Or… a less crappy pun that juxtaposes something about telephones and God. There must be dozens. My imagination fails me.
See, the thing about this story here is that I can kinda see how some of the people involved might think it’s cute, innocent, harmless fun.
This week-long “vacation Bible school” gave a bunch of 6-to-9-year-olds the chance to play games, make things, do all the usual kids-summer-camp-type stuff, but with a Jesus-y sort of theme to it. For the most part, it actually sounds like a benevolent and constructive thing. It gives these kids something practical to do and make and feel good about and proud of, with set topics of “trust, love, caring, following and sharing” guiding the activities.
It doesn’t really sound like some hard-core Christian brainwashing thing, any more than Camp Quest is about sending your kids to be shouted at by Richard Dawkins. The description of this place kinda reminds me of the Sunday school I used to go to, in parts, and I doubt the kids will find it harder to shake off the lessons being taught at them than I did.
In fact, I really wonder if they’re getting any more religion thrown at them at this camp than they would have done if they’d stayed at home all week. They’ve all got the kind of parents who send their kids to a “vacation Bible school”, after all.
But… that’s still pretty creepy, isn’t it? The part where the grown-ups running the camp phone up these kids and pretend to be God to give them insipid advice?
I suppose the obvious comparison is to Santa Claus, who is regularly portrayed by deliberately deceptive adults, and believed in by children. But the rationale behind adults telling their kids about Santa is to give them something special and magical to believe in while they have the chance, and which is probably something they enjoyed believing in themselves when they were younger. It’s always part of the deal that someday they’ll tell them it’s all made up.
But that’s not the plan here. These adults are hoping that the kids will continue to believe in this particular idea – in God, if not specifically in the phone call – for the rest of their lives. The deception is there to bolster what they intend to be a lasting belief, not just something fun for the kids to enjoy while they’re young and don’t know any better.
It starts to seem less cute a story when you remember that kids believe this kind of stuff. They’re not stupid, they just haven’t had a chance to learn yet that all grown-ups are horrible liars. So, thanks for doing your bit to educate them in that regard, I guess.
Hat-tip to the Friendly Atheist for the story.
…Minutes from Heaven? Y’know, like manna… no, no, you’re right. Sorry.