The Awful Lessons Learned Through Cartoons in the Accelerated Christian Education Curriculum

Jonny Scaramanga has done a wonderful job exposing the fundamentalist-homeschooler-approved “Accelerated Christian Education” curriculum, usually by quoting from it verbatim).

Now, he shows us the lessons learned from ACE by way of the cartoons in the textbooks. Like the fact that the schools depicted in them always seem to be segregated…

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Saint Teresa of Ávila Gives Spain’s Government a Hand — Again

Teresa of Ávila, a Catholic mystic and Carmelite nun, has been the unofficial patron saint of Spain for some 400 years. She rose to fame in the 16th century when she first began to inflict “various tortures and mortifications of the flesh” upon herself, and then graduated to the imagined penetration by a heavenly seraph, like so:

I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God.

The pain was so great that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. 

These days, I bet she would be a writer for — or maybe an adviser to the Spanish government.

The Guardian explains:

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Actually, Those Are Five Pretty Good Reasons To Leave Your Church

Aaron Loy (below), writing for the Chrsitian site RELEVANT, offers “five really bad reasons to leave your church”.

As it turns out, he’s right. They’re really bad reasons:

1. “I’m not being [spiritually] fed”

“As a Christian, you shouldn’t require spoon-feeding for the rest of your life. Eventually you need to learn how to feed yourself so that, in time, you can actually feed others.”

2. “It’s getting too big”

“If you have a problem with big churches… you definitely won’t like heaven.”

3. “I don’t agree with everything that is being preached”

“The truth is when you choose to stay despite disagreeing on some things, you, your pastor and your church are better for it.”

4. “My Needs Aren’t Being Met”

“The Church doesn’t exist to meet your needs. You are a part of the Church that exists to meet the needs of the world.”

5. Unresolved Conflict

“When we leave at first sign of real conflict, it shortchanges God’s best work in our midst. It sidesteps the process of repentance, forgiveness and grace.”

Here’s the problem: All of these things boil down to one idea: If you want to leave the church, there’s something wrong with you. The church and the pastor can do no wrong. It’s worth getting more specific, though, and for those of us who don’t go to church, feel free to replace that word with “college” because the arguments are almost identical.

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Should Religious and Atheist Hardliners Try Harder To Break Out of Their Co-Dependent Cycle of Indignation?

Fellow Patheos blogger Ben Corey heaves a deep sigh over the American Atheists’ digital billboard that will be on display outside Metlife stadium during the 2014 Superbowl.

Corey considers the billboard a bit of a dick move. He doesn’t like it when people of faith are mocked, and he’s tired of all Christians getting tarred with American Atheists’ broad brush.

Cards on the table: I unreservedly mock religion at least a few times a week (usually while dining on a Christian baby) and would consider the world a darker place without the wit of Monty Python, Bill Maher, and George Carlin.

Now let’s look at what Corey is saying and think about it from a media strategy point of view.

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The Author of Jesus and Mo Is Doing an AMA (‘Ask Me Anything’) In Our Comments Section. Fire Away!

Small world: I found out only weeks ago that a British colleague with whom I’d exchanged friendly messages over the years is the anonymous artist behind Jesus and Mo, the acidly witty comic strip featuring two self-obsessed prophets. Every month, the Freethinker publishes a new installment, but the two roomies’ divine black-and-white adventures can also be found in six Jesus and Mo books — and on their own website, which is updated twice a week.

Since its launch, a little over eight years ago, the atheism-influenced comic has attracted some prominent admirers. Richard Dawkins praises Jesus (I’m tempted to stop here for effect) and Mo, saying the gruesome twosome and their creator provide some of the

… shrewdest, wittiest, most critically penetrating running commentary on the absurdities of contemporary religion.

Fans also include novelist Salman Rushdie, columnist Nick Cohen, biology professor Jerry Coyne, and, truth be told, me.

This month, over in England, Jesus and Mo became something a flashpoint in a national debate over free speech, censorship, and religious accommodation. You can read up on the tumult here.

I asked Jesus and Mo‘s creator if he would answer your questions and mine. “Gladly,” he said.

Allow me to start us off.

You first published Jesus and Mo in the late fall of 2005, just a month or two after the Islam cartoon controversy involving the Jyllands-Posten in Denmark began to rage. Any connection?

“It was right after the start of the Danish toons controversy — the shit didn’t really hit the fan until January or February of the next year, after months of determined campaigning by Danish imams. I’d been harboring thoughts of a religious satire comic featuring Jesus and Mo for ages, and I think the early stages of that particular controversy acted as the catalyst that kicked me into action. It was [Islam's] ludicrous depiction taboo that provided the strip’s first joke.”

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