Monthly Archives: August 2007

Jesus Camp strikes home

I wanted to see Jesus Camp when it first came out, for a variety of reasons I was unable to. Many friends reminded me that I should take the time to watch it. Last night, I did and I thank my friends for the extra push.
Jesus Camp was VERY reminiscent of what I grew up with as a kid. I have family from Missouri and until the time I watched that movie, I didn’t connect being Evangelical to what I was and how I was raised.

Starting back, I was raised a Lutheran. My mother, who is no longer with me, was a very, very devout Believer. I knew this growing up. Our family was immersed in our faith. My mother raised us three girls on everything, literally, Jesus. We had the tapes (for kids, teenagers and adult demographics), the movies (all demographics), books (all demo), Bibles in multiple formats from tape to book to CD, etc. We went to the concerts, like Jesus Jam, were even as a Christian I was a rebel and talked my way backstage to meet all the singers. I spoke about it at recess to my friends about the New Age movement my mother was always warning about. It was a very, very intense childhood.

Then I grew up, and spent many, many hours talking about my faith with my husband when we had our son at 19. We couldn’t do it anymore, there was too much that wasn’t believable and too much science that we were interested in. We were good people and we generally did good things, we didn’t need to hear every Sunday that we were going to hell for this or that. And it only magnified things that we had a child at 19, oh man, that’s a total going to hell for. Why? We loved each other and to us that’s all that mattered, so what if “God” hated us for having a kid a bit prematurely, we knew we were good. We knew that evolution was a good thing and it was too much for us to spend worrying about, so we dropped it and became agnostics, and remain so today, with a little Buddhist and atheist spice to us. (Oh, and the kid thing, yeah, hell or not, we’ve made it 11.5 years dating, 7.5 married and are now started on our third child. I think we’ll make it, but I digress).

How this tied in to Jesus Camp, well it was very similar to my childhood and how I was raised to believe, I came out of it differently, but I know that others did not. My mother, where I got my strong passions from, directed her passion to this belief. For those of you who know me personally and how passionately I get about things can understand where her direction could be a bit unnerving. She would’ve been a fan of the lady at the camp and the mission of spreading the “Word” to others. And at one point in time, she would’ve been a strong believer in the fight that would take place. I don’t blame her, and it’s hard for me not to sympathize with these kids. They don’t know any better, and they won’t unless they have the opportunity to do so when they’re older.

I’ve heard a lot of people discuss the movie and say that it was terrible and scary and a real eye-opener, well that’s what it’s like to grow up in the midwest. Not everyone, but it’s here. I’ve been to church where the spoken in tongues, lasted for hours on end and one where I got an outline to fill-in (my favorite cause I could pay attention and look up the answers in the Bible while they talked. A past-time I prefer today).

Regardless for all the fear out there of what this lady is doing and what she says, you’re right it’s extreme and wow! But if you listen closely to what they say, it’s the same thing that people like myself say. For example, the mother that home-schools her child at the beginning before camp. She tells him the other sides wrong and we’re right, because we have the Bible to tell us so. She tells him that the other side is crazy and we’re not. I’ve been with people on the other side, becaue that’s where I am and we say the same thing about them. I’m sure their appalled that I let my son see completely nude exhibits like Body the Exhibition in person. Same as I’m appalled by the torcher device they display in front of their children. It a similar argument with different reasoning. The boiled down debate is over who think they’re rightest.

I prefer the scientific method, because it’s grounded in the concrete, the rational, the provable, the testable, the logical. The only fallacies I prefer to tell my kids is about Santa and the Easter Bunny, but that works for me, doesn’t mean that it works for everyone.

For those who are strong believers, like my mother back in the day and some of my family, ok, most, today. As long as it works for you, gets you through your day and you don’t want to physically fight over it, we’re good. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.

Where I draw the line is when there is telling of the kids we’re at war and to arm yourself for the fight and justifying by those in the middle east who teach their kids to bear arms. For a “peaceful” group, on any side, bearing arms first should not be the option. I don’t want to fight, I want to live, this is part of Jesus Camp that unnerved me. I want to peacefully coexist, ironically it seems there are others out there that claim to be believers and say that I’m going to hell for my sinfull ways that would like to take people out for their opposing thoughts. I’m not unrealistic about the fact that people and wars will happen, but don’t proclaim peace, love and forgiveness, to all and the practice the opposite. Whether it be others with dissenting opinions or unwed 19 year old mothers who really only want to hear they can do it, not that they’re going to hell with their kid.

Till next time…

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AI and my two-year old

Last night I went shopping for my soon-to-be two-year-old daughter’s birthday presents. She’s two, so her main criteria for gifts is that it has to have Dora the Explorer on it. Not too big of a standard. We got to the babydoll aisle and were looking at the baby’s. There’s a variety out there for those of you without kids, from the baby’s filled with beads to the top-of-the-line “real” ones. There was one that really stuck out with me and what I’m learning/doing in my interests with AI and the like.

Her name is “Baby Alive Doll” and she’s quite interesting. She blinks, moves her face/mouth, drinks and poops. What bugged me a bit was that she says, “I love you, Mommy!” My daughter just sat and stared at this “baby” in the box. To her it was a real baby stuck in a box. I watched her watch the doll and it was very eerie. Not only did the doll say mommy, but it poos. My daughter is not potty-trained yet, so the idea of purchasing a doll to buy diapers for is disturbing in it own right. One is enough fo me. But it was more than that.
I saw in my daughter’s eyes something as she stared into the package, I couldn’t completely put my finger on it. To me, I felt like the mother in AI: Artificial Intelligence buying David. This doll would be a companion for my daughter, talk to her, keep her busy, ask to play, but…David….it’s not the same, but it felt briefly similar. What if she played rough with the doll, as she does since she hangs out with her brother a lot. And after she played rough,tossed it to the side. Forever saying from the corner, “Play with me mommy!” I am not ready for this just yet. I almost feel for the doll that doesn’t yet feel for itself.
My daughter not knowing any better may feel for her too. This is just a thought, but I’m curious to hear others. The technology is infantile compared to where it’s going, but it’s still a step in that direction, so what is to happen. Is this how we will become accustomed, start with baby and move up from there? Ben Goetzel is working on baby AI and training them. This particular doll is not able to learn, but will Ben move on when his technology’s ready to putting it in these dolls and what type of impact will that have on society? Just thoughts for now, answers/insight are great for shedding any light.

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Filed under AI, AI: Artificial Intelligence, baby, Baby Alive doll, Ben Goetzel, birthday, daughter, David