I started reading Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower last week. It's really good so far. I had forgotten how puritanical that group was. Then the religious theme continued over the weekend with two disturbing documentaries I watched. The first was Jesus Camp - "a feverish spectacle of a summer camp for evangelical Christian kids is the focus...a fascinating if sometimes alarming documentary." As harsh and wrong-headed as the ramblings of the camp's pastor (Becky Fisher) are - including a disturbing rant about the evils of Harry Potter (a warlock!) - they pale in comparison to the subjects of the movie I watched the next day - Fall From Grace. This movie was about the Westboro Baptist Church (the God Hates Fags people) and followed them around from protest to protest. It's basically one really large family that functions as a cult more or less. The weird thing is, most of the members seem bright and intelligent. And then to hear this garbage coming from their mouths is almost surreal. The over-riding theme in both of these groups (although to a much greater degree with the Westboro people) are notions of hell, and pain and the devil. There's hardly a mention of loving each other.

Religion can really inspire, but it's also no wonder that it's been used as a mechanism of control throughout the ages - playing on people's worst fears.

1 comment:

Scott Smith said...

Why is it that they focus so much on the negative instead of the things that make people feel good? According to current market research you get people to buy what you’re selling by making them feel good; giving them warm-fuzzies. So is BIG RELIGION just doing it all wrong, or do they know something about the power of hatred to move a product or idea that corporate America has yet to tap into?

I find it truly amazing & disheartening that so many people who claim to be religious are so negative, judgmental, and uncaring for anyone who has a different way of thinking or living.

Oh man, don't get me started on this topic...

By the way, did you see the article by Ricky Gervais that I posted on my blog?