Monday, 16 March 2009

Deborah, 13, Servant of God

I am in shock after watching this. Worth a watch though disturbing at points this is a documentary about a very extreme teenage Christian.

I was torn during watching. At points I wanted to give her a little shake and tell her there is evidence for the Big Bang and question some of the assumptions she has made. At other points I wanted to give her a hug because she is very little to be preaching so much and looked a bit bewildered for much of the programme.

I really didn't agree with the family life. Not that I'm criticising home in the country with a big family and siblings you are close to, I think there were some nice points about their life. But the parents have clearly kept them away from society so they can't question what they've been brainwashed in to believing.

These kids don't have any friends, are homeschooled and listen to bible tapes as they fall asleep, what kind of childhood is that?

Even her brother looked sad when he talked about her preaching to people about hell and the fact she doesn't have any friends. I was also slightly amused that her 'going out into the real world' was Buxton, I have been to Buxton and it's a lovely place but it's hardly party central.

I was starting to experience being a teenager her age and yes there are problems and bad points to teenage life but I don't see that as a reason to try and shield your children from the real world. I made mistakes and had good and bad experiences during my teenage years but I wouldn't trade it for being brainwashed and kept away from the world.

Most importantly, aside from me disagreeing with their beliefs or principles, the question I would have to ask her and her parents is, is she really happy?

She looked miserable for most of the documentary, a very nervous little child who calls herself wretched and criticises herself for any tiny sin she may have committed. If she was smiling and carefree I would believe that right or wrong her life was working for her but she looked miserable and even cried at the end.

I felt irritated, creeped out and uncomfortable for parts of the documentary but mostly I felt sorry for her in the end because not only has she been taught religion as truth rather than an idea but she's been kept away to ensure she really has no choice in the matter. And when she does go out into the world she will no doubt alienate people by telling them they are going to hell and so remain lonely and convinced in everything she has been told growing up and I find that very sad.