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Jesus Camp…for Atheists
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Posted 9/10/09
Jesus Camp is a film documenting the bizarre activities at a fundamentalist and hyper conservative Christian evangelical summer getaway for children of the same name. The film was first introduce to me by Yei and it can be viewed on youtube in nine separate parts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujS6URPcSUc

This is one of the few documentaries I have some respect for. While it’s possible there was a slant in the material selected for the video in order to make it entertaining I did not detect a hidden agenda. So, unlike Sicko, Bowling for Columbine, or Loose Change it wasn’t so much a matter of political activism and propaganda as a generally objective attempt to be informative.

In fact they even went so far as to pull their video from the Traverse City Film Festival because of Moore’s association with the festival. Apparent the directors


were simply trying to create an 'objective' film about children and faith ring hollow. I don't question the motives of the Christians shown in the film. Indeed, the earnestness and zeal with which the young people pictured attempt to live out their faith are admirable. Unfortunately, however, it appears that they were unknowingly being manipulated by the directors in their effort to cast evangelical Christianity in an unflattering light


I recommend the video for everybody. It was in fact a good source of infotainment and you don’t have to worry about it pushing an agenda. I think that’s a fair assessment of the video, you may disagree. Whatever the case the point is that while I wouldn’t call it the most scholarly work in the world I still have a generally positive opinion where Jesus Camp (the documentary,) is concerned.

Anyway, the actual camp was closed down shortly after the documentary because Evangelicals felt that it wasn’t sending the proper message to their child, other Christians, and people of various belief systems. So, basically they got some bad publicity and bailed out on something that, no doubt, they would’ve been completely fine with otherwise.

Yet, as camps like these are closing down due to negative attention atheists camps (an odd phenomenon,) with the same intention are popping up all over the world.

Camp Quest, for example, has managed to literally cross the United States. Although its sites are more tightly packed along the east Camp Quest has reached as far as California and the western coast. Now, to be fair to the camp I don’t think that it’s any worse than the real life Jesus Camp. In fact, I think it’s considerably more moderate.

Really, the idea behind the camp seems to be to teach children to think for themselves and be open minded. So, at first glance it appears to be less an atheist camp and more a “Free Thinking Camp.” Which is great, as a mystic Christian I think individualism is incredibly important.

Yet, designing games for the purpose of mocking and satirizing faith based perspective usually serves to close children’s minds against religion, not open their mind towards other ‘belief systems.’ (I understand that atheism isn’t a belief system. But, a wise man once said that calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color. I think he was right. It’s technically incorrect but serves all the practical purposes. On a driver’s license, if you’re bald, they put bald under the hair color category.)

I’ll give you an example of one of these games at Camp Quest. They enjoy an “Invisible Unicorn Hunt,” in which they search for two imaginary unicorns that live on the camp. You cannot see them, hear them, smell them, touch them, taste them, or interact with them in any way. But people say that they exist and if you can prove them wrong you win a “Godless,” $100 bill. (The actual bills are from before “In God We Trust,” was printed on the US dollar.)

Now, again, there are extremist Christian and Muslim even Buddhist groups all over the world too. So, it’s not like this is a unique crime. Yet, we’ve got documentaries all over these things revealing their aggressive methods of ‘brainwashing,’ children to the world. Yet, here we have Camp Quest imbuing young boys and girl with an aggressive form of atheism and nobody’s bothered by that. I mean, if Jesus Camp had gathered its children to participate in activities slandering atheists then everybody would be all up in arms and irritated.

And speaking of getting up to arms, Richard Dawkins has called atheists to take up arms against religion and launch a campaign to eradicate faith based perspectives. Now, when I first came across Richard it was through his “The Selfish Gene.” I was introduced do it via Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist who happens to be agnostic, and his book, “God and the New Physics.”

On one of the pages Paul Davies quotes “The Selfish Gene,” and this particular citation impressed me to no end. So I rushed over and picked it up, and I seriously, seriously respect Richard Dawkins as a professional evolutionary biologist. However, when he ventures into other fields I think he crosses the boundaries of being objective and informative and becomes more of an activist.

As I’ve said before my least favorite book of his is “The God Delusion.” Now, this isn’t just because I’m a Christian. In fact I can go out and find a number of famous atheists, many of whom agree with the points of the book, who have all said the exact same thing that I’m about to. In fact, in an interview on a British talk show Richard admitted to the allegations and defended them.

First, in his book he writes that his hope with “The God Delusion,” is that whoever picks the book up will become an atheist for life. He argues that religion and religious people should not be respected for their beliefs, but quite the opposite. And in fact the atheist critics I mentioned before agree with me in saying that he lets his hatred of religion pull him away from objectivity and leads him to grossly exaggerate.

Now, again, this isn’t me and I will pull up names and (if I can find them again,) quotes. Richard even acknowledges these, and hopefully later I’ll be able to post the interview I mentioned too. For now, I’d like to get back on topic.

Richard Dawkins’ now promises that if you give him a child for the summer he’ll return an atheist for life with his Richard Dawkins Kids Camp. While they do enjoy typical camp activities such as tug of war Richard also employs the same opinion twisting tactics of camp quest to close children’s minds to faith based perspectives. They sing popular campfire songs while replacing the lyrics with words like, “Imagine there’s no god, no religion too!” They play many of the same games, including the imaginary unicorn hunt, but Richard goes even further. He gives children lessons from famous militant atheists and teaches them to “arm themselves against” Christian beliefs.

So Camp Quest comes around and they laugh at Christians but then they step aside and they say, “Okay, we’ve had our fun. But seriously, you should consider what these people believe and make the decision for yourself.”

While perhaps untactful and counter-productive at least they’re telling kids to be open minded. I think they deserve credit for this, and I’m sure you guys will agree religious or otherwise? Drizza, Diggs you guys are religious? You agree with me here, right? Okay, fine.

But Richard goes a step further than them and tells children that it’s us and them, and you have to fight their beliefs. He doesn’t teach them to think for themselves and be open minded but rather to close their mind to religion and blindly attack it.

Now, there are plenty of religious groups just as militant and aggressive. But for me I think that neither side should be treated with privilege and that one way or the other we shouldn’t accept militant beliefs being instilled in our children. I think this is counter-productive and potentially dangerous. It divides people more distinctly than even before and even pints them against one another. Yet, we only pay negative attention to extremist religion…while extremist anti-Religion is overlooked or viewed ina positive light.
Yei
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Posted 9/10/09 , edited 9/10/09
Richard Dawkins is like Bill Maher, they're atheists who are just as ignorant and arrogant as the people they make fun of. It seems like the camp is deliberately trying to copy extremes like Jesus Camp. Except Jesus Camp has alot of political brainwashing too.

btw, have you watched Deliver us from Evil yet? If there's any really important documentary I think everyone should see, it's that one.
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Posted 9/10/09

Yei wrote:

Richard Dawkins is like Bill Maher, they're atheists who are just as ignorant and arrogant as the people they make fun of. It seems like the camp is deliberately trying to copy extremes like Jesus Camp. Except Jesus Camp has alot of political brainwashing too.

btw, have you watched Deliver us from Evil yet? If there's any really important documentary I think everyone should see, it's that one.


You know I never used to believe that. I’ve always respected Richard Dawkins. I thought that the only reason people called him arrogant is because he spoke on behalf of science. When he said “there’s no scientific evidence of God,” people said, “well that’s your perspective,” but of course it’s not a perspective. It’s a fact. A scientific fact. And sadly, when speaking on behalf of science, you must talk in black and white terms. That comes off as arrogant. So when I say to a creationist: “Evolution exists,” that may sound arrogant because I’m saying, “I’m right and you’re wrong.” But that’s just a fact, you know?

I thought Richard Dawkins got the same sort of thing. Then when I picked up “The God Delusion,” I was so disappointed. He really comes out and starts saying, “God is an ignorant, racist, homophobe. He’s evil and so are religious people. You shouldn’t respect religion. Religion is evil because it brainwashes children.”

But, I thought: “Well, that’s what sells. He’s just trying to make a book people will buy.”

And then I saw these interviews and, frankly, I agree with you.

I haven’t seen the video, might some time.
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Posted 9/11/09
I didn't even read it all. Jesus camp for atheists? What a waste of time and money.
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Posted 9/11/09

openmindedatheist wrote:

I didn't even read it all. Jesus camp for atheists? What a waste of time and money.


Jesus Camp is an evangelical Christian summer camp that teaches children to be zealous, militant Christians. It was exposed by a documentary and shut down because people were outraged at the bizarre activities taking place. Everybody was alarmed because the teachers there were being hyper aggressive and teaching children to be narrow minded against things like liberalism, anything labeled “witchcraft,” and stuff like atheism.

Richard Dawkins Kids Camp teaches children to be zealous, militant atheists and ‘arm themselves,’ against religion. There’s been no exposing, no documentary, and no public alarm but he’s actually more extreme than the evangelicals. Because while the evangelicals are teaching children who are already evangelical and extremist, Richard has vowed to take normal children and TURN them into militant atheists.


That's the whole point. I put in Camp Quest because it's a more moderate version of atheist camp and I wanted to kind of balance things out.
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Posted 9/12/09
I think the atheists camps may be bad.... even though they say to be "open-minded" they are still shoving a hatred of religion down their throats. I am skeptical about what they would say if one of the children open-mindedly chose religion over atheism at one of these camps and told their counselors. Asking them to be "open-minded" may be an invitation to say "consider what we are telling you and believe it, open your mind to our ideas and accept them."
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Posted 9/12/09

SeraphAlford wrote:

Jesus Camp is a film documenting the bizarre activities at a fundamentalist and hyper conservative Christian evangelical summer getaway for children of the same name. The film was first introduce to me by Yei and it can be viewed on youtube in nine separate parts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujS6URPcSUc

This is one of the few documentaries I have some respect for. While it’s possible there was a slant in the material selected for the video in order to make it entertaining I did not detect a hidden agenda. So, unlike Sicko, Bowling for Columbine, or Loose Change it wasn’t so much a matter of political activism and propaganda as a generally objective attempt to be informative.

In fact they even went so far as to pull their video from the Traverse City Film Festival because of Moore’s association with the festival. Apparent the directors


were simply trying to create an 'objective' film about children and faith ring hollow. I don't question the motives of the Christians shown in the film. Indeed, the earnestness and zeal with which the young people pictured attempt to live out their faith are admirable. Unfortunately, however, it appears that they were unknowingly being manipulated by the directors in their effort to cast evangelical Christianity in an unflattering light


I recommend the video for everybody. It was in fact a good source of infotainment and you don’t have to worry about it pushing an agenda. I think that’s a fair assessment of the video, you may disagree. Whatever the case the point is that while I wouldn’t call it the most scholarly work in the world I still have a generally positive opinion where Jesus Camp (the documentary,) is concerned.

Anyway, the actual camp was closed down shortly after the documentary because Evangelicals felt that it wasn’t sending the proper message to their child, other Christians, and people of various belief systems. So, basically they got some bad publicity and bailed out on something that, no doubt, they would’ve been completely fine with otherwise.

Yet, as camps like these are closing down due to negative attention atheists camps (an odd phenomenon,) with the same intention are popping up all over the world.

Camp Quest, for example, has managed to literally cross the United States. Although its sites are more tightly packed along the east Camp Quest has reached as far as California and the western coast. Now, to be fair to the camp I don’t think that it’s any worse than the real life Jesus Camp. In fact, I think it’s considerably more moderate.

Really, the idea behind the camp seems to be to teach children to think for themselves and be open minded. So, at first glance it appears to be less an atheist camp and more a “Free Thinking Camp.” Which is great, as a mystic Christian I think individualism is incredibly important.

Yet, designing games for the purpose of mocking and satirizing faith based perspective usually serves to close children’s minds against religion, not open their mind towards other ‘belief systems.’ (I understand that atheism isn’t a belief system. But, a wise man once said that calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color. I think he was right. It’s technically incorrect but serves all the practical purposes. On a driver’s license, if you’re bald, they put bald under the hair color category.)

I’ll give you an example of one of these games at Camp Quest. They enjoy an “Invisible Unicorn Hunt,” in which they search for two imaginary unicorns that live on the camp. You cannot see them, hear them, smell them, touch them, taste them, or interact with them in any way. But people say that they exist and if you can prove them wrong you win a “Godless,” $100 bill. (The actual bills are from before “In God We Trust,” was printed on the US dollar.)

Now, again, there are extremist Christian and Muslim even Buddhist groups all over the world too. So, it’s not like this is a unique crime. Yet, we’ve got documentaries all over these things revealing their aggressive methods of ‘brainwashing,’ children to the world. Yet, here we have Camp Quest imbuing young boys and girl with an aggressive form of atheism and nobody’s bothered by that. I mean, if Jesus Camp had gathered its children to participate in activities slandering atheists then everybody would be all up in arms and irritated.

And speaking of getting up to arms, Richard Dawkins has called atheists to take up arms against religion and launch a campaign to eradicate faith based perspectives. Now, when I first came across Richard it was through his “The Selfish Gene.” I was introduced do it via Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist who happens to be agnostic, and his book, “God and the New Physics.”

On one of the pages Paul Davies quotes “The Selfish Gene,” and this particular citation impressed me to no end. So I rushed over and picked it up, and I seriously, seriously respect Richard Dawkins as a professional evolutionary biologist. However, when he ventures into other fields I think he crosses the boundaries of being objective and informative and becomes more of an activist.

As I’ve said before my least favorite book of his is “The God Delusion.” Now, this isn’t just because I’m a Christian. In fact I can go out and find a number of famous atheists, many of whom agree with the points of the book, who have all said the exact same thing that I’m about to. In fact, in an interview on a British talk show Richard admitted to the allegations and defended them.

First, in his book he writes that his hope with “The God Delusion,” is that whoever picks the book up will become an atheist for life. He argues that religion and religious people should not be respected for their beliefs, but quite the opposite. And in fact the atheist critics I mentioned before agree with me in saying that he lets his hatred of religion pull him away from objectivity and leads him to grossly exaggerate.

Now, again, this isn’t me and I will pull up names and (if I can find them again,) quotes. Richard even acknowledges these, and hopefully later I’ll be able to post the interview I mentioned too. For now, I’d like to get back on topic.

Richard Dawkins’ now promises that if you give him a child for the summer he’ll return an atheist for life with his Richard Dawkins Kids Camp. While they do enjoy typical camp activities such as tug of war Richard also employs the same opinion twisting tactics of camp quest to close children’s minds to faith based perspectives. They sing popular campfire songs while replacing the lyrics with words like, “Imagine there’s no god, no religion too!” They play many of the same games, including the imaginary unicorn hunt, but Richard goes even further. He gives children lessons from famous militant atheists and teaches them to “arm themselves against” Christian beliefs.

So Camp Quest comes around and they laugh at Christians but then they step aside and they say, “Okay, we’ve had our fun. But seriously, you should consider what these people believe and make the decision for yourself.”

While perhaps untactful and counter-productive at least they’re telling kids to be open minded. I think they deserve credit for this, and I’m sure you guys will agree religious or otherwise? Drizza, Diggs you guys are religious? You agree with me here, right? Okay, fine.

But Richard goes a step further than them and tells children that it’s us and them, and you have to fight their beliefs. He doesn’t teach them to think for themselves and be open minded but rather to close their mind to religion and blindly attack it.

Now, there are plenty of religious groups just as militant and aggressive. But for me I think that neither side should be treated with privilege and that one way or the other we shouldn’t accept militant beliefs being instilled in our children. I think this is counter-productive and potentially dangerous. It divides people more distinctly than even before and even pints them against one another. Yet, we only pay negative attention to extremist religion…while extremist anti-Religion is overlooked or viewed ina positive light.


1st of all athiesism can be a religion, depending on the type of athiesism you are talking about. religion its self is hard to define, so any "idea" treated in a aggressive-"im a right yur wrong" way can be considered a religion. even science (though this happens rarely).

But for me I think that neither side should be treated with privilege and that one way or the other we shouldn’t accept militant beliefs being instilled in our children. I think this is counter-productive and potentially dangerous. It divides people more distinctly than even before and even pints them against one another

your half right, it is "counter-productive and potentially dangerous", but accpeting such beliefs is part of human nature.it goes back to our need to label everything and everyone below us.

We do the same type of crap in highschool, as they try to mold our children into being "good citizens". Telling them how great the USA is and how perfect we are, and blah blah blah.We alienate our kids from other cultures WITHIN the USA, which is why some black kids from black nieghborhoods have a hard time getting along with other kids of different backgrounds- and vise versa. The media does the same type of crap, its just as forceful, believable, and effective as any man preaching about his beliefs to a bunch of children.

but this is the way it has to be. Its not as bad as it sounds, you cant have a country if the core beliefs of the culture isnt passed down.you cant have a working country if everyone tries to think for themselves.A huge number of individuals cannot form an allied country.

You have to keep the masses from thinking to hard or your secrets might become exposed.Whenever people share a land, it must be done as a team, and there is no "i" in team. And there is no "team" in individual.

its like how a master knows how to keep his human slave- a slave. The slave is happy and content if it doesnt know what a slave is. The moment it finds out, it will never be happy and content again, and the whole system falls apart shorty after that.

the same thing goes for a country. "war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength"- 1984 George Owell

peace over war



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Posted 9/18/09
Its closed.. But yea the fat lady was crazy. For me it was kind of mental torture. They all should be in jail. Brainwashing ur kids that soon?
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Posted 9/20/09 , edited 9/20/09
It maybe because of my upbringing but as far as I can see the two types of camp are coming from the same idea creating foot soldiers for their respective points of view. Now if parents wish - as many do - to bring up their children in accordance with their own beliefs then that's fine ( I attended Sunday School) but it's important to be teaching respect for other beliefs even if you personally feel they're wrong.
That's where I disagree with what is being taught.
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Posted 9/20/09
Christians are brainwashing
Atheists are brainwashing
Muslims are brainwashing
The Government is brainwashing

Let's just admit it: there's no such thing as free thought. Anything you think you think you only think because someone brainwashed you to think like it. At least atheism is a lesser evil than religion.
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Posted 9/20/09

miyamotofan wrote:

Christians are brainwashing
Atheists are brainwashing
Muslims are brainwashing
The Government is brainwashing

Let's just admit it: there's no such thing as free thought. Anything you think you think you only think because someone brainwashed you to think like it. At least atheism is a lesser evil than religion.


. . . . . . . . . . ?

Just as you were brainwashed to believe atheism is the lesser evil?

That doesn't make any sense.
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Posted 9/20/09

Maybin wrote:


miyamotofan wrote:

Christians are brainwashing
Atheists are brainwashing
Muslims are brainwashing
The Government is brainwashing

Let's just admit it: there's no such thing as free thought. Anything you think you think you only think because someone brainwashed you to think like it. At least atheism is a lesser evil than religion.


. . . . . . . . . . ?

Just as you were brainwashed to believe atheism is the lesser evil?

That doesn't make any sense.


Yeah, basically. At this point, I've been brainwashed to believe that no one has any Independent thought and everyone is brainwashed. Just as you've been brainwashed to think contrary.

The problem is, brainwashing is nay impossible to reverse or change, so there's little to no point to try and convince an adult of anything that is outside the range of their own brainwashing.

My reasoning behind atheism being the lesser evil is that it simply doesn't stand in the way of science, which cures illness and promotes longevity. But again, that's just what I've been brainwashed to think, and I'm sure you've been brainwashed to think something else, so any discussion is more or less pointless.
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Posted 9/20/09 , edited 9/20/09

miyamotofan wrote:

Yeah, basically. At this point, I've been brainwashed to believe that no one has any Independent thought and everyone is brainwashed. Just as you've been brainwashed to think contrary.

The problem is, brainwashing is nay impossible to reverse or change, so there's little to no point to try and convince an adult of anything that is outside the range of their own brainwashing.
Your thoughts are just that, your thoughts. If you were helped, supported, or given thoughts from another to help your own that is not being brainwashed. For being brainwashed is to be forcefully indoctrined ideas. Force. I can disagree with you not because I was "brainwashed" but through my on conscience I can tell you I was not forced to believe what I know. By your reasoning, reasoning would be pointless because no one can think for themselves. I call those people idiots.

My reasoning behind atheism being the lesser evil is that it simply doesn't stand in the way of science, which cures illness and promotes longevity.
This I can agree with.
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Posted 9/20/09

miyamotofan wrote:

My reasoning behind atheism being the lesser evil is that it simply doesn't stand in the way of science, which cures illness and promotes longevity.


I think it depends on the "brand" of atheism in question. If it's atheism in the sense of someone happening to not believe in any God/gods and focussing on science, I can see your point. With the militant, Dawkins-type atheism, however, it's heading towards religious-style dogma, which leads to closed minds, and will ultimately hold back science.

Also, religious beliefs don't necessarily hold back science. The dogmatic fanatics do, but there are a lot of people out there who believe in God and who are open to scientific evidence (eg. Christians who accept evolution.)

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Posted 9/20/09

Maybin wrote:

Your thoughts are just that, your thoughts. If you were helped, supported, or given thoughts from another to help your own that is not being brainwashed. For being brainwashed is to be forcefully indoctrined ideas. Force. I can disagree with you not because I was "brainwashed" but through my on conscience I can tell you I was not forced to believe what I know. By your reasoning, reasoning would be pointless because no one can think for themselves. I call those people idiots.



But again, how can really be sure anything you're thinking has not been drilled into you by indoctrination. That's the thing about being indoctrinated is that indoctrinated people don't know they're indoctrinated.

The only way to have someone not be totally brainwashed by early ideas would be to raise them with no human contact or access to any outside ideas. I believe the closest thing to that would be the "feral Children" you hear about.

Lastly, reasoning is not pointless as it can be used to help people resolve things within their own brainwashing, which may sound a little absurd. For example, I have been brainwashed to think that I need food to live. If I start to question this (which I would only do because I have been brainwashed into thinking that questioning things is an important way to learn) I would use reasoning to figure out if I did or did not in fact need food to live.
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