I just got back from seeing jesus camp, One of the more disturbing films I have seen. The film focuses on one family of evangelical Christians, homeschoolers raising their kids as fundamentalist Christians. The films folows the family to two children’s gatherings where kids are told that they are the most important generation to walk the face of the earth, music and powerful tones of voice bring kids to tears and after guilt tripping them into believing they aren’t good enough the kids end up bawling there eyes out, fitting on the floor and praying in tongues. Seeing a 6 year old arms outstretched with the deranged look of a apocalyptic preacher is seriously disturbing. I think most of the audience was shocked by the film, whilst it was amusing in parts (praying for a cardboard cut out of George Bush springs to mind) overall the film was deeply chilling.
The film was particularly fascinating for me as with due to my Christian upbringing I could identify word for word with much of the film. The purposeful emotional manipulation of children the film captures is breathtaking. The effectiveness with which the Christians are able to work people up and close their minds makes this an absolute must see, particularly for those of us who oppose the right wing patriarchal values Christianity has come to represent.
I think the resurgence of fundamentalist churches in New Zealand and abroad reflects the profound sense of meaninglessness our culture has creates. In religion people are finding the sense of purpose belonging and belief which is absent from consumerism and the split family unit. As we face the threats posed by an energy descent and catabolic collapse I would expect more and more people to turn to the church. When people spend their lives working jobs they hate spending evenings huddled round blue flickering screens its no wonder they turn to fundamentalist beliefs for meaning and the support many other cultures had from birth.
Heres a few clips from Youtube