Responding to Jesus Bootcamps
The recent startling and poignant 2006, Academy Award nominated film, “Jesus Camp,” reported that 1 out of every 4 Americans considers themselves evangelical Christians.
The film exposes the way in which young children in evangelical, fundamentalist churches in the United States are indoctrinated with polarized, absolutist and intolerant moral schemas from the age of five on up. The film is highlighted by scenes in which children are told that the science of global warming and evolution, for example, are evil conspiracies created by people in need of God: the sinners.
The temptation after viewing such a film is to exhibit the same behavior, to place the mind or spirit in polarized opposition to Christian fundamentalism.
Transcending this cycle of polarization is difficult. But in working towards a synthesis, towards peaceful dialogue, it is important to recognize that another large majority of the Christian culture in the US would claim to be far more moderate or liberal in comparison. In a recent edition of National Geographic one such Christian, Francis Collins, is interviewed.
Collins is the current leader of the Human Genome project and author of The Language of God, The End of Science, and Rational Mysticism. Collins’ voice in the recent interview offers a guiding hand for those moderate Christians seeking fusions of rationality and intuition, science and divinity. His thoughts may be equally helpful for enraged liberals too dramatically polarized from fundamentalists or Christianity entirely.