Monday, August 11, 2008

'Make Me a Christian'

The latest Channel 4 contribution to religious programming 'Make me a Christian', aired last night. I caught a few bits of it between the Olympic highlights, so probably can't make a judgement until I've seen the whole thing. However, judging by the line-up of potential converts, it probably has a working title of 'Make me £1000 by putting up with some Christians for 3 weeks.'

The programme has one or two fairly full-on Christian 'mentors', and part of week 1 involved watching footage of an abortion being carried out, and another guy being ambushed in the doctors with pictures of all the horrible STD's he was going to get if he carried on sleeping with anything that moved. On camera. Then asked to give a urine sample. In the segment of the programme I was, the stress seemed to be on behaviour, rather than faith, I don't know how much they went into the fact that God loves them, and having a go at praying.

Various reviews around: New Humanist are sceptical, the Ship of Fools discussion thread - which is unanimously unimpressed, has this great quote from TV reviewer Charlie Brooker:

"the broadcast will doubtless be accompanied by the percussive sound of thousands of Christians enthusiastically smashing their foreheads against the wall with delight at the way they're represented."

However, since one of the four mentors on the programme is a member of 'We Support Dave Walker', I'd better not be too harsh. The trouble is that Channel 4 do this kind of programming by numbers now: clash of ideas, walkouts, find extreme versions of whatever you're documenting (a lapdance and a wiccan, etc.), and edit for the story you want to tell the public. The Monastery was a much less extreme way of doing it, and a much more mature piece of TV.

update: good review from Richard Peat, who clearly watched more of it than I managed! And well worth reading his piece on the final episode, and the way that one of the 'mentors' was unhappy with the way the series was edited.


  1. Thanks for the link to New Humanist. It's good to see the programme receiving the same slating from Christians and atheists alike. It did as much service to your religion as Big Brother does for Ikea furniture.

    best, Paul Sims, New Humanist

  2. No problem Paul, I always like to keep an eye on the competition ;-) Out of interest, what do you think of the Richard Dawkins series?

  3. I must admit I haven't had chance to watch it. A few people have told me he brings up his views on religion a bit too often, but that's all I know really.

  4. Having now seen the end of this series I have found it interesting viewing, some of the christian views certainly seemed over egged until the last part tonight when everything was drawn together quiet nicely.
    Even the most difficult of potential converts had seen glimpses of Jesus through the mentors.
    Channel 4 make these religious programs this way to get people doing exactly what we are doing, talking about them.