Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Socialization of children into extreme views

I watched some of the documentary "Jesus Camp" last night, and I had mixed reactions to it.

I was particularly disturbed by the extreme (by society's norms) socialization of children. Extreme not so much in how they did it, but rather what they were socializing the children to. Put differently, if the same things had taken place with adults, I would have laughed a little and not really cared, but with children it seemed very inappropriate.

And yet, by the film's protagonist's own logic, children are constantly socialized into various worldviews--why not this one of culture-war, conservative Christianity?

Why is this so bothersome?


John said...

I haven't seen it, but my 2¢ based on friends growing up in families that were very culturally Christian and heavy into "indoctrination" is this:

The indoctrination tends to stick for life or snap like a twig in the late teens and early twenties (at which point they rebel a bit and then make a "free choice"). I'm a lot more comfortable around the latter group, whatever the choice.

Brad Wright said...

I think that you're right, John, that these are the things that often happen.

What's up with the new, respectable user profile?

Dan Myers said...

This might be unexpected, but I'm not as bothered by the Jesus Camp socialization stuff as most of my friends seem to be. Maybe it's because I grew up in some of that stuff, so it doesn't seem as foreign to me. Maybe it's because I think those kinds of socialization efforts, as dramatic as they seem on film when presented in extremely concentrated doses, are really nothing compared to the day-in-day-out barrage of socialization influences we get from mainstream culture, media, family, etc. etc. Getting emotionally worked up at a summer camp isn't going to amount to much in the long run for most people. Some of these people obviously have more influencing them toward extreme views than just Becky's camp, but even so, those are the rare ones and even so, only the very unusual case is going to end up in the place the stars of the show do. But the bottom line is that extremism is very much in the eye of the beholder. If you are used to this kind of stuff, it doesn't seem extreme. If you aren't used to the kind of, for example, violence or sexuality that exists in our mainstream media, that's going to seem extreme.

Dan Myers said...

Forgot to say, if anyone's interested in my longer take on this issue, here's my review.

John said...

"What's up with the new, respectable user profile?"

Err, I missed a few client emails to johnswright ~ at ~ gmail.com... I occasionally get emails to that account that I've missed, so it's my default on firefox while knumbknuts is the default on IE... and I use firefox more.

Glad you asked? ;)

kent said...

I saw the film and it is creepy. I love Jesus and the film is creepy.

S.S.Stone said...

That film frightend me a little bit too.

Brad Wright said...

Dan, I remember your review and appreciated it.

I guess my post was asking why I didn't have the same response as you did. I realize that children are constantly being socialized by everything and everyone, so why worry about this one. Still, I had a similar reaction as Kent and Sarah

Brad Wright said...


I understood enough of your answer to realize you were answering my question, but had no idea as to the answer's meaning. That's okay--much of my life is like that.