whole class. Then the scope of the lies became broader and more sinister. I was told that since christians believed in only one god that anywhere a christian went he would find friends based on that assumption. (Try doing that in todays middle east alone and see what happens.) Then they tried to foist the biggest lie of them all, in a nutshell: Religion was the only path to peace. They would say this over and over again and in the very next breath sing “Onward christian soldiers.....”. They saw, and still see, no contradiction in this.

So as time went on, I was unable to reconcile the reality of what I saw with what I was taught both as a child and as an adult. So, I rejected religion. It was a personally scary thing to do. To go against basically everything you were taught as a child, everything your parents wanted you to espouse and everything your community held in high esteem. I no longer had an invisible man in the sky who, or whose angels, was watching over me and was concerned for my welfare. I was without the endorsement of family, friends and the social network that the church provided. I was on my own. I had to embrace the fact that there is nothing but the natural world and we are a part of it. It is vast and we are small. It is indifferent to our existence and the space we occupy is an insignificant part of it.

So, back to the movie. What these children were being taught was not religion, it was politics. They were not being taught the stories of judeo-christian mythology and what those allegories mean. They are being indoctrinated in things that are false. They were being taught that there is “us and them” and that “they” are evil and there is a war being fought by “them” against “us”. They are being taught that they will be the generation that “brings jesus back”. They are being taught that the country was founded on “christian principals” and that science is their enemy (All of this being presented on Power Point presentations displayed on plasma screens and run by the latest generation of computers. The very products of that science.) They are being taught what the mythological text says rather than being taught to read it for themselves. They are being taught that they must rule over the world and do so by the dictates of their religion. ( How is a christian taliban any different from an islamic one?) They are being taught the universe was created in six days and that everything in it is as it was in the beginning.

It would be easy to dismiss this movie as a portrait of one small pocket of madness, but the camp in this movie is one of many and their movement is growing. Growing too is the threat. That’s right, the threat. This movement threatens not only the vanishingly small proportion of atheist, agnostics and other non-believers, but the population at large as well. This movement threatens freedoms of all types. They want your freedom to worship, when, where, how, who and if to be gone. They want to restrict the freedom of scientists to work only on things that are not in conflict with how they see their religion sees the world. They want to arm the government with the power of religion (This one is, to me the most scary.). They want all freedom to choose when and if to have children removed. They want your tax money to be paid to the church (Although they don’t say which one, they mean the one that they as an individual go to.). All of this is right there in the movie. From the comments made by the parents to the content of the lectures by both the main preacher and her guests (I assume they were guests) and the others that these children were exposed to.

Where is the outrage? If this were any other religion than evangelical christianity, the phones at child protective services would have been ringing off the hook. Agents and social workers would have descended on the camp as if it were a the lair of a secret society of pedophiles. There would have been a laundry list of charges that would stretch a mile long. But because it is evangelical christianity, it gets a free pass. Why?

Why does religion get a free pass from critical review?

Why is religion allowed to misinform children and suffer no consequences?

Why does religion consider science a threat, yet uses the products of science to further its agenda?

Why is there no spotlight on these issues?


If what you have read here has offended you or your religious beliefs, you need to examine why. If you think I need to be schooled in religion, consider that I was once one of you.

“...When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." [Stephen F. Roberts]

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Hi. Yeah, that's pretty

Hi. Yeah, that's pretty fucked up. We've been talking about this movie a while now, but your the first who's been here that's actually seen the entire movie. Most of us here are atheists, too.

Matt Shizzle has been banned from the Rational Response Squad website. This event shall provide an atmosphere more conducive to social growth. - Majority of the mod team

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Well written Tink, your post

Well written Tink, your post is being featured on our home page now.

Here is a thread in which we were discussing the movie already.

The Jesus Camp movie is a perfect example of why we're here.

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