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Soul survivor- DN's strange experience

(148 Posts)
DalmationDots Tue 27-Aug-13 21:51:05

My sister and her niece came over yesterday, DN has recently come back from the Soul Survivor camp. I have heard of it before but thought it was a sort of music festival, big church services etc type event. I am not christian.

DN went with her youth group, she wasn't particuarly religious before - she went to the group to socialise. On Monday she spent the whole time telling me about how God cured people there of things like cancer, blindness and other disabilities. She truly believed this had happened. She said she went up to the front and committed in front of thousands her faith. She said she felt like she fainted and that was god taking over her life and body.

My sister later, away from DN, said she was a bit concerned how intense the experience was, and perhaps a bit brainwashing. Apparently the talks were also so intense she cried.

Both me and my sister have no problem whatsoever with DN being a Christian, she loved her time there and I'm glad she is such a sensible, lovely girl. I'm not trying to be anti-religion in any way, but I was just shocked this scale of event happens and how they look after the young people who could get really worked up about it all. Is DN's experience usual? How do they stop (accidental) brainwashing occurring and let the young people make up their own mind with such drastic and extreme worship?

Anyone got more experience? Thanks

CoteDAzur Tue 27-Aug-13 21:56:45

How can these con artists operate legally? shock

Why did your sister send her there?

DalmationDots Tue 27-Aug-13 22:04:26

It is very popular and well known, huge numbers of the UK's church youth groups take their group each year. A lot of DN's friends had been previous years and said it was a great experience...
I think my sister thought it was a sort of low key safe music festival, a bit of a church service and lots of fun/games.

Valdeeves Wed 28-Aug-13 00:07:54

I think therein lies so many problems with religion. True faith is not about brain washing but I think sometimes it is fallen back on - and me personally, I don't like it.

Ididabravebravething Wed 28-Aug-13 00:13:40

I have been - it is not that woo. tell your sister not to worry.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 28-Aug-13 00:19:04

The excitement and expectation of a highly emotional crowd experience can make an experience seem more than it is (ever been to a concert?).

Give her a few weeks and see what DN thinks

DalmationDots Wed 28-Aug-13 14:05:22

Yes I agree the excitement and buzz (similar to a music festival/concert) played a huge part but surely this extreme atmosphere shouldn't be created in order to change/persuade religious belief when it is young people involved?
I am approaching this from the point of view of what measures were in place to stop children finding it all a bit much and overwhelming as my DN did.

Apparently DN was told the atmosphere/feeling in the room was the holy spirit...

I agree Valdeeves, true faith and belief in God should not be attained via children going to a 'festival' where such extreme and intense preaching is occurring evoking powerful emotions.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 28-Aug-13 14:31:50

I assume your DN and her parents were aware that this was a religious thing before she went. Or was she hoodwinked into going?

Are you saying that religious organizations should be prohibited from having such gatherings, but One Direction (for example) should be allowed?confused

CoteDAzur Wed 28-Aug-13 16:58:24

I have nothing against religious gatherings but staging theatrics to convince children that blindness & cancer is being cured as they watch is a con and therefore should be illegal.

Auntfini Wed 28-Aug-13 17:01:58

I went as a teen. IMO it is morally wrong. They hype up the emotion of it in a way that appeals to teens, it's so emotional. I can't really explain what it's like there but I went for years and was, until a few years ago, a very committed, "born again" Christian. I would not send my kids there.

That said, not to worry. In a few weeks her fervour will wane a little

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 28-Aug-13 17:03:40

shock, I missed the cancer and blindness thing. If your DN is still as hyped in a few weeks, perhaps you could ask her how anyone there could possibly know that someone's cancer had disappeared. Also it may be worthwhile to show her the programmed that Derren Brown and (I think) Louis Theroux did on Mass Gatherings and Faith Healings.

MamaMary Wed 28-Aug-13 17:06:20

I'm a Christian and it sounds a little dodgy to me, tbh. But agree with Auntfini, the effects will not be lasting and it will fade over time. I have seen others have these kind of experiences and they don't last.

More concerning is flawed teaching about healing cancer, etc, which could affect the ill and vulnerable.

noisytoys Wed 28-Aug-13 17:20:04

I went to Soul Survivor and Momentum for about 10 years as a teen / young adult. At the time I strongly believed during and immediately after the festival, my belief waned over the year then I went again to have the faith up. Then I saw it for what it is. It is heavily merchandised, popular music (the bands are idolised as much as mainstream bands), there is praise and a feeling of belonging for those who are 'healed', hundreds per night 'give their life to God for the first time and are given free stuff at their conversion', it is just too much of a con for me

DalmationDots Wed 28-Aug-13 18:05:42

Thanks for the replies, great to hear others concerned and your experiences.

DioneTheDiabolist - she and her parents knew it was christian, but not that it was as extreme and as much preaching/coverting young people. They thought it was a music festival (christian music) with lots of fun games/events, different stalls etc. and with services similar to at a church.
I am not saying it should be prohibited, just that it is a very different thing someone being emotionally charged from a boy band they love or a touching song compared to changing their religious beliefs and views.
These young people are purposely put into an atmosphere with lots of hype and peer pressure, then praised if they commit to god. IMO such decisions should be made over time, in an everyday environment and a much less pressured place.
I am concerned that they are not considering the young people's emotionally well being and it all seems not just brainwashing but very extreme. Seems to leave little room for the young people to make their own mind up or choose what they want to believe about God.

Auntfini and noisytoys - interesting to hear you went and now see how brainwashing it was.

I am just so shocked how acceptable this event is seen as by many, apparently most UK church youth groups send their children each year. Really shocking that no one questions whether reducing some to tears and the extremity of it is acceptable. A similar event could take place but with much less hype much more care and respect for young people's well being.

SunshineBossaNova Wed 28-Aug-13 18:27:16

I went to 'Warrior Camp' as a child. It wasn't nearly as slick, but there was pressure on us to 'feel the Holy Spirit'. I remember crying outside the tent wondering why I couldn't get it...

As an adult, I went to an adult event at Wembley, billed as a 'Women's day'. Was it heck - it was a hugely slick promotional device to get women to sign up to a mega-church that demanded tithes and similarly 'healed' all kinds of sickness. Many people went up and were baptised there and then. I took my mum (Baptist) as my 'control Christian' - she was extremely cynical about the whole thing, as I was.

donewiththesebooks Wed 28-Aug-13 19:31:24

I am a Christian and I find all that kind of stuff deeply freaky. There's evangelicalism and then there's mass hysteria. It all just seems to me very shallow and whipped-up and nothing to do with real Christian commitment. As you say, emotional blackmail/pressure on young teens to 'give your life to Jesus' is not OK. A lot of the things they preach at those things are not even true Christianity - it's all just very over-emotional and skewed towards something else imo.

Also, most of the 'churches' who demands tithes and other financial donations are basically just Ponzi schemes. Parish churches might collect for charities during a hymn on Sunday, but that's totally different to demanding a certain amount of money to be part of worship.

I suspect she will come down from the high of it and unfortunately (well I think it's unfortunate, obv) will probably put her off the Christian faith for a good while.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 28-Aug-13 22:32:29

Done, I don't think it's unfortunate. I think that it can do us good to experience and remember how manipulative some situations can be.

springytoffy Thu 29-Aug-13 00:54:03

I think done meant that it was unfortunate it could put her off the christian faith, Dione

Dalmation , perhaps you could go to the event yourself (or your sister could) to check it out for yourselves? I don't know why people are surprised that what happened in the bible can happen today - the bible clearly states that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Yes, there can be an emotional atmosphere but emotion is part of who we are. I get emotional about God sometimes, and was very emotional when I became a Christian - it's hard not to be tbh! C S Lewis eg became a christian through rational/academic research. Of course emotions can be manipulated, but so can rationale.

I haven't been to Soul Survivor but have heard a lot about it - mostly good reports, some not so good. I'm not a big-event type of person but some people are and they enjoy it. If God's around then some amazing things can start happening. God can be slick as well as sitting on a donkey iyswim. It's a slick age - might not be to everyone's taste though.

springytoffy Thu 29-Aug-13 00:59:30

C S Lewis called it 'Surprised by Joy' - and joy is an emotion. He arrived at 'joy' on the top of a bus iirc; and his journey to it was an intellectual one. I suppose because he was the business intellectually etc and didn't leap around, fall over, cry etc, his experience can be seen as more trustworthy. Not necessarily imo. I think God is perfectly capable of handling high emotion and making sense of it over time.

stemstitch Thu 29-Aug-13 01:04:23

done here - have nc

Yes, I meant unfortunate in that it could put her off the Christian faith. Obviously, as I am Christian, I think it's unfortunate, especially as what I know as Christianity is NOTHING like these weird hysterical scam concerts.

I don't deny that God can work miracles - obviously if God fits the definition of God then he can do anything. But it's not like people are getting cured left right and centre at your average Sunday service. Most of the time being a Christian involves plodding along, trusting, doubting etc. Not so much whizz-bang and you're cured type stuff. If God just whacked out a miracle every time he wanted to convince someone he existed, then the world would be quite different. There is a scientific explanation in mass hysteria, and that is what I see being displayed at events like that.

My conversion was more like C S Lewis's but that doesn't mean I don't feel emotional about it. However, I tend to keep my emotions to myself. Not saying that everyone has to do so or they're a fraud, but the stuff that SunShineBossaNova describes is just a bit... hmmmm.

springytoffy Thu 29-Aug-13 01:06:53

I wish churches would shut up about money, though. Or shut up about bums on seats. imo if God is in it then all that stuff will be sorted. You'd think God needed a campaign to ensure his awesome self hits the target - laughable.

anyway, that's 3 posts. 1. It gets dusty in here (not too much traffic) which makes for over-enthusiastic posting (quantity not quality) and 2. It's late and I can get my ore in before everyone wakes up.

the blighty lot, anyway.

springytoffy Thu 29-Aug-13 01:14:28

I sometimes wonder if God is ready and willing but we're so sure he's white, british and middle class and refained that we just don't expect him to. Like he turns up to all the parties and everybody ignores him, insisting he's dusty and dull; or that it's all arduous and agonising and torture. Sometimes it is, but not always. Bit like life, really.

That first shall be last/last shall be first thing: socio-economic groups that would could generally be looked down on (so emotional! ) are the ones who often do get the whizz-bang stuff going on: ie the miracles. I know of someone who was healed from paralysis - in a church service (west indian church, as it happens). She felt a heat course through her body and she got up. I know her well and know well that she wouldn't be making that stuff up. yy people will say 'ah but it was emotion/psychological/ blah blah'. but it stopped her kids being carted off by ss who insisted she couldn't look after them (teenagers, wanted to stay with mum). And of course it got her on her feet! She asked for it, she got it. You have not because you ask not type of thing.

joanofarchitrave Thu 29-Aug-13 01:28:41

Jesus avoided making healing into any kind of public spectacle.

MorphyBrown Thu 29-Aug-13 01:41:52


daftdame Thu 29-Aug-13 08:42:09

I agree with spingytoffy.

I don't agree with 'peddling miracles' though and sometimes this may go on. The Medieval Church was rife with it, so not a new thing.

If the people who have received healing are well again it is good enough for me. I would not be suspicious of emotional experiences or miracles from the outset, as springy said, God is the same today and Jesus performed miracles.

Let DN take everything at her own speed. Don't let people take advantage of her but let her grow in her own Faith.

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