Notices
Results 1 to 30 of 30

Thread: child abuse

  1. #1 child abuse 
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cardiff, Wales
    Posts
    5,810
    reading the following account of "Jesus camp" gave me the creeps


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore BioHazard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    St. Marks, Portland, Liberty City
    Posts
    89
    imprisonment of thought and will, they're CHILDREN, something has to be done about this thing, this just breaks my heart. Is there some kind of effective online petition? We need to start doing something!
    Thanks for bringing this to light.


    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UTAH, USA
    Posts
    3,112
    I am a Christian and I find it pretty disgusting too, BUT no there is nothing that can be done about it. Parents have a right to raise their children according to their beliefs. However, I believe that the greatest harm that they do is to Christianity itself and more than half of these children will see through the lie and more than half of those will end up atheists reacting against this kind of oppression. Interfering is just as bad as what they are doing because then you would be setting yourself up in the position of making their choices for them.

    What you do is, continue to make this story public and share your point of view so that everyone can see clearly what goes on in these places and why you think it is objectionable, even those to whom this was done, giving them the chance to see it and repudiate it. I am personally in a difficult situation myself as a parent. My wife is a moonie and the moonies have their own camps as well. But the whole advantage of having two parents is that your children can choose between what the two parents have to offer. I will continue to encourage them to think for themselves and then let them make their own choices. Anything else is inappropriate and would represent the opposite of what I want them to learn.

    This particular camp described is not a pillar of psychological health but these are not the worst influences in the world and ultimately we all have to make choices and make sense of the confusion of the world as best we can. Half these children are going to have problems anyway for if their parents are immature enough to subject their children to such things then they are not mature enough to give their children the best advantages anyway. And if their parents are mature enough then they will counter the bad effects. Ultimately children can and will make up their own minds about what to believe and how to live as long as the options are out there for them to see. But in this age of information there is really no way for their parents to keep their children from seeing other options. Just because they play whatever games their parents want right now does not mean that they will ever take any of it seriously. Children do not see the world the same way that adults do. Ever see the movie, "Tideland"?
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cardiff, Wales
    Posts
    5,810
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Ever see the movie, "Tideland"?
    no - what's it about ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Driving in my car
    Posts
    5,525
    It is time. Time for people who as children suffered psychological abuse from churches or pseudo-churches to have their day in court. The Bill of Rights should be amended to prevent things like Jesus Camps from ever happening.

    As alluded to by some of the respondents, there is little doubt that the minds of some of these kids are irreparably damaged psychologically. Institutions like Jesus Camp should be liable for litigation for the mind tampering of innocent children. If they get caught doing this stuff to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay the people in charge would be court martialed. I don't know what's worse, paedophiles or mind control freaks. Absolutely one of the lowest levels any religion can reach.

    Allow former abused children to sue their antagonists for crimes of a psychological nature committed against them when they were young. The choice of religion needs a legal age where people if they wish can sign up for all the Jesus Camps they want. A legal age would also protect the Pastor Becky's from litigation but at least they'd be dealing with adults. Insurance companies would come on board and you know how they can sway the lawmakers.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Forum Masters Degree geezer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    london
    Posts
    540
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Ever see the movie, "Tideland"?
    no - what's it about ?
    it's about childhood, and how children use the imagination, and how easily than can be persuaded to do something and think it's normal, it could have been a very good film, unfortunately it has a subplot of child abuse and paediphila.
    terry gilliam, wrote and directed his intention it seems was for the watchers to read between the lines, if you like.
    it was rated R for bizarre and disturbing content, including drug use, sexuality, and gruesome situations - all involving a child, and for some language.
    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense - Buddha"
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UTAH, USA
    Posts
    3,112
    Quote Originally Posted by geezer
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Ever see the movie, "Tideland"?
    no - what's it about ?
    it's about childhood, and how children use the imagination, and how easily than can be persuaded to do something and think it's normal, it could have been a very good film, unfortunately it has a subplot of child abuse and paediphila.
    terry gilliam, wrote and directed his intention it seems was for the watchers to read between the lines, if you like.
    it was rated R for bizarre and disturbing content, including drug use, sexuality, and gruesome situations - all involving a child, and for some language.
    Yes. But it is also about how children survive things that most adults think are unimaginable. All of our ideas of morality and such tend to go right over their heads and so their development is not quite so fragile as many people imagine. And that according to his intro is the maker's real intension and not anything geezer wants to read between the lines. The point is that this Jesus camp stuff really isn't much different from a silly game to them, and if adults want to pretend otherwise then that is their own kind of sillyness.

    I noticed that the little girl's parents were no less effective as parents when they were dead than when they were alive. That is pretty damning. However, regardless of how useless they were, the little girl loved them nevertheless and it is difficult to say whether more harm is done to the girl in the their care than would be done by taking her away from them. I am not saying that she should not be, clearly there has to be limits of some sort on what parents can do with their children, but if the government is going to interfere it had better be damn sure that it has good cause. Pressuring their children to do what they think is right for them is what parents do, and so I very much doubt that a legal case can be made against these Jesus camps. But public opinion is whole different ball game and it is a power to be reckoned with.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cardiff, Wales
    Posts
    5,810
    i think what bugged me most was the induced peer pressure, the suffocating pressure to conform, something not untypical of some of the nastier sects (jonestown springs to mind)
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UTAH, USA
    Posts
    3,112
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    i think what bugged me most was the induced peer pressure, the suffocating pressure to conform, something not untypical of some of the nastier sects (jonestown springs to mind)
    This pressure to conform is a reality of life. It is learning to face up to it and declare yourself that gives one character. If it is not religion then it is something else. Whether it is politics, sexuality or career, many parents just can't seem to help thinkin they have to run your life. And that is just he pressure from your parents who supposedly love you and are supposedly wiser than you are. Pressure from peers is often much harder to resist even though it is more obviously stupid and self-destructive.

    Unfortunately religious cults commiting mass suicide just don't come close to the worst examples. There are groups training suicide bombers in the Middle East and others training genocide soldiers in Africa, and let us not forget when a whole nation fell under the demand for conformity in Nazi Germany. This is the natural result of the effort to unite mankind - conformity to evil on a massive scale. It is the love and tolerance for human diversity (and that includes religious freedom) that must be defended at all costs.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Forum Sophomore BioHazard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    St. Marks, Portland, Liberty City
    Posts
    89
    Please don't try to explain the actions things like Jesus Camps, by saying worse things had happened in the 1940's and now in the Middle East and Africa...

    The USA and some countries in Europe represent the Peak of Human progress, its saddening to see such things in those countries.

    Also I fail to see which is worse, training Adults to kill people or Proggraming and Torturing Children
    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    8,795
    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    Also I fail to see which is worse, training Adults to kill people or Proggraming and Torturing Children
    It's easy. If adults are trained to kill people they will probably kill a bunch of people. If children children go to Jesus camp, nobody will probably get killed. Do you see the difference?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    The USA and some countries in Europe represent the Peak of Human progress,
    Say it isn't so.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Forum Sophomore BioHazard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    St. Marks, Portland, Liberty City
    Posts
    89
    all im saying is that they bring little children and force them to do stuff, with the delussional adults they go there willingly.
    "When man contemplates his future death, it is as if, by thinking of it, he renders it immediate. His defence is to deny it. He cannot deny that his body will die and rot - the evidence is too strong for that; so he solves the problem by the invention of the immortal soul" Desmond Morris
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cardiff, Wales
    Posts
    5,810
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    The USA and some countries in Europe represent the Peak of Human progress,
    Say it isn't so.
    it isn't so
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UTAH, USA
    Posts
    3,112
    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    Please don't try to explain the actions things like Jesus Camps, by saying worse things had happened in the 1940's and now in the Middle East and Africa...

    The USA and some countries in Europe represent the Peak of Human progress, its saddening to see such things in those countries.

    Also I fail to see which is worse, training Adults to kill people or Proggraming and Torturing Children
    I have not said a single thing to justify the Jesus camps, I will leave that to those who believe in them. I will however justify the strictures of a free society which will limit the ability of self-righteous busybodies to use the powers of government to interfere in the lives and in the families of others, defending atheist, homosexual and religious people all equally. I am sure that there are plenty of self righteous Christians who would love to take children away from parents who have homosexual friends visiting or who work in an abortion clinic, using as an exuse whatever terrible harm to children psyche that they can imagine as well.

    My point was that the pressure of conformity is a universal human evil that cannot be eliminated and therefore it must be limited so that it does not get out of control like in the extreme circumstances that I mentioned.

    Speak your mind against these Jesus camps and I will support you but start talking the kind of facist bullcrap that I hear from pro-life fanatics that put their "righteous cause" above the guarantees of civil rights upon which our society is built and I will condemn you with all the contempt and hostility that I can muster.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by BioHazard
    The USA and some countries in Europe represent the Peak of Human progress,
    Say it isn't so.
    it isn't so
    That's a relief.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17 Re: child abuse 
    Forum Freshman marcos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    norfolk
    Posts
    26
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    reading the following account of "Jesus camp" gave me the creeps
    not just this jesus camp evil, but any religious indoctrination of children but parents, schools or clergy is child abuse.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I have not said a single thing to justify the Jesus camps, I will leave that to those who believe in them. I will however justify the strictures of a free society which will limit the ability of self-righteous busybodies to use the powers of government to interfere in the lives and in the families of others, defending atheist, homosexual and religious people all equally.
    Respect for people's rights and freedoms is certainly important, but surely you would agree that people's right to religious freedom doesn't extend to child abuse. If it can be demonstrated that this sort of thing is actually harmful to children, the parent's right to religious freedom is trumped by the child's right to be free from harm. Of course I’m talking about actual, demonstratable harm, not vague notions that the child is being harmed simply because they are being exposed to ideas that some people find offensive.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cardiff, Wales
    Posts
    5,810
    i should make it clear that i don't object to parents educating their children in the beliefs that they hold dear - what i do object to is children being pressurised to conform in mass scenes reminiscent of the telly evangelists
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  21. #20  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    As far as belief is concerned, all you can really force a person to do is *claim* to believe. You can't make them actually believe, and they can't choose to actually believe just because they're afraid you're going to harm or ostricise them.

    Therefore: If the child doesn't actually believe, then what the camp is actually doing is forcing them to lie. How can it be good for a child to be repeatedly forced to lie?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  22. #21  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    As far as belief is concerned, all you can really force a person to do is *claim* to believe. You can't make them actually believe, and they can't choose to actually believe just because they're afraid you're going to harm or ostricise them.

    Therefore: If the child doesn't actually believe, then what the camp is actually doing is forcing them to lie. How can it be good for a child to be repeatedly forced to lie?
    Young children will believe virtually anything that you tell them. They probably really do believe it by the time they leave, even if they didn't believe when they arrived. Young people simply don't have the mental skills to critically evaluate things that adults tell them.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  23. #22  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UTAH, USA
    Posts
    3,112
    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Respect for people's rights and freedoms is certainly important, but surely you would agree that people's right to religious freedom doesn't extend to child abuse. If it can be demonstrated that this sort of thing is actually harmful to children, the parent's right to religious freedom is trumped by the child's right to be free from harm. Of course I’m talking about actual, demonstratable harm, not vague notions that the child is being harmed simply because they are being exposed to ideas that some people find offensive.
    Yes but that is a really really really big IF. And considering how rampant pseudo-science is today I have no doubt people can concoct some sort of pseudo-scientific justification for sticking their nose into other peoples business. I happen to think there is a lot in the science of psychology that is worth paying attention to, but there is also a great deal of quackery, and bad experiences with the psychology profession has created a great deal of mistrust. As a parent I am far more likely to listen to the advice of an demonstrably good parent than to a so called psychology professional. By the way, both of my parents were psychology majors.

    The same goes for religious leaders. For example, it is the rather bad parenting on the part of Rev. Moon which I think has discredited his claims to know what makes a good family. It pays to look at the children if you want a clearer picture of a religious leader.

    Child abuse has a legal definition and your personal definition just doesn't count for squat. People have different philosophies of parenting and if some people want to call the parenting methods of others "child abuse" well all that does is identify them for the insufferable self-righteous (and most probably inexperienced and childless) busybodies they truly are. You can take your own parenting opinions and raise your own children (God help them), because you have the same rights as anyone else to share your own particular insanity with your own offspring. Don't take this personally, for we are all in the same boat, confident that our way is the right way. Frankly the good parents are those who learn that they were wrong, while the stubborn ideologues who learn nothing are the ones that do the most damage. In any case, beyond the legal restrictions the only ones who can really judge you is your own children. And they shall. Good luck.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
    Reply With Quote  
     

  24. #23  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Child abuse has a legal definition and your personal definition just doesn't count for squat. People have different philosophies of parenting and if some people want to call the parenting methods of others "child abuse" well all that does is identify them for the insufferable self-righteous (and most probably inexperienced and childless) busybodies they truly are.
    Like I said, it all depends on whether or not it can be demonstrated that something actually harms the child. I'm aware that many people like to shout "child abuse!" any time they see someone raising a child in a way that they merely find personally offensive, and I agree that it's mostly just self-righteous silliness. But denouncing something that you find offensive as child abuse simply because it offends your sensibilities is not at all the same as citing peer-reviewed, scientific studies based on empirical data showing that something can actually harm children in a meaningful, measurable way. In the former case you're just an opinionated, self-righteous busybody. In the later case you are making a factually correct statement that someone is harming their child. You still might be a self-righteous busybody, but at least now your allegations of “child abuse” have a factual backing.

    I haven’t looked through the literature, but I’m sure that the effect of this sort of thing on young children has been pretty thoroughly studied. Does anyone want to place bets on how it correlates to things like future educational attainment, likelihood of mental illness, etc? Like I said, I haven’t looked at the data, so maybe most children simply shrug this sort of thing off without any appreciable negative effects, in which case it’s merely annoying and offensive rather than child abuse. But if it can be demonstrated that exposure to this sort of indoctrination at a young age does have a significant negative effect on the child, I don’t see how you could avoid calling it child abuse.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  25. #24  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UTAH, USA
    Posts
    3,112
    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    I haven’t looked through the literature, but I’m sure that the effect of this sort of thing on young children has been pretty thoroughly studied. Does anyone want to place bets on how it correlates to things like future educational attainment, likelihood of mental illness, etc? Like I said, I haven’t looked at the data, so maybe most children simply shrug this sort of thing off without any appreciable negative effects, in which case it’s merely annoying and offensive rather than child abuse. But if it can be demonstrated that exposure to this sort of indoctrination at a young age does have a significant negative effect on the child, I don’t see how you could avoid calling it child abuse.
    I am sorry but such correlations are meaningless. This is exactly the reason I mentioned pseudoscience. The existence of correlations does not resolve the tangle of causality involved. Strong education and proffessional correlations will always exist between parents and children that have nothing to do with anything you care to call child abuse. The bet I would lay is that you cannot objectively disentangle such so called scientific evidence from religious bigotry or some kind of fascist sentiment that dumb people should not be allowed to procreate or raise children.

    I am pretty confident that the only real harm done by such camps is, in the long run, to turn many of these children off to religion, but I am not sure that that is something you would call harm. I liken it to the effect of the communist system on the Russian people over the last 50 years - a very strong innoculation against ideologies.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
    Reply With Quote  
     

  26. #25  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I am sorry but such correlations are meaningless.
    It's a pretty big jump to go from "correlation does not prove causation" to "correlation is meaningless." It's not as if we're talking about a correlation between wearing blue pants and low educational attainment, or some other pair of variables that have no discernable logical connection. If you spend a lot of time telling a child that public schools are a tool of satan and that scientists and other scholars around the world are involved in a deliberate conspiracy to dupe the public about various matters, it seems plausible to me to hypothesize that this might negatively impact the child's future educational attainment. If you spend a lot of time telling a child that there's a high likelihood that the world will end very soon, and that the vast majority of the people who they encounter in their daily lives are destined to eternal suffering in a fiery hell (and that the child might share the same fate if they aren't careful), it seems reasonable to me to suspect that this might have some effect on a child's future prospects for mental illness. Studies showing a correlation between the two constitute good evidence to that effect. It's possible for something to constitute strong evidence without necessarily being absolute proof.
    Strong education and proffessional correlations will always exist between parents and children that have nothing to do with anything you care to call child abuse.
    Surely there are many things that affect a child's likelihood of success in life, and many of them are out of a parent's control. That does not mean that they are all out of a parent's control, and I'm inclined to think that any time a parent deliberately does something that is likely to substantially interfere with their child's future prospects for success, they are abusing their child. That's doesn't necessarily mean that the state should intervene, but it certainly seem to constitute abuse.
    The bet I would lay is that you cannot objectively disentangle such so called scientific evidence from religious bigotry or some kind of fascist sentiment that dumb people should not be allowed to procreate or raise children.
    I'm not sure what you mean here. Are you suggesting that any study showing a strong corelation between religious fundamentalism and any given negative effect are the product of religious bigotry?

    Of course this all becomes pointless if there aren't any good studies showing such corelations. Maybe I should brows around a bit and see if any reasearch has been done in this area.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  27. #26  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UTAH, USA
    Posts
    3,112
    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Surely there are many things that affect a child's likelihood of success in life, and many of them are out of a parent's control. That does not mean that they are all out of a parent's control, and I'm inclined to think that any time a parent deliberately does something that is likely to substantially interfere with their child's future prospects for success, they are abusing their child. That's doesn't necessarily mean that the state should intervene, but it certainly seem to constitute abuse.
    No it is not. That is according to a personal definitions of child abuse that cannot stand in a free society. It may not be what you or I want for our children, but parents have a right to TRY and steer their children away from all sorts of careers (like the military for example) or ways of life according to strongly held beliefs as well as to TRY and steer their children towards a carreer or way of life in which they are uniquely qualified to help their children succeed (and that could even be the life of a hobo or gypsy). You cannot define success in an objective manner. Some parents think it is all about money, and others think it is all about happiness or something else. Imposing your values in a peculiar definition of "child abuse" like this, simply cannot work.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
    Reply With Quote  
     

  28. #27  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    kojax wrote:
    As far as belief is concerned, all you can really force a person to do is *claim* to believe. You can't make them actually believe, and they can't choose to actually believe just because they're afraid you're going to harm or ostricise them.

    Therefore: If the child doesn't actually believe, then what the camp is actually doing is forcing them to lie. How can it be good for a child to be repeatedly forced to lie?
    Young children will believe virtually anything that you tell them. They probably really do believe it by the time they leave, even if they didn't believe when they arrived. Young people simply don't have the mental skills to critically evaluate things that adults tell them.
    I'm sure that's true of the majority of them. Some kids, however, are exceptionally perceptive. They're more likely to be the one who has to be repeatedly humilliated or disciplined in order to get them to start regurgitating the appropriate beliefs.

    Geniuses especially, and just plain above average intelligent children could be seriously harmed by this. Basically, these camps pose a danger to the leaders of tommorrow, while the common grunts of tommorrow are pretty much safe.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  29. #28  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    107
    I live in Australia.

    and from the age of 9 till the age of at least 15 I went to something very much like what is seen in this documentary twice a year on average. I still remember the hall and cabins we stayed in. They slept 8 per room in a bunk with very little privacy and we would be there over a whole 5 days. They were traumatic to me even then while I called myself a christian. Mostly because of my natural avoidant personality type (which is currently in 'self-diagnosed disorder' stage).

    I remember the second one I went to was at a seaside resort town and I was fearful of going out in the surf. For the first two days I did all the activities including the whole "Tounges" shakey cry-ey fall on floor thing, and some hyperactive running games. but when one of the activities included the surf beach I hung back and peeled away into the bushes and hid. After that moment I found I could easily disengage from the activities by just removing myself from the group and looking like I was going between activities. We wern't allowed in the Rooms during activity time, and everyone had to "Sign in" to the Chapel service (so we could have olive oil put on our heads, or sing songs and jump up and down or throw ourselves in loud shouting fits around the room) but during the shouting fits there was always a tidal flow of 'exuberant' people toward the front, and since I was already lacking some of the connection with the peer group I'd eventually find myself off to one side. The wall was a friend, it gave respite from the constant physical contact with wailing flailing peers.

    I truly believed in the power of God, but felt awkward, clumbsy - even dirty when I was close to such crowds. Such tides of people wailing and staring upwards with arms upraised meant that physical contact with people was all but impossible to avoid. The cool hard unyielding and unmoving saftey of the wall and the chair was always so welcome... I would find myself backing off from the heaviest concentrations of people, warded off by the simple mechanics of my flinching reactions from colliding with people. It seemed the people in the middle were in physical contact with at least 4 people at all times. and if ever I found myself in the middle I would just close my eyes and try not to break off into a panic attack. Not that it mattered if I did, because the effects would have been unnoticable. Shaking, Crying, sobbing and falling to one's knees wasn't exactly considered to be a symptom of panic in that situation. I can remember at least a few times when I would end up in that situation. Shaking, Crying, Sobbing, On my knees and huddled over head down. and suddenly things became quieter down there near the floor. no more flailing hands, only a forest of legs slowly swaying too and fro. It was almost like hiding in the reed patch behind the beach. Suddenly the world changed focus to the low and the small. the attention would snap into focus and I would notice new things. a stain patch on the carpet, the little glints of silvery threads unevenly patched through the surface of the carpet. The musty smell of dust, disturbed by the shuffling feet. My hands, a dirty fingernail, with a small arc of grey. The throb of the band, and the way the snare drum was slightly off time with the bass guitar - and resonated with too much pitch. Soon the feeling of panic and clostrophobia would subside and I would become comfortable down there on the floor, I could control my breathing again and felt the coolness of deep breaths filling my lungs, the differential in tempearture between different parts of my body. I could relax down there and not fear being questioned, or having eye contact with people. I could detach myself from the situation without actually having to run away and hide. Occasionally I would find another person down on the floor too, usually a girl. In the first 3 years there was a girl who's name was Jessica who would usually drop to the floor crying a few minutes after me, and slowly resolve from crying to stare absently at the ground. She was usually further forward than I. I would stare at the profile of her face and her long brown hair and consider how pretty she was. I wondered if she too felt the same distresses I felt when being crowded and like I, would come to the floor for respite. In the 3 years - 6 times - 6 weeks over 3 years - that I knew her, I only ever talked to her enough to learn her name, and never did manage to pluck up the courage to ask if she felt the same as I did. Instead I would just think about her at night while making shadow puppets on the wall of my bunk bed there in the dorm. At home there was never any lights on when I lay down on my bed, certainly none that could make as distinctive a shadow as that Dorm at Narrabeen.

    I remember the following year the church sent us to a different campsite at Galston. The campsite was on a huge slope which lead down toward a huge Gorge with a river at the bottom, with thick forestation all the way down. There were lots of places to hide, and it was easy to fall back off a group going from location to location as the terrain was steep. I was a little overweight even then at the age of 14, and would often find it a bit tough keeping up with some of the groups as they went between the Dorms, Chapel, the Dining Hall, and activity areas for swimming, football, cricket, and the infamous gorge flying fox - yet another activity which mortified me and which I only went on once - finding the 20 minute mountain climb back to be more than it was worth.

    Every morning at 7am we'd all be woken up by some annoying youth leader making lots of noise and by 7:45am we were saying grace in the dining hall... well one person would say grace and the prayer for our food would last longer than it took to eat the food. Yes I timed it. The food was Cerial and Toast. The prayer was an improvised prayer full of the words "Awesome" "faithfull" "Jesus" and "Lay Down".

    To eat toast you had to bludgeon your way into the 4 or 5 'lines' awaiting a toaster which spewed forth more heat than toast. It was summer, and the sweat would drip down, and the constant shoving and rib pinching was more than it was worth, so I would stick to the cerial.

    The cerial was in boxes on each table along with a stack of bowls, and was easy enough to procure the less popular ones like Corn Flakes or, god forbid, Weatbix.

    The problem with Weatbix was that it soaks up milk better than a sponge, and so unless one was going to use 3 milk rations, which could be procured by a bit of bullying and espionage, then you would end up having to eat very very dry weatbix.

    By the time you finished the bowl of wheatbix, one was very very thirsty indeed. And of course all the juice had long since gone.

    The water from the tap tasted strange. muddy. I reccon it came out of that stupid river at the bottom of the gorge, and the flying fox. For the first 3 days I went thirsty. Unable to speak clearly for hours at a time due to the throat and larynx sticking to each other. Headaches and tiredness accompanied the burning heat in the throat. On the afternoon of day 3 I gave in and started drinking from a tap. I drank and drank in such a way like my body had suddenly decided that water was more important than breathing and I only broke off from lapping up the muddy liquid spewing from that ungainly outdoor tap once my lungs were bursting for air. I remember the feeling of the water on my skin being so relieving that I decided that I would deftinatley go for a swim, even if the river was 20 minutes down hill. It took me 30 minutes to gather my thoughts enough to start making my way down. I had started down and gotten about 3 minutes down the path when I remembered that although I had a towel, I did not have a change of clothes, so I went back up and got that and started back down to the river. Wet people were walking back up the path having ejected themselves off the flying fox, but I only wanted to swim, not fling myself off that crazy cliff. I was happy slowly walking down to the river, but larger boys had suddenly appeared behind me, and so I picked up my pace so they wouldn't be inconvenienced by having to go around me. And I was imbarrised about being unfit and fat.

    By the time I got to the bottom my legs were sore from nearly running down the unending stairs. It literally took 15 minutes to walk all the way down... 25 back up at my pace... 20 at an exhausting pace.

    I swam in the river for a good half an hour, Till the sun started going orange on the horizon. The youth leader came and made us all get out and GO GO GO GO GO! I would have liked to have taken more time drying off, but the youth leader pushed us to get moving now now now. Trudging back up the steep incline in sodgy wet feet, T-Shirt going "Fap Fap" against my stomach every step. I was tensing up, trying to walk much faster than I wanted to, and also trying to minimise the annoying noise my wet skin was making against my slightly wet T-shit. An embarrising wet spot appeared through the T shirt, marking where my belly button sat, ringed by my tummy. I held my towel out in front of me to hide it.

    We got to the top and we were too late to go to our rooms, we had to go to the Chapel to start praying, singing, jumping up and down, screaming, flailing around and bathing in God's holy spirit. We marched right past my Dorm, the Youth Leader preventing us from accessing our rooms even long enough to dump thongs, towels and wet clothes. We carried these all the way to the chapel.

    At Chapel we had to sign our name at the door to get access. we were way at the back of the line which was moving really slowly. Soon the band started up and people started singing but people were still cued up. It took 1 whole song before the last group got to the signing tables.

    "No you can't bring your wet clothes in here, put them over there in the changerooms.

    So we all peel off to the change rooms to dump our stuff there. I follow gingerly behind. Peering into the Chapel I can see some tennis raquets and a few balls stuck in the back corner of the building, but I follow the other people who were in the last group back to the Change Rooms behind the Chapel.

    We walk back outside and over a wooden raised walkway with rocks and trees below to the changerooms. I'm the last one in and people are already leaving, running back to the Chapel as I enter the Change Room. Someone departs a toilet stall as I enter and leaves. Nobody else is there. I go into the toilet. The door naturally swings shut, so I push it open and close it behind me, sitting down on the toilet, holding my Towel in my lap. I decide I will sit here a moment longer as I am still breathless from the non-stop walking. I havn't stopped moving since exiting the water. I feel the pain in my feet and ankles and knees slowly subside and my breath slowly return to a normal pace. In the distance the fast music turns more slow, and quieter. It continues for some time more. Then it stops and the incoherent babblings, barely audable, of the preacher filter through the distance to me. He's praying in tounges now, even without being able to clearly hear words, I know the sound of tounges. The pitch is higher, the rhythm more regular than normal speech. It gets louder, other people are now also praying in tounges. the band starts again. I sit on the toilet, towel in hand, feeling cold. It's night time now and the temperature drops. The toilet has slats open to the air outside and the breeze comes right inside along with the faint distant sounds from the Chapel. Soon the sounds become absolutley inaudable, unable to be heard behind the faint trickle of water leaking into the urinal. I am unsure of what is happening. suddenly time seems to slow down and it is excrutiating to wait. I watch the second hand of my watch move. 4 minutes. 5 minutes. 6 minutes. 7 minutes. It goes on for nearly 10 minutes untill the preacher is talking again. Talking this time - not praying in tounges. his voice is flatter, the syllables irregular and at different volumes. Occasionally he shouts into the michrophone and a single word might be heard clearly. The dripping from the urinal continues, unabaited, as if it were some waterfall. I wonder when the last time the plumbing was looked at.

    I have waited now for over 45 minutes... Chapel goes for 90.. I'm halfway through! I have sat on the toilet through half of Chapel.

    but oh no! Someone comes to the toilet! I hear the door squeak and footsteps approach. I lean forward hoping it's not a Youth Leader. The person slams the door of the stall right next to mine open and closed again. Then i hear him sit. his belt buckle clatters on the cold, hard tiles. He sits there a moment, and after finishing his buisiness he gets back up, flushes the toilet. I listen to his every move, fearing that at any moment he will shout "Hey You there? You Ok?" but he doesn't. He washes his hands and uses the Hand Dryer which is suddenly an enormously loud sound which obliterates any coming from the Chapel, and even the dripping of the urinal is inaudable behind the blindingly loud sound of the jet of hot air blasting away.

    The Hand Dryer stops. i listen intently expecting to hear footsteps, and the door squeak open and bang closed. but I hear nothing. Soon the sound of the dripping Urinal resolves itself, and Cicardas chirping in the night, and the irregular pulsating sound of the preacher talking. "It's God's!" he sais loudly, before returing to the rhythmic popping of syllables. I wait suspiciously. Did that guy who sat in the stall next to me, not 10 inches hence, leave while the Hand Dryer was still blearing away? or is he standing there, still, intently listening, trying to hear what I'm doing?

    I lower my breathing, start to be quiet. My leg is itching but I dare not scratch it or I might give myself away! I stay still, quiet, watching my watch and the time. 2 minutes... 5 minutes... 7 minutes... Perfectly still. I listen intensley trying to figure out if this man has sprung me and has reported me as "Hiding in the toilet during Evening Service". I fully expect to hear the tramping of feet of youth leaders coming to haul me down to the office to give me the once-over. but there is no tramping of feet. only silence. Soon the Band starts playing again. And I wait for 5 minutes... and 30 more seconds... and the bands slow music suddenly picks up - the alter response call has concluded, the fast song is going! People can leave the chapel now. so I take off into the night. Dinner is on soon, and people are walking that way, so fall in behind a group of them and eventually find one of my Room mates and say hi.

    At dinner they are talking about (quietly) and teasing (not so-quietly) a group of girls on the adjacent table. Jessica isn't there. In fact I have not seen her at all this year. I don't think she's here.


    the next year camp is back at Narrabeen and although i have a closer friend there this time, I still continue my habit of breaking off from the group during occasions that I feel pressured into doing something I am uncomfortable with. The lessons of Galston have been learned. Interestingly I never see Jessica ever again. Not at Camp, not at Church, not even randomly in the street.

    when I am 16 my parents forget to enroll me in camp before the cutoff date and I spend the period between Christmas Day and 2 weeks thereafter at home with computer games and my friends from Primary School who don't go to church. I never go to another church-organized camp again, with the exception of Australia's Hillsong Conference.

    In 1999 I meet a girl who eventually becomes something of a soulmate for 4 years, who was raised with a new age bent, but who goes to university to study Science and Science Philosophy. Over the 5 years I know her she slowly opens my mind to other thoughts, and releases me from the morbid fear of demons, and from the fear of thoughts being evil, and although tragicly we don't remain friends for more than 5 years, she starts me on a journey of self discovery.

    On my own I eventually come to realise I am a Deist... and as a self-identifiying Deist I leave home and move States and go to a *real* university (as against a Christian College or Conservatorium of Music).

    During my time there, I manage to get my head around Evolution - the real theory, not the Christian misquote, and eventually my own knowledge of the specifics of the bible runs up against my knowledge and internal working model of reality and I slowly become what some might call Athiest. I'd rather call it aspiritual. as in a lack of belief in magical spirits with immortal powers.

    I am Athiest in that I no longer believe in the Chrsitian God aka Yahweh, just as I don't believe in Thor. however I am agnostic in the sense that I do not yet having a good and foolproof model of the catalyst for the big bang. (however the notion of the mechanisim of the Expansion of the Universe and it's obvious relation to the Big Bang theory does excite me and I have found it relitavley simple to get my head around - it also gives a lower-limit to the age of the universe's current form)

    However I still use some more mainstream churches as a source of Income (I'm a classical musician - Weddings and Funerals = money for playing music) and so outside of my aliases on the internet I am only "Athiest" to a few select people, and can hardly purport to be militant athiest. Indeed even my own Parents (who admittedly live a 10 hour drive away, but I do visit them 2 to 4 times a year) still believe I am a devout Evangelical Christian who could at a moments notice return to being in the Musician team of the Evangelical Church they are involved with, and indeed that has happened in the past. Full-blown Disbeliever in God 'worshiping' god with music.

    I guess in a way it's akin to the two stories above. My 'running away interstate to University' is the equivelent of hiding in the toilet (or behind the rushes at the beach). and my playing music to a God I don't believe exists is not too unlike kneeling in 'reverent prayer' to get away from the stresses of the push and shove of tounges-speaking yell-clap-jump-squeeze services.

    It's also amazing some of the detail I have of these memories. I remember the carpet at Narrabeen was pink and grey interwoven threads, and some of the grey threads were silver and reflected light as if it were metallic. It's wierd what you can remember from the age of 10 :P.


    Apologies for the 'life history' style of post. :P I tend to ramble on tangents when trying to access memories. Suffice to say, "Jesus Camp" was an american version of my childhood. Im so glad my parents never homeschooled me - and sent me to a public (State) school till the age of 13 (after which I went to a christian college school and learned that Evolution was a lie, Sex education was "Sex makes babies which are little humans, Don't have sex, Don't kill humans" and all the usual... and got sent to camps like you know what.)


    To clarify, the Narrabeen Camp (pre-galston) was very different to the Galston camp. At Galston, while the yelling-screaming-jumping-yabbering services occured 4 times a day (and attendance was manditory, and policed) the time after lunch and before the 5:30pm service was free - with sporting activities such as archery, canoeing, swinging off the flying fox, swimming, hiking for miles around the bush, football and cricket being offered. At Narrabeen (Pre Galston) the timetable was basically - Breakfast (with sermon-length grace) followed by jump-yell-cry-scream-yabber service, followed by a short break and then a long sermon, followed by lunch followed by small groups (as in bible study) followed by a short time between 3pm and 5pm to do 'other stuff' like surf or play football... (and slowly die of thurst because the dining room was locked and there were no other taps in the accessable regions - Rooms were out of bounds for most of the day for some reason) .. followed by a very very long service that went from 5pm till 8pm - 3 hours of singing, yelling, crying, yabbering, jumping, and overcrowding the front of the building, followed by a 'sermon' which was for the most part - shouted loudly into michrophones - followed by Dinner at 8:30 (for someone used to dinner at 6:30 it was 'nearly starving' time) and all to bed at 10.

    After Galston Free time started at lunch time, with lunch being for all intents, optional. One would join a group and go do some activity. If a group was not joined you were automatically either playing touch football, or were trying to hide from the Supervisors and Youth Leaders. I used to call this "Commando". ie sneaking around trying to find somewhere out of the way where nobody would bother you till 5pm... or 8:30... :P

    Looking back on the experience, and the amount of anxiety I experienced during those short weeks (and the long years of anxiety suffered at the fear of hell) the term "Child Abuse" isn't too far off.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  30. #29  
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Driving in my car
    Posts
    5,525
    Music....I usually can't get into long posts but yours was worth reading. Correct some spelling and grammar and I think your prose should be sent to every parent thinking of enrolling their kid in a religious camp.

    As I read your words I couldn't help thinking that indeed, this is an abuse of a child's rights. Fortunately you avoided a lot of it by being resourceful while you were in attendance. Still you were affected but I'm not certain as to how much since we don't know how the others turned out.

    Maybe you being self-consious of your physical appearance allowed you to temporarily escape the madness happening around you. Or you and many more like you are not hard wired for religion so we just cannot make the connection. I consider myself in that group and feel very fortunate to be there. Good luck with your future endeavors and remember to think of all those kids who succumb to the mindless insensitive pressure religion puts upon them. Its not fair and there ought to be a law against it.

    People will claim that my opinion is biased because I question religion incessantly and for the most part negatively. That's fine. If I ever find something positive I'll be more than pleased to acknowledge it. So far, nothing.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
    Reply With Quote  
     

  31. #30  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UTAH, USA
    Posts
    3,112
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I think your prose should be sent to every parent thinking of enrolling their kid in a religious camp.
    In that I cannot agree more!!! For that leaves the decision up to the parents (and their children) who hopefully care enough and know enough about their children to be able to judge whether such a camp is going to be a good experience or a traumatic one. But the whole point here is that PEOPLE INCLUDING CHILDREN ARE ALL UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT and trying to stuff everyone into the same mold is WHY THINGS LIKE THIS HAPPEN!!!



    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    As I read your words I couldn't help thinking that indeed, this is an abuse of a child's rights. Fortunately you avoided a lot of it by being resourceful while you were in attendance. Still you were affected but I'm not certain as to how much since we don't know how the others turned out.
    This sort of "child abuse" happens all the time in every high school, which can be quite a nightmare for many people growing up. It is hardly surprising that since kids can get their hands on automatic weapons in this United States, they occasionally take them into school and start shooting everyone.

    One thing such experiences do, is to prepare us as parents to do something about things like this and keep our children from having to go through such things themselves. Such is the slow march of progress.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •