Last night, I watched the documentary Jesus Camp. I was told by multiple people that it was very difficult to watch–and it was. I was surfing the web about the movie this morning and read the site by the people who ran the church. They said they didn’t understand why it had a PG-13 rating or understand why it made people uncomfortable. I’m sure many people have written long in-depth reviews and criticisms of the movie. That’s not my goal here, nor do I think I have enough words. I haven’t even fully digested a lot of the movie–I need to think on it for a while. But I do want to say a few of many reasons it made me uncomfortable.
Starting with a mother who said that she felt her children were on loan to her from god. I don’t have children, but I can’t imagine telling them that they were anyone’s but mine. I can’t imagine telling them that someone loved them more than I did.
Then, these parents send their children to this camp, to worship a god who they claim will love them unconditionally no matter what, and give them this so called gift of grace. But in order to get this love, these children have to “give up everything” and be willing to “lay down their life” for god. Well these fluffy words are just a nice way of saying god loves you even though you are a piece of shit. And you better believe that you are a worthless piece of shit because you were born a bad person, even though your god has a special plan for you. But once you start believing in god you’re not a piece of shit anymore, so isn’t that a really nice gift??? These children are laying on the ground crying about what awful people they are, and this is the parents idea of character building. It is just disgusting to me.
When I was first becoming an atheist, I wasn’t sure how I felt about not telling my future kids things like, Jesus loves you. But now I am perfectly okay with it. It starts as something cute and nice but turns into a toxic disease. I’d much rather my children learn to appreciate their family, the days they have, and love themselves for who they are. If I send my kids to camp, it will be the kind where they work on team work and go canoeing and rock climbing and tell ghost stories. Not where they grow a relationship with a passive aggressive god who demands them to leave everything behind.