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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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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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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Michael: A short story

Guest post by David Waldock. Content note: This story touches on homophobia and suicide.Lofty, the worn toy giraffe Michael had loved since his second birthday, sat above the folded note on Michael’s bed, as though safe-guarding it, daring the world to defile the sanctity of his final words, a plush, ineffectual guardian. Doreen, Michael’s mother, snatched up the note and Lofty was displaced, tipped over on the bed, his role no longer important, and lay there whilst Doreen read the note, and … [Read more...]

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The terrifying entry conditions for abusive Christian reform homes

If you've read this blog, you'll be aware of abuses at Christian 'troubled teen' reform homes. These places call themselves educational facilities but are more like prison camps. Some are surrounded by barbed wire.Despite all the evidence that has come forward, despite the dozens of independent testimonies from former detainees, all of which describe similar situations and similar abuses, and despite successful prosecutions for abuse in some of these homes, there are still people who … [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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Christian Rock Thursdays: Avoid cults (except ours!)

When I was 12, my favourite Christian metal band was Tourniquet. I was not alone in this. Quite a lot of people liked Tourniquet, including many who don't normally listen to Christian metal. They signed to Metal Blade records, a pretty credible secular independent label, and Megadeth's Marty Friedman played guitar on one of their albums (although by that time I was listening to the devil's music). When I listen to Tourniquet records now, it all sounds pretty average, but I can't tell how much of … [Read more...]

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Even conservative experts know Christian ‘discipline’ is abuse

Ask any conservative Christian and they'll tell you: Of course we don't abuse children. We're opposed to abuse. We use loving biblical correction, which is quite different. Those interested in ending violence against children have therefore been very interested in the results of a recent study which, after analysing 50 years' worth of data, concluded that 'mild spanking' and physical abuse have basically the same effects: “Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking a … [Read more...]

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An atheist wrote the theme tune for God’s Not Dead 2

Grammatrain were the first Christian grunge band to break onto the 'mainstream' Christian music scene. Their first album came out in September 1995. That fact pretty much sums up Christian music's desperate trend-chasing: the first Christian grunge album didn't come out until more than a year after Kurt Cobain died.In 2010, Grammatrain released a reunion album, but the band's singer, Pete Stewart, explained that he was no longer a Christian and this was not a 'Christian' album. … [Read more...]

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