On Channel Four (in Britain), a new reality show will be running over the next three Sundays:
Make Me a Christian follows the three-week journey of thirteen non-Christians who also include a witch, a Muslim, an unmarried couple with a child on the way, and a family of six, as they get to grips with Christianity through a number of Bible studies and mentoring from an ecumenical team of church leaders.
The series documents the changes that occur within each of the participants as their perspectives of Christianity and the meaning of life are challenged by the lessons that emerge in each of the Bible studies. By the series’ end, some participants even make a commitment to pursue Christianity further.
The “mentors” are led by Reverend George Hargreaves, who “thinks Britain is in a state of moral decline and that a return to a more ‘Christian’ way of life would stop the rot.”
If this show is anything like typical Christian TV programming, though, it’ll be unwatchable (or just laughable)… just a horribly produced “remake” of secular TV shows.
And what’s up with the depictions of non-Christians?
As stated, the cast includes: a witch, a Muslim, an unmarried couple with a child on the way, a “lesbian who sometimes sleeps with men” (isn’t that a bisexual?), a playboy, a biker/tattooist/atheist, and a lap-dancing manager… the implicit idea being that there is something wrong with being GLBT or another faith or non-religious. Obviously, these Christians believe that, but many others do not.
Believe it or not, there are normal, functioning, intelligent atheists out there. Just like there are Christians with lots of serious problems. This show’s oversimplification ignores all that.
Also: Is there a “winner” on this show? Do they kick people off each week for not transforming enough? How do they know you’re sincere if you convert? What’s the prize for winning? Because if it’s “eternal salvation,” I’m just not that intrigued…
At least there is a lot of tension:
The mentors visit the volunteers in their own homes, to get a picture of their lives and to give them guidance. The parents are asked to spend 15 minutes each day with their children. The lesbian is ordered to get rid of her explicit pictures and books. The young man and his pregnant girlfriend are given some instruction in the basics of Christianity. The lap-dancing manager is discovered to have more than a passing interest in witchcraft and magic — her books and ceremonial paraphernalia are taken away. The womanising 20-something is persuaded to agree not to ‘look lustfully at a girl’. The biker, so far, is challenging every instruction and the others are beginning to get fed up with his refusal to listen.
Of course, we see televangelists “converting” people all the time.
If this show is original at all, it’s because it focuses on the victims, not the Christians.
Frankly. it’d be much more enjoyable if the cast members argued against what their mentors were telling them, debating the merits and pitfalls of Christianity.
That’s something you don’t see nearly enough on TV.