Friday, November 30, 2007

Teaching vs. brainwashing

I finally had a chance to see "Jesus Camp" this week. The documentary appeared in theaters last year and tells the story of three Evangelical Christian children who go to a summer camp in Devils Lake, N.D.

What is shown is pretty disturbing - even to most believers I think. Kids should be taught about living their faith and avoiding sin, but the services depicted appear to manipulate kids' emotions to the point that some of them are just hysterical. I'm really not sure what 8 and 9 year old kids from middle America have to be so guilty and upset over.

The filmmakers obviously have their own bias. In what I saw of the director's commentary (I love DVDs), they seem to be almost afraid of people committed to their faith. So I had to wonder if the film just showed the extremes.

Regardless, it raises the question, what's the best way to teach children about faith? A fine line seems to separate brainwashing and teaching them so they take ownership of their faith. How do you walk that line?

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