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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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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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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Brexit: Now shall the Antichrist arise!

I had lunch with a friend this week who, like me, grew up expecting the Rapture to happen any day. We talked about the European Union referendum, which quickly led on to the evangelical conspiracy theories about the EU we grew up with.Knowing something about my readers' political views, I'm guessing not many of you are celebrating today's European Union Referendum result. I was foolishly confident Britain would vote to remain in the EU, so I thought you'd enjoy chuckling about what ev … [Read more...]

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The sacrifice of reason

I'm always jealous of people who seem to have been born inquisitive. When you talk to some humanists about their religious upbringings, it sounds as though they were constantly following their parents and Sunday school teachers around asking difficult questions. I have images of four-year-olds tugging on their mothers' dresses and going: Mummy, after the Ark landed on Ararat, how did the kangaroos, platypuses, and koalas get to Australia without leaving any evidence of the journey?Mummy, if … [Read more...]

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Like it or not, we need Christian allies

Last year, a friend of mine received a cry for help email from a home schooled child (let's call them Frankie). It was the kind of thing you read over and over again at Homeschoolers Anonymous. Frankie had a physically abusive drunk for a father. They were frequently left alone to study their PACEs (Accelerated Christian Education workbooks), and they were bored out of their mind. They couldn't understand the maths PACEs and had no one to help them. Although an inspector from ACE had visited the … [Read more...]

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Orlando: Muslims are people. LGBT people are people.

It's taken me until today to feel like I can say something about the shooting in Orlando. Actually, I'm still not sure if I can say anything. I mostly want to amplify the voices of LGBT people, Muslims and ex-Muslims, and to remember that some people are members of more than one of those groups. But there are two threads I've pulled out of reading my friends' posts, and they're pretty simple: first, treat people like people, and second, tolerance of homophobia breeds homophobic … [Read more...]

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Christian Rock Thursdays: Pour Some Sugar on Me, Jesus!

In 1988, Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" dominated rock radio. Well, so I've heard. I don't actually remember this because a) I was three and b) I was mostly listening to Gospel Duck, a pentecostal Donald Duck clone (when you combine evangelicalism with capitalism, there is almost no artistic depth that cannot be plumbed). But people who were there tell me that "Pour Some Sugar On Me" was played on MTV approximately 4000 times a day. And, the Christian industry working as it does, this … [Read more...]

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White evangelicalism perpetuates racial inequality

The United States is a racialised society—a society where the colour of your skin makes a massive difference the opportunities and experiences you will have in life. To give a few straightforward examples: Black people make up 13% of the the US population but 35% of its prison population. The median net worth of black households is just 6% that of white households ($7,113 vs $111,146), and black students are still rarely enrolled at elite universities.These problems are not limited to the US. … [Read more...]

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