Posted by: Jim | April 30, 2008

Amazing Article

In Rolling Stone magazine. Here is the print version, which is easier to read.

It’s the story of a guy who infiltrates a modern Christian weekend seminar. Bear in mind, for those of you who know me, this is exactly the type of life experiences I had until I was 32 years old.

Scary stuff, but the article is both poignant and extremely hilarious.



  1. Yep, I can relate. Great article about a pathetically ridiculous subject. A subject I still occasionally have nightmares about.

    * * *

  2. Hilarious – great gonzo journalism, thanks for pointing it out.

  3. Good article. Hilarious. Scary and maddening crap to endure undercover though. I would never have lasted beyond the first day!

  4. Jimmy – Mick, Keith and the boys do not have their own mag – Rolling Stone (sans s’).

    I was raised in a Christian Conference Center (Mt. Hermon, CA), and I think use of the term ‘infiltrate’ makes it sound more like a Nazi camp than a place where like-minded people go to practice their freedom of religion.

    I’m no Bible-thumper, but I thoroughly enjoyed my upbringing. It was not required that you be a Christian to live there, but you understood that Mt. Hermon’s purpose was to help other Christians become stronger in their faith. I can’t really tell if the topic of this article is in any way similar to Mt. Hermon’s ministries, but I can assure you, they’re quite harmless to the non-believer.

    I’m confident there are also similar instances where journalists have attended atheist gatherings and game to a similar conclusion.

    Makes it all kind of moot.

  5. Todd,

    Thanks for the correction, I’ll fix it! (LOL)

    As far as the potential for atheists to become harmful, we’ve discussed that here before and you are right. The Pol Pot regime is one example, and Stalinism is another. However, that does not exonerate any world view that is harmful. The author of the Rolling Stone magazine is not pitting one world view against fundamentalism, he’s merely exposing fundamentalism for what it is: smoke-and-mirrors chicanery that pliant minds succumb to.

    But you seem to be saying “hey, they’re just a bunch of good folks practicing their religion.” I would agree with this assessment if I were to only take a shallow dive into what was going on. Take a deeper dive. The impetus behind this religion is what is determining the future of this country. Mike Huckabee brought forth the “Christian Zionism” agenda in the recent primaries and was laughed off the public stage. But the idea is out there now, and the next time it resurfaces, it will be a little more familiar and people won’t laugh so hard. George W. Bush has also reinforced this agenda with his de facto negation of the Constitution, saying it was “just a goddamned piece of paper.” ( And his words are not the only thing that negated it. His actions have as well–with the full backing of people like the ones in this article–people who have abandoned their reason in favor of a candy-coated lie. They are the same people. Their Jesus-addled brains have also led them to mistakenly believe that Bush is taking them closer to their Zion. Their foolishness is destroying this country.

    So no, this is not a harmless movement. Religion can (and should) be innocuous, just as atheism should be innocuous. Sometimes these innocuous memes can take over a society and become destructive, and it’s the obligation of thinking people to speak out against them. That time has come.

  6. “As far as the potential for atheists to become harmful, we’ve discussed that here before and you are right. The Pol Pot regime is one example, and Stalinism is another.”

    But that is not so much a consequence of atheism as a ‘statist’ approach, that the state is more important than the individual, and, fundamentally, that individuality is not to be trusted. As such, it is not in opposition with aspects of right-wing Christianity found in the US, that embrace similar notions of ‘rooting out the enemies in our midst’ and so forth.

    Perhaps to be intolerant is a facet of human nature, a nature that does not progress. The danger are those individuals and the movements they construct, that are able to increase intolerance in those they minister to, be it an intolerance of other lifestyles, or, as I think Jim seems to hint at, an intolerance of reason itself.

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