fatpie42 (fatpie42) wrote,

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Oh dear! Christian Union Evangelism Video

I saw this several years ago and am unsurprised to see it on youtube. It's a recruitment video for Nottingham University Christian Union. What is remarkable though is that after searching for other CU vids, this appears to be the only one in the UK which puts so much effort in and yet remains unashamedly condescending:


On the one hand there's appalling music in the background. Then there's the claim that everyone in the university is going to hell (and the implication that barely any of them are actually Christian already).

When they get onto what Christianity is all about, surprise surprise, it's about evangelism. Yep that's right, joining Christian groups is all about making new Christians. That's what the big exciting mission is all about: Getting people to go out and tell more people what they should believe because 'the Bible says so'. Oh how thrilling.

The first example is set in a lecture. Someone asks whether they agree with the post-modernist idea that there's no truth. The Christian responds by showing that they (like many other students) have not done their reading and have quite possibly been asleep for the whole lecture, by completely missing the point. Their response? There is truth because Jesus is the truth. If I heard that I'd strongly encourage them to avoid the post-modernism question on the exam.

The second example is set in a house. Rather unrealistically, the housemate asks a Christian housemate what they think about Christianity and then leave the Christian to freely spout some rather mundane theology. So it seems that boring your friends to sleep is another skill Christians should brush up on.

The third example is pretty much trolling on the internet. Someone asks "is there really evidence for the resurrection" and the Christian Union member lies and says there are loads of eyewitness accounts.

One awful thing I was able to find on youtube was a typical example of a CU talk. While the clip isn't taking place in Nottingham, these speakers tend to make the rounds between the various CU groups in the UK. The CU offers free sandwiches and crisps, watches the students line up, then proceeds to spout condescending twaddle at them for half and hour.

There's also the horrendously irritating 'first contact' questionairre, which tends to involve people going up to random people and explaining that they are going to hell in the hopes of getting them to convert to Christianity.

Their mission week often has rather amusing names like "Reality Mission". It's generally recognised as the week when you can't avoid being harassed on campus by annoying evangelising Christians.

What they miss out in the video is the PURE course which encourages members to stay celibate (often including a section on how immoral homosexuality is). They also miss out the fact that women are not allowed to be president in the society. When Student Unions claimed that they should not be expected to affliate groups which treat women unfairly the SUs were accused of bigotry against Christians and even Rowan Williams gave his support for the CUs.

The Christian Union is hugely theologically naive and most theology students at Nottingham would tend to join the alternative Christian group called 'Christian Focus'. Unlike the CU, "Christian Focus" is on friendly terms with the Catholic Society "Cathsoc" (unarguably the most lax of all Christian groups on campus, since it's just a group of Catholics who go out drinking together) with both societies notably working together on a fairtrade cafe.

The Christian Union being theologically naive might not seem that surprising. After all, most people are naive about their beliefs. We can't all be Biblical scholars with an in-depth knowledge of the historical and theological issues. However, as you saw in the youtube vid, the CU actually have a training scheme for evangelising and this involves feeding members with your typical apologetics BS along with a very specific, literalist interpretation of Christianity. This isn't just a training scheme made up by the society itself. The scheme actually originates from an organisation called the UCCF who encourage people to start up CU groups such as the one in Nottingham.

The CU is anti-Catholic, homophobic, sexist, but perhaps the biggest problem is that it doesn't unite Christians. When Christians arrive at the uni they are often fooled by this. Of course it doesn't take very long to recognise that the Christian Union is actually a evangelical and borderline fundamentalist group. (The traditional kind of 'funamentalism' based on the 'fundamentals', not the wooly term for any Christian with a mild case of homophobia.)

Unfortunately, it is likely that the CU is still up to its old tricks. They make themselves look like a happy-go-lucky group and appeal to the new students. The reaction of your average British borderline-Anglican agnostic will tend to be "Yeah, I want Christians to unite. Sounds nice." Little do they know what a horrible organisation they are supporting. Ironically it probably benefits the CU that not many people have seen the youtube vid that I have shown you here. A colourful stall with a vague claim to be uniting Christians and spreading the good news is much less obviously dodgy than a video telling people to go out and pester other students about Christianity until they join up.
Tags: christian union, christianity, homophobia, rowan williams, sexism
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