A Leap of Doubt

#045: The Fundamentalist Fear of Fantasy, Part I (w/ Hertzey Hertz)

February 17, 2020

This episode is a slightly abridged mirror of a different show on which I was a guest a couple years ago, hosted by Hertzey Hertz on her YouTube channel, with her permission. Hertzey and I did a point-by-point commentary and debunking of a fundamentalist Christian program that aired in 1984, titled Deception of a Generation, and which is available on YouTube. In this program, two Christian fundamentalists, Gary Greenwald and Phil Phillips, talked for an hour and a half about what they considered the evils of children’s fantasy cartoons and toys.

Hertzey and I had great fun debunking and making fun of what is clearly and hilariously ridiculous, even by the standards of the Christian fundamentalist panic over secular culture that was rampant in the 1980s, and which today is known as the Satanic Panic. But along the way, Hertzey and I had occasion to touch on a lot of important points about the psychology of the fundamentalist mindset and how such narrow-minded religious doctrine hinders children’s imagination and development. And of course, it gave us the perfect excuse to geek out and talk about 1980s shows and movies like He-Man, She-Ra, Thundercats, Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, The Smurfs, Rainbow Brite, and many more, all of which sent these fundamentalists into a frenzy because of their belief that such things were part of an evil satanic plot to program children’s minds. It’s entertaining just hearing these conspiracy theories, but again we are not merely going after low-hanging fruit; some very interesting psychological insights emerge from our review about fundamentalism as a mindset and what their paranoid reaction to fantasy fiction says about just how weak their own theological worldview is.

Because the original show I did on Hertzey’s show ran for about three hours, I have edited and abridged this somewhat to make it more manageable, and I have also split it into two parts. I have also incorporated audio from the program we are responding to and critiquing, so you get some context as we progress.

Links:

The original YouTube show with Hertzey Hertz on Hertzey Talks:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJAsrj32aZo

Deception of a Generation (1984), the video we are responding to, is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hnjdq32u-MU

Report regarding children and when they can tell fantasy from reality: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3689871/

The Bible Skeptic’s YouTube series “Jesus in Genesis: A Study of Macrocodes”: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL894809D83D303EAD

My interview with Dr. Joseph Laycock on the Satanic Panic, fantasy games, and religion: https://reasonrevolution.org/032-the-satanic-panic-fantasy-games-and-religion-w-joseph-laycock-phd-2/

 

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The opening intro and closing outro were written by Nathan Dickey, produced and edited by Rich Lyons and read by Deanna Joy Lyons.

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