About Jonny Scaramanga

Out among the stars: Defeating the legacy of religious indoctrination

Guest post by James Ridgers. It’s the nature of revelations, I suppose, to come at unexpected times and in unexpected places. Mine came about four years ago at a Planetary Society event hosted by Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. When Tyson spoke about his oft-quoted position on humankind being composed of stardust, something suddenly made sense to me that I’d been wrestling and grappling with for several years by that point.I should lend some context to this, so you can understand why m … [Read more...]

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Leaving the Fold: A documentary about leaving religion

Last week, the BBC World Service aired "Leaving the Fold", which tells the stories of an ex-Hindu (unidentified, but I'd love to meet him), and ex-Muslim (the excellent Aliyah Saleem) and an ex-Christian (me). This one-line Twitter review from Alom Shaha is one of the kindest things anyone has ever said about me:https://twitter.com/alomshaha/status/774610962833870848Documentary maker Ed Prosser was behind the whole thing, and he was fun to work with. I really like the way he's cut it … [Read more...]

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No secularist I know supports the burkini ban

I'm sure you've seen the horrendous images of French police, armed with guns, ordering a woman on a French beach to remove her burkini. Justifying the ban, the major of Cannes said the burkini was "improper beachwear" because it was "disrespectful of good morals and secularism".Wat.Already I've seen opponents of secularism on Facebook saying "See! This is what secularism leads to". It is difficult for me to take this particularly seriously, since my feed is otherwise full of … [Read more...]

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Christian teacher on ACE training: “I was being indoctrinated”

 Here, as far as I know, is the only first-person account of what it is like to 'qualify' as an Accelerated Christian Education supervisor anywhere in the academic literature. ACE supervisor training is much like ACE schooling: The staff complete workbooks at desks facing the wall, separated by vertical screens. They obtain permission to leave their seats by raising a flag, and they mark their own work from answer booklets (score keys). The process takes five days, and then you can run … [Read more...]

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Rebirth of Our Nation review: introduction

I have decided to review Donald R. Howard's 1979 classic Rebirth of Our Nation. You have almost certainly never heard of this book, but if you're interested in this blog, you'll want to know about it.Donald Howard was the founder of Accelerated Christian Education, and Rebirth of Our Nation is his manifesto, not just for education (although there's a lot about that), but also for the way the world should be. It's actually his second book, after the earlier To Save a Nation, but ROON contains … [Read more...]

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Christian website runs article “When God Sends Your Daughter a Black Husband”

Presumably the alternatives "When God Sends You a Racist Mother-in-Law" and "Help! My Mom Sounds Like a White Supremacist" were rejected in the editing room.The article begins: For years I prayed for a young man I had yet to meet: my daughter’s husband. I asked the Lord to make him godly, kind, a great dad, and a good provider. I was proud of a wish list void of unrealistic expectations. After all, I knew not to ask for a college football quarterback who loved puppies, majored in nu … [Read more...]

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How to indoctrinate your kids: A Christian curriculum guide

In yesterday's post, I wrote about a conversation with Cindy, a supervisor in an Accelerated Christian Education school who joined the ACE Exposed Facebook group. We saw how much of the ACE science curriculum in the early grades consists of memorising what God did on each of the six days of creation. Cindy had said that all the information in the early grades of the curriculum was accurate. I dispute this.But actually, I suspect that Cindy is more right than wrong. I think the majority of … [Read more...]

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Two meaningless creationist ‘science’ lessons

This week, a woman who works in an ACE school in Canada joined the Facebook group Accelerated Christian Education Exposed (which you're welcome to join). To her credit, she was genuinely interested to learn why the group's members dislike ACE. Less to her credit, this was because she could not fathom anyone not loving ACE. The group is public, so I'll use her real name, Cindy.The thread she started ended up with more than 100 posts, with dozens of ex-ACE students explaining why they felt … [Read more...]

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All meaningful atheist activism is social justice activism

If you follow the atheist blogosphere, you probably know about the Deep Rifts that emerged a few years ago between those who think that organised atheist movements should devote their efforts to social justice activism, and those who are shitlords (I thought I'd get my cards on the table early in this post).If you don't know about these rifts, particularly how we discovered that some atheist bloggers are in fact misogynistic pricks, well, I can't be bothered to get into it, but you're w … [Read more...]

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Jesus Camp: Where are they now?

My review of Jesus Camp (a documentary about a Pentecostal youth retreat) gets a steady stream of hits from people searching for "Jesus Camp where are they now". Well, wonder no more, because the Guardian has dug up two of the film's most memorable characters to celebrate its tenth anniversary. I loved the film, even though I hardly needed to watch it having lived through much the same thing, so I was curious about this myself.The first interviewee is Andrew Sommerkamp, the boy whose story af … [Read more...]

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