In the video below, atheist vlogger Jonny Scaramanga revisits his evangelizing videos he made as a kid. I identified instantly with the adorably earnest younger Jonny here, from the first moment of his presentation. (You can find several posts about my evangelizing Christian childhood here.) And, of course, I wholeheartedly endorse the older Jonny’s critiques.
Jonny is also one of our newest atheist bloggers at Patheos now. I recommend you keep tabs on his Leaving Fundamentalism blog.
What pulled me into his blog was his Christian Rock Thursdays series. Growing up, Contemporary Christian Music was basically even more important to me than mainstream music is to most mainstream kids because of how it served as a spiritual outlet and intensifier. It was one of my few year round connections to the broader evangelical Christian culture beyond my small Long Island church and it was my only alternative to the mainstream music I was taught to fear so much. When you’re a teenager and you’re given the spiritual sanction to take your pop music literally religiously, it can be important to you on a whole other level. And since it was something hardly any of my friends were actually into then (which made it all the more personal and mine) and since it was something that my friends now don’t have any emotional attachments to unless they’re also ex-Christians, it basically fascinates me to be able to read those few ex-Christians also writing about this stuff. If you’re also an ex-Christian who also grew up on CCM and also have few outlets to reconnect with and reminisce with your fellow ex-Christians that share your complicated feelings about that music, check out the Facebook group Atheist Fans of DC Talk.
My own posts on CCM include “My God Died on the Cross, Not at McDonald’s!” and I Was A Teenage Christian Contrarian. I have also reminisced about one memorable moment when the secular pop punk band Green Day (who were recently selected to join the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) burst my Christian music bubble.
Jonny’s blogging and videos frequently mention in passing a particular species of fundamentalist Christianity called Accelerated Christian Education, so it is worth familiarizing yourself with his overview of what he’s referring to:
For its first year, this blog focused on Accelerated Christian Education, a cult-like fundamentalist education system where children work individually, in silence, at isolated desks. The science curriculum emphasises Young Earth Creationism and mocks evolution. The politics curriculum teaches the views of the Christian Right.
You will find all my posts on the subject by visiting the Accelerated Christian Education category.
In 2009, the government agency UK NARIC validated the ICCE, a qualification based on ACE, saying it was on a par with A levels. Having been through the horrendously abusive education that is ACE, I knew something had to be done, and I began campaigning. In 2012, NARIC completed a second study, and again validated the ICCE as comparable with A levels.
Here are some of the main posts to help you get your head around why this is important:
- ACE is racist (although not as racist as it used to be)
- ACE teaches lies as fact (including the claim that no nuclear fusion occurs in the sun)
- ACE indoctrinates political propaganda
- ACE perverts the scientific method
- ACE teaches MORE lies as fact (including the claim that science proves homosexuality is a learned behaviour)
- ACE indoctrinates MORE political propaganda (all state health care is against God’s will)
- ACE is educationally unsound according to educational experts (every other post – see here, here, here, and here)
- Christian educators and theologians agree that ACE is unsound
- ACE explicitly teaches children to ignore reason and evidence.
- ACE promotes intolerance (on the IOE London blog)
- Historically, ACE has advocated strict corporal punishment; many of its schools still do.
- Accelerated Christian education validated by government agency Gives some reasons why ACE is academically sub-par, regardless of content.
Eventually, the whole thing got so ridiculous that I’ve temporarily retired from blogging about it.
Again, the blog is Leaving Fundamentalism.