Jesus Camp

Just finished a week at the Traverse City flim festival, and also finished with my current class. Grades are entered and life is good. I can’t help making connections between one of my students and one of the movies I saw, “Jesus Camp”.

“Jesus Camp” chronicles a group of kids who attend an evangelical camp which trains them up for the world of fringe religious activism. What I took away from the film is the overwhelming sense of fear which permeates the evangelicals. They are afraid of the world, essentially, and look for Satan in every mishap, including botched PowerPoint presentations. Most of them are home schooled, and the film showed parents going out of their way to teach that evolution is wrong and global warming is a hoax. So… the message is, fear and denial.

I had a student in my recent class who is a preacher in a backwoods church. Bright guy, a walking concordance of biblical quotes. Trouble is, he approaches learning that way too, piecemeal. His only reason for learning anything about other religious and philosophical traditions was so that he could pick out key quotes to show their inconsistencies. He also used every opportunity in the discussion board to “testify” and generally bring everything back to his own belief system. So… far from being open to the world and open to new ideas, his whole purpose in learning was to pick up information which would butress his own views. Shocking, and sad.

Fear will do that.

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