Make Me A Christian

Decency, respect, moderation – Britain built on christian values – the Channel 4 programme was about bringing people the message of faith to answer problems of modern living and transform the life of volunteers with three mentors of different denominations headed by George who backed firefighters in Scotland refusing to hand out leaflets at a Gay Parade, started the Christian Party, and in a previous life wrote the song “So Macho” below

The people chosen are:

  • a biker who’s a tattooist and a militant atheist (Martin)
  • a young man who was brought up Christian until he was 12, and now has a girlfriend who is 10 weeks’ pregnant
  • a lap-dancing manager who can’t live without continually acquiring expensive designer shoes (Faye)
  • middle-class parents who are so professionally busy that they have hardly any time to spend with their children
  • a man in his 20s who, unbeknown to his girlfriend, goes out every week drinking and womanising (Kevin)
  • a man who found Christianity unfulfilling and has converted to Islam
  • a lesbian who sometimes sleeps with men (Laura).

These individuals are up for conversion – or at least not be the same after three weeks with the mentors. The start is York Minster, where they are told that god loves you no matter what you have done and we are a christian nation. I will allow you to guess which one of the above did not go in who thinks it was built to keep the peasants in line.

The word of god and the person of Jesus – now at the teaching centre in Leeds and Martin is very much making himself felt with a joke that the last thing Jesus will want to see again is another crucifix; and disrupting proceedings by asking questions. The reason given that we should believe the Old Testament is because Jesus believed it. George deals with Martin by shouting over him and telling him to listen rather than ask questions.

Next off to their homes to remove anything which may be a hindrance to living a good life. The family household have 6 televisions in the house; the suggestion of family time together seems like a winner (even if bible reading). Laura has DVDs and art which reflects her sexuality (“The big book of Lesbian Horse stories”) which is removed from the house.

Father John however brings something for the house of the expectant family – a picture of the Pope and a crucifix. The lap dancer manager Faye however is into Wicca books and memorabilia. George declares this as engaging in demonic powers and declares her a witch. Thankfully a lecture on bible teaching rather than a burning ensues. Perhaps more interesting is how much she is spending on designer gear for her self image (the mentor helpfully suggests she is on the road to hell).

The issues that seem to be coming up are not explicitly ones to do with faith, but rather well known psychological issues and things that people do. The programme annoyingly keeps telling you what they are doing at the end of every commercial break and recapping what has already been shown. It looks like the repetition of a central message – but it gets a tad annoying.

Now on to “Lynx lad” Kevin who is being visited by the female Anglican vicar Joanna – unlike George that gave Faye a hard time about sex, her concern is him being unfaithful and the recreational use of sex. She goes through his phone and deleting said ladies’ numbers on his phone.

A saviour forces us to deal with our sins; the christian life cannot be led with a life of sin and George is having problems with Martin over this. Revelry, fornication, adultery, abortion, drunkenness – George suggests avoiding these in the next three weeks.

So off we go to an abortion clinic – where the number of those that die from unprofessional abortions is mentioned. Vicar Joanne mentions Isaiah where god would not break a reed because he cares for the vulnerable (1 Samuel 15 and the instruction by god to Saul to commit genocide and kill babies?). Kevin is now set up to be tested for STDs – to be confronted with possible consequences of his behaviour which includes not practising safer sex with multiple same partners. The answer is the bible rather than safer sex and perhaps just getting an early night alone. George helpfully suggest that he will have Aids by 30 and gives him a mantra for when he starts lusting on his night out. If only Kevin had said the problem with the women is because he is so macho.

There is nothing like empowering people’s self worth, showing them the need for change and how it will benefit them and their family. But this programme is not about that, and if George is going to be the head liner for Christianity on TV Christians up and down the country may be tempted to throw themselves to the lions.

[EDIT review of episode 2 here]

[EDIT review of epsiode 3 and entire series here]

Thanks to Fiona for giving me a heads up about the programme.

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17 Comments

Filed under Religion

17 responses to “Make Me A Christian

  1. Chris Brown

    I’ve just seen it. It was horrible on so many counts.
    And they’d have had a much harder time with me: no glaring “immoralities” to correct, and volumes upon volumes of theology and philosophy on my bookshelves which led me, after many years of study, to reject the source of their “certain” pronouncements.
    But shots of someone making notes and comparing books probably wouldn’t have been “reality” enough for Channel 4. However real it actually was.

  2. ” where the number of those that die from unprofessional abortions is mentioned” What does that mean? If women die while murdering their own child then they reaped what they sowed. They are murderers and they died in the act of committing their murder.

  3. It means that the issue of why women have abortions and going through the process will happen whatever the legal status of the practise. Back alley abortions was the main reason it was legalised in the UK.

    As to your comment, so much for loving the sinner and hating the sin …

  4. 19thkiller

    As we in the internet say, Sweet Babby Jeebus!
    Faith is awesome, faith in god’s is worse.

  5. Justin

    What a good read! Thanks for your contribution to the debate!

    As a Christian, it pains me to see so much abuse, misunderstanding, hatred and a complete lack of compassion from many in the Church towards the culture they are called to love.

    As far as any nation being a ‘Christian’ nation, I think whether America or Britain, that’s generally a vast over-generalization. A nation can be no more Christian than it can love chocolate ice cream.

  6. Laura Jane

    Hang on Rev Donald Spitz,

    Aren’t you supposed to preach hate the sin love the sinner??? I wonder if you had been a unmarried woman in the 50s and made the msitake of getting pregnant and religion gave you no understanding and you were made to feel like you had shamed the family…so because there was no compassion you felt your only option was to have an abortion. You have a back street one on your own and nearly die from it. OK you decided to keep it…the man who got you pregnant won’t marry you and so you are shipped off to some mother and babies unit knowing full well when you give birth to this child it will be ripped from your arms and you will never see it again. Is this compassion and love???

    Today I believe abortion should not be taken lightly but you can’t just preach what you have said and that is that. It isn’t always that black and white sweetheart. But hay you are a middle class white male, I am guessing, so you would know all about what it feels like for a woman with no options. No options…like being raped by a family member and the church forgiving that bastard but then telling the woman she is a muderer because she is 14 and doesn’t wan’t to keep her dad’s baby…..

    I think until you are woman and have been in certain very difficult situations you can’t preach.

    Oh and by the way I am Laura, the lesbian from the “Make me a Chrstian” Doc

    I will say one thing, they used their bair with care…..

  7. Laura Jane

    They used their bait with care

  8. Laura Jane

    George the Rev, did write the lyrics to So macho. As a gay woman I have been in many clubs where gay man have danced to this and pulled other gay men. I mean talk about being a advocate George Hargreaves. He still takes the royalties from this song and gives it to the chruch. I would have no problem with that if he wasn’t preaching against gays rights. I mean if he was living by his word he woud have nothing to do with the song and his past because they are ingrained in a culture which is disapproved off by Jesus and because George doesn’t have independent thought from a white guy that lived 2000 years ago he should cut all ties from that sex fuelled song. Of course he hasn’t so when he was preaching to me, oh lets no forget in a nice way, I couldn’t help but sing the song to him.

    After filming I would then go and teach secondary school children, go to the gym, maybe go out for a meal with my lovely girlfriend who got a first at Leeds Uni. You know all the things a real sinner does.

    Me loving another human being and her loving me..well that must be stopped because apprantly I am upsetting Jesus. The conclusion that I came to was if i was upsetting a higher power then that higher power would let me know. I wasn’t going to made to feel like I was going to the firey flames of hell by a guy that is a advocate for gay sex.
    “So macho…big and strong and turn you on”

    Laura, and lets not forget the The lesbian…because that is all there is about me!!!

  9. Hi Laura,

    I am sure there is much more about you – I trust you got your books and photos back.

    I found that part where they removed items reminiscent of my childhood when my mum started studying with the Jehovah’s Witnesses – where after a few months they did search the house for un christian things. So bye bye star wars figures and a pac man arcade game.

  10. Laura Jane

    Oh I go it back. I love that photo of me…I look great. I can tell the gran kids I was hot lol
    Look this is what it is….reality TV. I thought I might have signed up a serious doc about religion but after the first day of filming I realised NO. Trust me this programme is not going to be a advocate for religion. I met some interesting people, had a laugh and learnt a lot about the Bible. I got into some lively debates but because I didn’t throw a chair whilst doing it I fear they would show them.

    Smile

    Laura…..oh yea Lesbian Laura now lol

  11. I Knew my name would catch up one day, and ill take your grads “I told you granny was fit photos” if you dont mind xx and you did look great x

  12. Nat Bambino

    you’ve always been lesbian laura, we just didn’t tell you x x x

  13. Pingback: Make Me A Christian - Episode 2 « Homo economicus’ Weblog

  14. Tom

    /Begin Rant

    Channel 4 documentary Sunday night.
    Taking a group of people from all walks of life and making them live “the christian lifestyle” for 3 weeks. Sorry What? Since when has the most important thing about being a christian been the lifestyle?
    I am a Christian because I believe in a loving, real God who died for my sins and wants to have a loving relationship with me… I am not a christian becuase i go to church on Sunday, sing the right songs etc…
    Now i’ll admit that being a christian does affect the way i act and behave but the change is a reaction to the relationship with God.

    This documentary was edited so that being a christian is about how you act… These are the rules you must follow and then you are a christian. Did they even mention Jesus? Did they even explain what being a christian is about? Some of these people have been hurt and broken by the world and they need that loving relationship to help put them back together, and tbh i suspect that the ministers shared this with them and told them about Jesus unconditional love for each and every one of them.

    But, and this is a big but; the main point of my rant. The way it it was edited didn’t show this, it sensationalised it to show the public what they like to see- a bunch of people being told they are wrong and being told how to fix and then watching them fail… This isnt how to “teach” people christianity- which is a flawed concept anyway as it isnt religion that these people need but faith- this is sensationalised entertainment.
    The Ministers, who channel 4 have set up like Jedi masters training their incompetent padiwans instead of caring shepards trying to guide their flock, told them all that they were all loved no matter what sins they had committed at which point a voiceover took over… This point was just glazed over and yet its so important.

    We are all sinners… Every one of us. And we’re all the same- the murders and the little boy who stole the cookie from the cookie jar,the ministers have sinned as much as the people they were teaching. There is no sliding scale as far as God is concerned, no shades of grey. We are all stained by sin and all need forgiveness which none of us could ever earn… The only way we can ever be made clean is through Jesus, that is why he died… to take the blame for our sin, and allow us to have a relationship with God.

    Yet i dont think this was ever explained to the participants… they were told that you are sinners and were going to change this… Well thats not a very christian attitude… Not that i’m saying that what they were doing is right, or that lifestyles dont change in christians… because they do. But only in response to a real relationship with a living and loving God.

    Anyway i shall watch and see what the results of this “experiment” are… I had tremendous respect for the poledancer who knew she had problems and was clearly touched by some of the things that were said to her… All she needed is for someone to tell her that she is loved for who she is, how God loves all of us. I also suspect that the large loud guy will get a lot out of it, because he seems smart enough to realise that he doesnt need religion… he needs relationship.

    /End Rant

    And yeh- strongely agree with one of the other comments, hate the sin, love the sinner! This program really does make me quite angry… just so sensationalised. Now if channel 4 took those ppl to soul survivor for a week and filmed what happened and showed it- that would be much better.

  15. Pingback: When is a christian not a Christian? « Homo economicus’ Weblog

  16. Pingback: Make Me A Christian - Episode 3 and Review of Series « Homo economicus’ Weblog

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