Thursday, June 30, 2005

My own reality show

I just watched the first episode of Supersize Me creator Morgan Spurlock's new reality show 30 Days, which airs on Wednesdays at 10 pm on FX. I have to say, it was surprisingly good, especially given how much I disliked Supersize Me. In the first episode, a conservative Christian white guy from West Virginia moved in with a Muslim family in Dearborn for a month. At the end of the month he appeared to have learned a lot about Islam and become more tolerant.

This made me think of my experience in New York. At the end of my five months working at the American Bible Society, my coworkers threw me a surprise pary and I gave a speech about how I had learned so much while working there and had lost many of my prejudices about religious Christians. It was like my own reality show - in which an agnostic but well-traveled and tolerant person is placed in a very Christian medium for several months and comes to realize that as tolerant as she was of other religions and cultures, she was intolerant when it came to Christianity, lumping all of the Christian religious associations into a Jerry Falwell-type category. Of course, I don't think the Christians really need a reality show pointing out how they're not all bad to boost their acceptability.

Still, given how weirded out I was when I first started working there (I was about as uncomfortable as a religious Christian in a pagan ceremony would be), I came a long way in furthering my own tolerance and expanding my educational horizons, without even meaning to. I had every conceivable prejudice going in. I had many fewer when I left. Don't get me wrong - I still think most evangelical organizations are filled with nutjobs with horrible political agendas, but I learned that not every deeply religious Christian is a nutjob, and that's the most important realization I could have had.

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