Wednesday, September 27, 2006

WWJB: Who Would Jesus Brainwash?

So right before I was about to rush out the door to yet another unfulfilling day at the office, Diane Sawyer of Good Morning America stated that they were going to discuss a new documentary that is already playing in the so-called "heartland" of the United States: Jesus Camp.

The name gives me awful flashbacks of Camp Logos, but I digress.

They talked briefly about how this was not brainwashing, as a popular North Dakota radio personality had suggested, but the honest, true-to-life living faith of these 6 to 9 year olds at Jesus camp, weeping over the nations' sins, blessing and praying over a life-size cardboard cut-out of Shrubya, speaking in tongues and crying tears of joy while praising the name of Jesus...

And we could sit here and discuss till we were blue in the face about whether or not these children believe their professions or were manipulated, but no one will ever know the heart of these children. But what we can discuss is: What constitutes "brainwashing," and what constitutes "teaching"?

From Websters:
  1. Brainwash: 1: a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas
    2: persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship
  2. Teach: 1(a): to cause to know something (b): to cause to know how (c): to accustom to some action or attitude (teach students to think for themselves) 2: to guide the studies of 3: to impart the knowledge of 4(a): to instruct by precept, example, or experience (b): to make known and accepted 5: to conduct instruction regularly in
  3. Propaganda: 1: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person 2: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect
Can you see the difference? One is a forcible teaching, or more extreme form, if you will. It's not simply saying, "This is how one walks" or "This is how one reads." Brainwashing is "This is what one reads and believes" and "This is what you say." Teaching gives reasoning, logic, a foundation with which to take and use. When we teach 2 + 2 = 4, we then teach that child that this isn't the end-all be-all of mathematics. It grows and expounds beyond to greater heights, bigger numbers. What brainwashing says is 2 + 2 = 4, and that's it. Don't ask why. Don't ask what is beyond. "4" is the end result, the means and end. Don't ask why, just make sure you believe it, and then tell everyone else. And propaganda says "You like it that 2 + 2 = 4. It makes you feel complete."

Now, Christian fundamentalists certainly don't have a corner on the market of brainwashing, I think we all know that. And it certainly isn't limited to a religious experience. But does your average, run-of-the-mill person engage in brainwashing? Or is the average run-of-the-mill person a victim of it? And how does propaganda fit into the big picture?

Propaganda is, of course, the best way to brainwash. Repeatedly telling someone over and over again that something is the truth has been proven over and over again to be the way to go if you want to persuade someone (or a group). In fact, we all know that children are extremely susceptible to propaganda (see here & here), whether from parents, teachers, or other adult role models. When Diane Sawyer asked, "You ask for children to be 6 to 9 years old, yes?", Pastor Becky replied, "Under thirteen, preferably between seven and nine." I wonder why that is?

Now, I was never brainwashed as a child. I was taught about Jesus, his love, and all the wonderful stories that went with it. I was sent to a bible camp for three summers, along with all my other brothers and sisters, but it was nothing like Pastor Becky's little Propaganda Paradise. We built model rockets; played capture the flag; had bonfires; and prayed before we ate, and there was a devotional or two. Becky's got them crying, weeping, speaking in tongues, horrified about abortions and gay marriage... One wonders why Becky doesn't teach these kids to care for the homeless, the terminally ill, and the poor (you know, what Jesus did when he was on Earth) instead of trying to "take back America." Did Jesus ever try to "take back Jerusalem" from the Romans? You know, the empire that would shortly be feeding his followers (okay, technically Paul's followers) to the lions and crucifying him on a cross? No. He actually said render to Caesar what is Caesars, and love god and everyone else. Even Paul never advocated "taking over" anything (and we all know my thoughts about him) but just said to pray for your leaders... That's sounds pretty pacifistic to me... Onward Christian Soldiers my ass...

When you take children at prime propaganda age and slam their young minds with "Fight for Jesus," that is propaganda. It isn't simply saying, "This is what we think Jesus would want." They are saying "This is what Jesus wants and you must do it."

Now, of course dear sweet Becky is saying that's hogwash, they aren't using propaganda! From her GMA interview: "People think kids are going to grow up in some kind of ideological vacuum and then when they're 12 years old we can present them with these heavy ideas and they can make a choice. That's ludicrous. They are bombarded on every side from TV to the music they listen to, to the books they read--all types of ideas from witchcraft to evolution to morality. To say we shouldn't say anything to them because they can't understand it?"

Yeah, I bet their really bombarded at Jesus Camp with the evil Harry Potter and his Minions of Devilry...

I remember when I was at bible college, I had to take a course on psychology. You want to take a guess on what the textbook for the course was in 1995? Why Christians Can't Trust Psychology. (You can buy it at here.) And the books I had to read to take piano lessons? Music in the Balance and The Ministry of Music. (At here and here; and while their titles may not sound as scary as the first, they're just as fundie...) Perhaps this is why I could only transfer three credits from the 36 I accumulated?

Regardless, while my parents, conservative as they were, did not engage in brainwashing, they did teach us about the bible and what it had to say. But Pastor Becky? She's a brainwasher, plain and simple... From her web site:

The purpose of Kids In Ministry International is to impart vision to children and adults of how God sees children as His partners in ministry worldwide. The purpose is also therefore to teach, train, and equip children to do the work of ministry and release them in their giftings and callings.

It is also to teach, train, and equip adults to minister to children, teaching them how to train and release children into the things of the Spirit and to find an active place in the body of Christ in all areas of ministry. Those areas include evangelism, mission, the gifts of the Spirit, worship, hearing the voice of God, prayer, healing the sick, and more.

These purposes are to be accomplished through a variety of forms including but not limited to curriculum, books, other written materials, seminars, conferences, schools of equipping, crusades, outreaches around the world, tapes, videos, and the internet.
Now, that doesn't sound like brainwashing, does it? Of course, anybody can make brainwashing sound pretty, can't they?

I just feel bad for those poor kids. I'm betting most of them will end up in therapy for years...


FreeThinker said...

I feel bad for these poor kids too. I saw this film, and it's good - in a scary way. Those kids should get up to speed on science (they don't believe in evolution or global warming).

-- FreeThinker

DaBich said...

Kids age 6 to 9 need not go to camp to learn about war, violence, and gay people. (no insult inferred ~ you rock jason :)
They need to be KIDS yet, damnit.

I know we all need to grow up, but let's get real!!!

Anonymous said...

Jason Hughes said...

Anonymous: Do you really want to go there? Because it would be wwwaaaayyyy too easy to blast World Nut Daily's take on this key piece of scientific study, and show their idiocy for what it is....

Let me know...

No, you know what? I'm blasting...

WND said: First, it implicitly acknowledges that the evidence for Darwinism was never as overwhelming as its defenders claim. It has been almost 30 years since Gould wrote that biology accounts for human nature, yet Darwinists are just now turning up a gene that may have been involved in brain evolution.
Um, no it doesn’t. When did we actually start mapping the genome? When did we finish it? (Hint: We finished mapping it in 2003; see here) Very recently! And it takes a lot of time to study the genome, figure out what genes do what, and then to take those genes and compare them to a chimp's--that takes another bunch of years! Hence, it is a very recent, and in fact a very quick, discovery! As science continues to map and find genes, and compare them to other species, the holes and gaps are filled in and only uphold, what science already knows...

WND said: Second, embryologists know that a single gene cannot account for the origin of the human brain. Genes involved in embryo development typically have multiple effects, and complex organs such as the brain are influenced by many genes. The simple-mindedness of the "brain evolution gene" story is breathtaking.
First off, this is a key gene, not the only gene, and World Nut Daily's simple-minded take on a complex subject is not only appalling, it's stupid. See here, here, or even here. This one gene, however, affects at least NINETEEN different other gene expressions and dominance, so it isn't simply a matter of "one gene causes it all," but one gene affects nineteen others that all also play key roles in how things develop, what genes get expressed and how much, and a whole host of other things! It's actually all quite fascinating, but you wouldn't know that if you get all your "news" from World Nut Daily, would you?

WND said: Third, the only thing scientists demonstrated in this case was a correlation between a genetic difference and brain size. Every scientist knows, however, that correlation is not the same as causation.
Pure lie in the first part of the sentence, and the second part is a lie of omission. Read the links I provided for an actual source of news... Brain size is only one of the things that this gene is part of regulating, and no one is even claiming that "size is all that matters" in any of the papers and news sources I've read (those three are only the tip of the ice berg).

Instead of spamming links to faux news sites, perhaps you can come up with an argument of your own?

WND said: So after 150 years, Darwinists are still looking for evidence – any evidence, no matter how skimpy – to justify their speculations. The latest hype over the "brain evolution gene" unwittingly reveals just how underwhelming the evidence for their view really is.
Yeah, um, is that why you couldn't even come up with a pretend explanation for the thousands of fossils, the perilously close resemblance of ours and chimps genetic code, why not everyone died during the flood, and on and on....

The evidence is there, though no one claims it’s "overwhelming." But it is all very very convincing if one takes the time to learn objectively... Perhaps you haven't evolved that far yet, though... You may have too much "religious expression" gene... :)

WND said: This is becoming increasingly obvious to the American people, who are not the ignorant backwoods religious dogmatists that Darwinists make them out to be. Darwinists insult the intelligence of American taxpayers and at the same time depend on them for support. This is an inherently unstable situation, and it cannot last.
So the faux news source says to their gullible readers. LOL! Why aren't Americans keen on learning about evolution? Too many nutballs like you lying to them and making false claims about what scientists do and don't say (this article included!).

You lose, thanks for playing. Please try again later.

mom said...

hello jason! i am doing this on cindys computer! cindy did have to help me get here! :) i did catch this brain washing thing and it is not good what that woman is doing to those kids and the parents that are letting it happen should get a slap up the side of the head! i am glad the church we went to when you kids were little didn't go that far! i have some stories but nothing to that degree. however i did try to brainwash you kids but it did not work altogether. i just have to listen to what comes out of your radios and cd players and know it didn't work!! :) some of it (very little)sounds like country but not enough of it!! :) i need you at my country camp. :) :) pedal steele, fiddle, and a lot of twang! now thats country music! :) well, just wanted to really let you know i am still here! scary isn't it!! a side comment is that little nate looks like henry in a way and mommy of henry thinks that also. and you now have a coffee maker jason! i will get it to you when i see you. love and prayers

Jason Hughes said...

Okay, Mom, I'm a little confused.... but that's okay, I get it from you! :) :)

How does you going to see my new nephew get me a coffee maker? Did Cindy pop it out accidentally while giving birth to Nate? :)

And FYI--the world needs less twang on the radio! LOL!

Dar said...

It just dawned on me that the problem with the entire bible belt is the TWANG! Steel guitars are higher pitched frequencies delivering subliminal messages from the Baptists! Run for your lives! Hurry up! Get to WalMart quickly and buy a Black Eyed Peas CD to save yourselves!

mom said...

hello jason! before i clean up MORE SAWDUST i thought i see what i wrote that made you wonder about your coffee maker and i thought it made sense. :) but than again i understand so half my thought process!! :) and you people that can't appreciate twang!! no love and prayers for you all until you listen to at least 2 good twang songs and call me in the morning! :) only love and prayers to the twang lovers! :)

Jason Hughes said...

LOL! You guys crack me up!

Anonymous said...