Monthly Archives: October 2012

Where I come from, this is called corruption

I know I said I was stepping down to a once-a-week posting schedule, but I’ve just discovered something that makes me too angry to delay posting until Monday.

This is a link to an OFSTED report (that’s a government-mandated school inspection, international readers) of The Christian School of London. The school is praised thoroughly. The ACE curriculum comes off particularly well. [Don't know what ACE is? Here's a good place to start finding out]

The author of this report is Stephen Dennett. This name will be unfamiliar to you, but it is highly familiar to me, because as a child I had to sit through his talks at Accelerated Christian Education’s European Student Convention.

Stephen Dennett is the author of the new ACE British History PACEs. He is also the author of a book, A Case for Christian Education, which serves as an ode to the brilliance of ACE. Asking him to inspect ACE schools is like asking Rebekah Brooks to lead the Leveson Inquiry.

Doubtless Ofsted feel proud to have him on board. Few of their inspectors know about the ACE system, so they’ll be glad to have an expert on the team. And Ofsted don’t evaluate curricula, per se, only schools, so I’m sure they would say his ties to the system don’t matter.

The first page of a google search tells me that Dennett has also inspected several other ACE schools – Carmel Christian School, Beehive School, and Mustard School.

Why don’t we just ban fundamentalist schools?

For a while now, I’ve been wondering if programmes like Accelerated Christian Education should just be illegal. I think I’ve done enough to establish that it’s harmful. So far we’ve had:

And that’s just for starters. And without getting into the physical and emotional abuse which has occurred in so many of the schools, which is not just a coincidence.

So it’s bad. But not everything bad is illegal. Freedom of expression; the right of parents to choose their child’s education; religious tolerance – these values are crucial to the pluralist democracies we hold dear. And just because people of generally liberal (ish) persuasion rule our country now doesn’t mean they always will. If an explicitly religious party came to power, wouldn’t liberals want that party to allow their children a secular education?  Read the rest of this entry

Vlog: The case for Accelerated Christian Education

I am constantly inviting guest posts on this blog. I particularly want to hear someone defend ACE against my criticisms. Finally someone has… The eleven-year-old me. And a stegosaurus.

Watch and learn.

By the way, do you guys like the vlogs? They’re a lot more time-consuming to make than blog posts, so you’d better watch ‘em!

Related posts:

Why televangelists are not (all) con artists

At the end of my recent post “Let me introduce you to a con man (probably)” I discussed the possibility that these televangelists might not be con artists. It’s possible that they really believe their own drivel. Today I’m going to defend that argument, and explain why that’s actually much worse than if they were all frauds.

Now, I realise it seems naive to even entertain the idea that these guys aren’t con men. Just look at the bullshit they spout!

This is from R.W. Shambach’s book, You Can’t Beat God Givin’. It’s a story called “The Twenty-Six Miracles,” which my dad read to me as a boy. Here’s the full text; I’ll just give you the edited highlights. Read the rest of this entry

In which I receive a prophecy from a televangelist

In my last post, I told you about Jesse Duplantis. If you didn’t read it (and you really should), here’s the short version:

Jesse is a prosperity gospel preacher who has had huge success, mainly from telling jokes and claiming that he has been to heaven, where he personally met Abraham, King David, Jonah (he of the whale), Jesus, and God (obviously). Jesse was a hero to me in my early teens.

In 1998 and 1999, the church I then attended, Carmel Christian Centre, hosted Jesse’s services at the Colston Hall, Bristol. I was more than a little excited. I was 13 the first time this happened. The Colston Hall has a capacity of almost two thousand, and it was full for Jesse’s events (I told you this stuff was popular in Britain).

At the second meeting, Jesse Duplantis called me out and prophesied that the devil would try to get me to play rock music for him, but he would fail. (Recording after the jump). Read the rest of this entry

Let me introduce you to a con man (probably)

This is Jesse Duplantis.

Jesse Duplantis

Among the people I knew, Jesse was everybody’s favourite preacher. There’s a simple reason for that: he was funny. That is Jesse Duplantis’ entire reputation: He’s the prosperity gospel preacher who makes you laugh. Now, I have no idea whether he was actually funny, or whether he just seemed funny by comparison with all the deathly sermons we normally heard. I can’t go back and judge now, because there’s too much baggage associated with it. I’ll let you judge for yourselves:

Actually, it’s not true to say that being funny is the whole of Jesse Duplantis’ reputation. He’s also The Guy Who Went to Heaven. (Please read on; today’s post is particularly awesome, if I say so myself…)

Read the rest of this entry

Religious discrimination

The most damaging aspect of Accelerated Christian Education, I think, is the demonisation of everyone who is not a Christian. And by Christian, I mean the Right Kind of Christian – Bible-believing, saved-by-grace-through-faith, conservatively dressed protestants.

The entire system is set up to discriminate against anyone who does not believe the Right Things. Here’s the admissions policy for Maranatha – the UK “model school” for ACE. You can’t attend unless at least one of your parents believes the Right Things. Over the age of 12, students must give a personal commitment to the faith as well (below that age, in my experience, it is simply assumed). If you enroll as an ACE home educator, you have to state how long each of the child’s parents has been a Christian.

In practice, this is merely a formality; I can’t imagine what kind of insanity would have to grip a non-Christian before they’d put a child through ACE. Let’s imagine, though, that a non-Christian child – perhaps a Hindu, or a Catholic (non-Christian for ACE’s purposes), or an agnostic – slipped through the cracks and somehow got into the school.

They’d learn every day that they are going to hell. In order to pass any test, they would have to memorise a verse of the Bible, which they would be reminded is the word of the only true God.

Read the rest of this entry

Positive reinforcement

I received a fascinating comment on my blog over the weekend.

“Whoever wrote this you must be a true retard. ACE PACES are a God-given testimony unto our lives.

Just because you do not have a life and are just trying to make a few bucks by having other people by PACES for you, which we all know that is not what you are going to buy.
My opinion would be GET A LIFE! OR GO TO CHURCH.
Clean your home, or at least try to watch your children…
Thanks”

No, thank you, sir. Comments like this are a gift to me. In fact, I’ve been disappointed not to receive more like them, and more abusive (that is a sentence I may well live to regret typing).

Read the rest of this entry

Was Jesus a Creationist?

Hey everyone,

Sorry for my long silence. I’ve been busy moving to London and taking a break from fundamentalism to clear my head. I’m now ready to dive in again, and rest assured that will be my last break for a long time. If you’re reading this, thanks for not giving up on the blog.

Creationists, and some atheists, make out that, before Darwin, everyone believed in the literal truth of Genesis. The Creationists therefore claim that their belief is the truest expression of Christianity. Fundamentalists say that their faith is the most authentic to the early Church of the Book of Acts.

So here’s an interesting question: Did the authors of Genesis intend the story to be taken as historical record?

Here’s an even better one: Was Jesus a Creationist? From my reading, it seems highly likely that he wasn’t. This raises the enjoyable spectre that if Creationists could travel back in time to meet Jesus, he would have absolutely no idea what they are going on about. This makes me want to invest all of my money into the development of a time machine. Read the rest of this entry

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