Vlog: In conversation with my 8-year-old self

In 1994, BBC2 broadcast “God’s Not Boring” a short film I’d made for their As Seen On TV series. I talked about how God is awesome and stuff because… well, there wasn’t much else in my life at the time, to be honest.

This video pretty much sums up my entire blog. So please share it. I do feel I’m going out on a limb sticking this back out in public (it’s never been repeated or put online before, so this has been my guilty secret for 18 years).
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About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on August 10, 2012, in Christianity, Creationism, Faith Schools, Fundamentalism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. That sir is a brave post. If there were video of my life and beliefs at that age I would not have the guts to show it. I don’t even have the courage to talk about what it was really like to go from the bubble of fundamentalism to the reality of the US Army. A little before you did that video in about 92 or 93 I heard Wasted Years by Iron Maiden for the first time and it hit me like a hammer.

    • Thank you. I’m happy to share it, as long as it makes a difference to someone. I wouldn’t have made it out of fundamentalism if I hadn’t read philosophers and other thinkers on the subject. I hope I can help out some people who are where I was ten years ago.

  2. Are you saying this is your last post on this site?
    Some aspects of this post remind me of “Everybody is Changing” by Keane.

  3. A V Scaramanga

    Oh Jonny, brave and brave again. Heart breaking for me somehow – although I know you have come through so much. But you are delicious in that film. I bet loads of people say so too. xxxx

  4. That’s a fantastic video. Thanks for sharing it.

    I grew up at a time when conservative Christians were saying that rock music came from Satan. I guess they changed their minds when they found out ways that they could use it.

    • Christian rock was still quite controversial in my church. A lot of people went to Petra concerts, but a lot of others thought the style of music was inherently evil, regardless of who played it or what the lyrics said.

      This made Christian rock the most exciting thing ever. By the mid-90s, rock music was not considered dangerous or counter-cultural anymore (except for maybe Marilyn Manson), but through Christian rock I could feel mildly rebellious while also perfectly Godly.

  5. Aw well done sharing that. You’ve definitely come a long way since then. It’s just so unfortunate for the people that haven’t, though…
    And here we find the only proof that you weren’t born with spiky hair.

  6. Thanks for sharing that. Seeing the bit that with you and the bicycle reminds me of how silly I was because I believed the same thing once but now when I see people say that it reminds me of “The Secret” except substitute God for the universe, and I just feel stupid. I am not sure about the church you grew up in but for several churches I know I have to disagree with you about the “everyone loses” comment, while the poor people in the pews are being tricked out of their much needed money and it’s not being given to feed starving people or help the homeless very often the preachers are become rich off it. There are numerous evangelical leaders who make a very tidy income much of it taken from their congregation.

    • Yeah, I’m well aware of that. They’re rare in the UK though. The prosperity gospel is such a fringe thing here that, at least where I am, most of the churches were tiny and struggling. Even in the more successful churches, I saw enough to convince me that the pastors were sincerely deluded, whereas I think some of the American preachers are outright con artists. It almost makes it more poignant, because the pastors are losing money just as badly as everyone else.

      • Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that you weren’t aware of it. I have had friends in such churches and it has had a significant impact on me so sorry. I’m not sure which is worse a sincerely deluded person deluding others or a con artist deluding his flock.

      • You have nothing to apologise for. This blog is a place for people who have been affected by this to talk about it, and I’m glad to have your perspective. It’s interesting comparing how people’s experiences in different countries have similarities and differences.

        I think the con artist is more morally disgusting, but there’s something tragic about the sincerely deluded person, that only this faceless, unconscious doctrine benefits, and it doesn’t care.

  7. Joe 'Blondie' Manco

    You rock that tennis racket pretty hard. I was never a fan of racket sports so as a child rockstar I preferred to strap a grip ball mitt to a cricket bat.

  8. I watch that video and it makes my skin crawl. I was just like that at that age. Kids hated me at school coz I was so preachy. I once emptied a purse full of change into the collection bucket at a christian rally because I though I was doing the right thing for god. I listened to Stryper, which is perhaps worst of all. Can’t help feeling that my youth was completely wasted.

    • There were definitely worse bands in the 80s than Stryper. “To Hell With The Devil” is a cracking tune! I am only partially being ironic.
      I checked out your blog on faith healing. It’s great. My thinking is that everything we went through makes us who we are, so if we can pull a good life out of what happened, it wasn’t wasted.

      • I’m with you on the last point, Stryper though……didn’t they throw bibles at the audience? Not King James’ hopefully. Thank you for introducing me to Krokus…….

      • I wish I could punch the person who introduced me to Krokus!

        Stryper were indeed Bible chuckers, quite literally. Pocket-size New Testaments only though. Quite unlikely any fans were ever decapitated. I have read that venue floors were covered in unclaimed Bibles after Stryper gigs though!

  9. Just found your blog today. That video made my day. Thanks for your bravery in sharing! I have distinct memories of acting out Petra’s “This Means War” with my brother as a kid. He always made me be Satan. 😛 Your beliefs at age 8 were the same as mine. Looking back from outside of Christianity now, I’m nothing short of amazed by the years my family was consumed by fundamentalism. And my brother who made me play Satan would probably name me an enemy now if he knew that I walked away.

    • Thanks Carlie. Although every time someone mentions a Christian rock song in my comments, I feel an uncontrollable urge to watch it on YouTube, for some reason.

      Your comment about your brother is so sad. I don’t understand how people can continue with beliefs that rip families apart needlessly.

  10. And here I thought my fundamentalist childhood was crazy. I was about your age when first me and then the rest of my family converted to a ‘crazy’ branch of fundamentalism, which because of the dangerous and crazy lifestyle my parents were living at the time seemed for many years like a sanctuary. However, as is usually the case with this type of thing, the centre could not hold, especially in a religiously apathetic country like New Zealand and for someone like myself, who tends towards being rather OCD about making all the pieces of a jigsaw fit together. I like how you call your blog ‘leaving’ fundamentalism – good luck. 🙂

    • Thank you for all your great comments on my blog. I’m in a rush this evening and don’t have time to do them all justice now. Thanks for the good luck. I’m trying to build a community for people who have experienced this kind of thing, and I’m glad to have you here any time you want.

  11. Hey Jonny,

    Thanks for sharing this! Your final words on how you were on “a path to unhappiness” are especially revealing to me. So many people are willing to harm themselves and others because they are convinced that they will find “paradise” and “happiness” if they bring enough sacrifices. I’ve met both men and women who would do anything to “gain” (or regain) the partner of their dreams, for instance, giving up the freedom to be who they are, changing themselves, and thinking happiness is looming on the horizon in return for what they’ve given up. The tragic irony, of course, is that they become more frustrated and bitter as time goes by, becoming unhappy while striving for happiness… (“for whoever wants to save his life will lose it?”).

    Most of us have the tendency to walk on (like an emperor in so-called new clothes), in a stubborn denial of reality, convincing ourselves that others are in fact “less fortunate” in a way. We often resent what we deeply desire for ourselves, thereby concealing our envy of what we publicly despise or feel sorry for – you know, like paternalistic “good” christians feeling sorry for “the sinners” (or like some good Pharisee feeling sorry for the sinner in the back…). It takes a lot of courage to be honest with yourself and the world, to walk away from your “comfort-zone”, to free yourself, and to start loving reality (the reality of yourself and others) – even if truth hurts sometimes, and even if it doesn’t promise you “paradise” like some drug or “opiate for the masses” does…

    Take care,

    Erik

  12. A very touching video. I too was a fundamentalist child who had the answer for everyone and made sure they heard about it. That was before the rise of prosperity doctrine though. Children should not have the burden of instructing others in what they have been taught but are not yet able to investigae on their own. I always enjoy reading your blog.

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