Jesus Camp demonstrates a lot of truth about the religious vs. anti-religious debate. Since this documentary depicts the lifestyle of religious people, it gives a glimpse into the dangers of buying into religion. Jesus Camp also demonstrates some of the myths that religious nay-sayers buy into without realizing it.
Like most people in the world, Jesus Camp's producers would like to think they're the only objective thinkers in the world. But this is impossible. Here's a shocking truth: No regular human being has ever been able to think with flawless objectivity. Yes that includes you, whether or not you call yourself "religious." It is healthy as well as realistic to acknowledge this. Here, I'll go on record acknowledging this myself: "I, Patrick Roberts, am not objective. Everything I think, say and write is affected by my worldview." There... now can you say this?
Jesus Camp makes two very subjective statements:
1.) Christian parents in America are evil because they train their children to think like they do.
2.) Americans will be free and prosperous to the extent that the U.S. government is unaffected by overtly Christian values.
Keep in mind that there is a good way to be unreasonably subjective. For example, only unreasonable subjective people would sacrifice themselves for the good of others. Also, it takes an unreasonable person to speak out against wrongdoing or to resist the average mob-mentality. The highest quality people in mankind's history have been those who have held onto a few, basic principles that people nowadays would consider "subjective."
Some of the review-snippets from the front of my Jesus Camp DVD are: "Riveting" (the Washington Post), "Provocative" (Chicago Tribune), "Eye-opening" (USA Today) and "Startling" (New York Times). Without looking at the rest of whatever these well-to-do publications wrote about Jesus Camp, my first impression is that these people must be really gullible. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that Jesus Camp only includes material that complements a mainstream interpretation of Christian-Pentecostal subculture (back to that that objective vs. subjective issue).
It is hard for me to take Jesus Camp seriously is because the kids in that movie don't seem that bad. They all appear to be well-spoken, well-behaved and they seem to think a lot more than the average young person. For example, their parents teach them why creationism makes sense and why abortion is bad. As far as I can tell, they have a lot more going for them than the average over-privileged-video-gaming-consumer zombie or underprivileged-gun-toting gangster.
These children, who were so unfortunately born into Christian families, seem to enjoy a high quality of life back at home... I couldn't help wondering, "So what's the problem?" These parents are amazingly dedicated to raising their kids the best way they know how... so what are the makers of Jesus Camp complaining about?
The movie would like to make the statement that Christian parents are brainwashing their children into thinking that abortion is bad, the ozone layer isn't such a big deal and that the Republican party is synonymous with Christianity. I didn't hear anyone in the movie mention the Republican party, but I guess any of these things might come up over dinner, right?
The makers of Jesus Camp seemed to think it scandalous that the values of these parents are rubbing off on their children. My reaction to this observation is: Duh! This will happen regardless of whether parents are religious or anti-religious. Thus, it is vital that parents check themselves and make sure their quality of life is something they want to pass on to their children.
It's no accident, for example, that the offspring of divorced parents are more likely to sleep around whenever they feel like it and carry around a skewed self-image. Then again, parents who stick together will bless their children with a healthier self-image.
This is why I was impressed with the parents in Jesus Camp... they are making a deliberate effort to raise their kids. The world would be a better place if more parents acknowledged the fact that who they are will rub off on who their children grow up to be.
According to Jesus Camp, buying into manmade religion is also dangerous. While this is old news, false religion continues to proliferate because it is more subtle than most people realize. For example, there are many who religiously avoid religion.
Religious-think is dangerous because it depends on men, who are undependable. The most dangerous aspect of manmade religion is: It tricks people into thinking they've taken care of business with God while, in reality, the opposite is true.
I mentioned that there has never been a regular human being who could think objectively. However, if there was a Man who was not entirely regular, who lived without sin, for example, and could therefore think and speak apart from all that hinders an average person's judgement, such a Man would only have to speak His mind to express absolute, objective truth. If there was such a Man, we should listen to Him as He would be the greatest Source of authoritative, dependable Guidance we could ever ask for.