After a recession of religious zealous during the 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, after the fall of the last Islamic empire, the entrenchment of the United States status as World super power, and the birth of the state of Israel. The religious mentality was reborn again.
At this point of time religious polarization of the globe has reached the point that we have presidents declaring a new age of the crusades, children being absorbed by martyrdom ideology and blunt usage of the rules of the gentiles.
The world seems to be psychotic !
Although religious population as a whole is declining, that gave rise to a backlash of fundamentalists extremism in the world's four major religions (since I don't have much knowledge about Hinduism, but given what I know about India, and it being one of the most religious countries in the world it might pertain to it as well).
Now regarding what I'll write about in this post, I have no status to speak from, I have no authority what so ever to be didactic. I am just a person with what he considers as 8 years of experience in life, and am just trying to share what goes through my head about this specific issue, since it personally affects me every day. So if you are offended by my piece of mind, please try to talk to me about it with out being too abusive (do i sound too scared .... am just trying to be gentle thats all and asking the same in return :D )
The overwhelming majority of us were born into a faith, based on that it shapes our outlook to life. It was always interesting how much of that shapes who we are in the world. We don't have a real choice when it comes to religion.
When a baby is born into this world it has no perception of religion, but as soon as you hear his first cry he starts feeling the full effect of religion in his daily life.
If he is born to Jewish, or Muslim parents then you are guaranteed that he is going to be circumcised (am not saying this is a bad thing or a good thing). Their name that they are going to carry for the rest of their life will reflect their religion in one way or another. Even their social status in some religions. plus the untold baggage of history that he will learn to carry on his back no matter where he is going to end up in his life.
Well in case you are wondering what Christian children have to go through then it is baptism, and until recently roman catholic children who died before they were baptized were going to reside in "limbo", so the pope naturally sent "them" to heaven .... it only took 8 centuries to come to that realization !
Now little children are like sponges they take in whatever information they find available to them, so evidently the most ripe age to in doctrine children in articles of faith is at a young age
"43% of evangelical Christian become "born-again" before the age of 13"
Now evangelical Christians, Wahhabi (Salafi) Muslims, and Haredi Jews (funny thing the Firefox spell checker doesn't seem to recognize any word related to Judaism) got more in common than they think.
The main theme is to isolate the community in order to protect it from the outside world,
they discourage their followers from interacting with the outside world unless for necessity.
So children being brought up in such an environment (or for that matter these extreme examples could be expanded to other "moderate" sects) can really be moved in either way, since their critical thinking has been stripped out of them, and enforced with promises of eternal damnation instead.
Now one documentary that brought this to light was "Jesus Camp
" (if your interested in seeing it u can download it at the bottom but you need bittorrent to do so). It just follows 3 evangelical children aged 9, 12, and 10 years old. What was shocking to me is not that they were inducing mass hysteria into the kids and getting them to speak, not that they were getting them to protest abortion, not that they were telling them that the earth is 6000 years old, and not even that they were praying and blessing George W. Bush !
It was how similar things were to how things are going on here (as in the Arab world), they even were looking up to the methods and commitment Palestinian children. the way the children work hard to garner the admiration and approval of their parents really drove their psyche to the edge.
Here is what one of the children's minister's and what she thinks about what children should do;
"I want to see people committed to the cause of JC as they are to the cause of Islam radically laying down their lives for the Gospel as they are... because "excuse me" we have the "TRUTH" " - Becky Fischer, a children minister
now that is a dangerous thought to pass on to the children, and that mentality of confrontation rather than understand is so entrenched that its hard to purge it when they are all grown up.
Ideas like global warming is not a real problem, just keep on guzzling fuel like we did. After all the world is ending anyways!
That "science doesn't proof anything
" and that the age of the earth and humanity is approximately 6000 years.
These are really very dangerous thoughts. If you believe those without a shred of doubt then your critical thinking abilities have been shredded to nihilism.
Now the double whammy is that most of the evangelical children are home schooled, i.e. they are not scrutinized to peer critique.
So the end product; you get children saying things like:
"when I dance I really have to make sure that its for God, cause people will notice when you are dancing for the flesh" - Tory, 10 years old
"sometimes I don't even believe in what the bible says that makes me a faker. that makes me feel guilty and bad cause god always talked to me about that and I kept rejecting him" - a young boy at the camp after having a break-down
"I was saved when I was five years old" - Levi, 12 years old
"this world all it feeds you is trash" - Levi, 12 years old
"thats what alot of people in this world are! they are sick, they are looking for something. " - Levi, 12 years old
when I heard those lines, they just seemed so familiar.
So essentially we end up with a closed minded generation of kids, who are willing to suspend all logic for the sake of their faith. who started their political activism from the youngest age, and blindly adhere to a single party of thought. This makes them very susceptible to manipulation by a figure head. They have no ability to understand other school of thoughts and blatantly fight them and ridicule them.
Now think about this scenario but look at it happening in all three major religions, who all believe they are getting ready for the confrontation of Armageddon.
Thats the nature of the world that I was born into, how lucky am I.
I can't really think what could be done to change the route these people are taking, the only way I can think of ,but will never be implemented in the age that it really matters, is to teach comparative religions that way the thoughts and ideas will not be foreign. Ridicule will be minimized since it'll be done in a safe environment that diffuses it, and people will learn to be tolerant and more understand, even the moderate and less religious people need that !
They should be the ones pushing for it, but alas our pride will stop us from understanding since ridiculing others is the easiest and safest way...
As i promised here is a link to "Jesus Camp" on the web
, and if you would like to watch it here is a bittorent download
Just for irony's sake the camp was called "kids on fire
", held in Devil's lake, North Dakota.
I leave you with those two quotes:"we are engaged today in what they call a culture war... we want to reclaim America for Christ""Devil we know what you like to do ..."
ps. although this was originally not meant to talk about "Jesus camp" as much as it ended up doing, but it felt very applicable since its one of the few sources in my memory of religious extremism in children.
ps. i wanted to confine this part to topics pertaining to the children .ps. this article was a tough writting i just hope i did my thoughts justice with my words (i don't know how to carry this conversation on with out getting people to pull me one way or another....... GRRRR )
Labels: Blast, hyperbole reality, Religion