B – I – B -L – E : Biblical Instruction Before Leaving Earth.
This abbreviation will stay with me. It was discovered one recent Sunday evening as I started to watch the Channel 4 documentary ” Make me a Christian.” The main aim for me was to discover one thing. What evidence did the ministers, involved in this social experiment, give their sample, (non-Christians) used in this experiment, to convince them of the credibility and validity of accepting, believing and living a Christian faith ? The results from my own analysis with respect to finding this evidence was: nothing. That was what disappointed me the most. But then there were many flaws, in my opinion, in this very interesting programme filmed over three weeks.
I have to be brief because of time but this is the gist of this programme and why it was made. British society, in terms of standards- What are standards? is in a rapid decline. Crime, anti-social behaviour and promiscuity are all rising. To halt this tide of behaviour a group of ministers including both Protestant and Catholic denominations, headed by one American evangelical ( The Rev Hargreaves) decided to bring the gospel teaching of Jesus Christ and the word of God to life for three weeks in this sample group. The group comprised of, as examples, an hardened atheist, an ordinary family, a young male lapsed Catholic, a lesbian woman and a wild partying male, who admitted he slept with many women behind his girlfriend of two years back. After three weeks of experiencing Christian teaching would anyone of these indidviduals lives change? The Rev Hargreaves used the above abbreviation to define what he felt the bible stood for.
As someone who has recently studied research and the findings of empirical evidence whilst learning the skills of critiquing research, I viewed this programme in a very different light, compared to my husband who found it very good and enjoyable. I questioned how the sample group was made up. How the various members and their personalities may effect the results found. Was this group a good sample to have? Were any of the people shown, with potential pyschological problems discovered within the programme, be exploited for the christian purpose of belief ? Worryingly, who was on hand to professionally counsel these people, as some were soon falling apart with the experimental conditions observed. Any research has to have these ethics of protection from harm in place, especially qualitative research when people’s human feelings and emotions were explored. I am sure the film producers must have had these in place. I just did not see it.
I found the programme highly manipulative in places and give two examples. I do not feel showing pro -abortionist in the group video clippings of actual surgical terminations of pregnancy to alter their view, almost in a controlling way, very acceptable. Nor, do I find the almost enforced marching of the promiscuous male into a sexually transmitted clinic, of which initially he knew nothing about where he was, to confront his behaviour over his sexual habits. This included showing pictures of diseases and almost forcing him to give an urine sample to test for Chlamydia. The man was sent off to pee but said he could not do it. I cringed with acute embarrasement with the interview/consultation. I felt this did nothing to promote the Christian cause.
After the three weeks, some attitudes and lives were changing. However, there were many hurdles along the way. There was a subtle pressure of one women to abstain from sex, and one person to give up her “black magic”. Sure, it did expose some highly vulnerable people who clearly needed help to overcome low self-esteem and deep personal issues. No-one came away truly converted, though for some definite Christian seeds were sown. Notably, the young partying male owned up to his behaviour to his girlfriend. I think she walked away from the relationship which was not surprising.
In conclusion, I was not told once why this book called the Bible should be followed or why it is true. It was the case of this is truth, accept what I say and that is it. All I am saying is I question that and continue to look and search for my own answers. I did find the programme worth while to watch but came aways with more questions than answers. Did anyone else see it? I would value any comments.