Monthly Archives: May 2013

Thought-terminating clichés

I’ve written a guest post for Samantha over at Defeating the Dragons, and I think it’s one of my better ones, so please check it out. Also, Samantha’s blog is fantastic – nearly as good as mine.

As part of a series on the blog about reclaiming words from fundamentalism, I’m talking about how ACE redefines words in a way reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984. By changing the meanings of words, ACE makes it difficult to question its ideology:

Lifton describes how totalist ways of thinking use “thought-terminating clichés… brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases.”  Simple labels are attached to something you like or dislike, and they are the start and finish of all thought on the subject.

Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), like a lot of Christian fundamentalism, redefines terms in black-and-white, so things are either absolutely good or absolutely bad. Then you can just stick a label on something, and end the discussion. Want someone to accept that a politician is bad? Just call them a liberal, and the argument is over.

So go and read it, and check out some of Samantha’s writing while you’re there.

Great success!

Well, we have reached our fundraising target of £100 within 10 hours of asking. Thank you everyone so much. I am quite overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve had. There are more donations pledged which will take the total even higher.

Great success

So as I said, I will leave the donate button up for anyone who wishes to support the site. I am doing my PhD without funding, so there are hundreds of books/ PACEs I could usefully buy. Still, this is the end of my active fundraising. Thank you so much. You’re all amazing.

Edit: At Storilundi’s suggestion, does anyone have any old PACEs they could donate? I could make good use of them. The way money has been coming in, I might even be able to cover the cost of postage.

Quarter of a million

So I logged in to my WordPress stats this morning and saw this on the page view counter:

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 10.54.24

250,000 page views in just over a year is nothing by the standards of some blogs, but for a niche blog like this it’s not bad. I’m very grateful for all the support and interest you’ve shown. I don’t know how accurate their stats are, but according to Alexa, this site is far more popular than Christian Education Europe’s. In other words, there’s more interest in a website opposing the use of Accelerated Christian Education in the UK than there is in the official website promoting it.

Now that I have a support base, I’d like to get to know you all better, and ask you a favour.

Read the rest of this entry

How vodka and Coke rescued me from Creationism

From when I left my ACE school (aged 15) until I was 19, I almost never socialised. I just didn’t know how to socialise with people who weren’t fundamentalists. Almost everything they ever did was a sin, and I didn’t like any of the same music or TV as them. South Park was strange and offensive, and I didn’t want to be around people who would laugh at such depravity.

As we got older, the people I knew spent more and more time in pubs. Apart from the food-serving kind, pubs were frightening places. Drunk people were scary and unpredictable. But the real reason I hated pubs was because I hated beer. This wasn’t really a moral thing. In my most radicalised phase, I had believed that Christians shouldn’t drink at all, but in the UK, most evangelicals are comfortable with alcohol (as long as you don’t “get drunk”). There isn’t the same puritan streak that runs through US fundamentalism. It’s just that beer is an acquired taste, and I hadn’t acquired it.

Then, on my 19th birthday, someone bought me a vodka and Coke. And this was brilliant, because it just tasted like awful Coke. I could drink awful Coke. I already did when I went to my step-gran’s house and she produced a bottle that had been sitting open, in direct sunlight, for a month.

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Is the promotion of mutual respect and tolerance incompatible with the faith ethos of some schools?

A post I wrote for my university’s blog a while back. More joys from ACE; almost every link leads to a PACE scan.


Jonny Scaramanga

The Government has repeatedly affirmed its support for faith schools and parents’ right to pass on their religious beliefs. At the same time, standards for independent schools, announced last year, require the promotion of “mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs”. Has the government considered cases where the promotion of respect and tolerance is incompatible with the school’s faith ethos?

Media reports have emphasised extremism in Muslim schools, but my research indicates that some evangelical Christian schools are also preaching intolerance. I am researching the approximately 50 Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) schools in the UK. Belief in the eternal damnation of unbelievers is part of ACE’s statement of faith.

In cases like this, where religion makes exclusive truth claims, other beliefs are necessarily seen as inferior. Evangelical Christianity views other religions as at best ‘man-made’ – in contrast to evangelicalism’s God-made Truth –…

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Subconscious phone conversations with God (guest post)

Guest post by Sheldon Cooper.

I have talked before on my blog, Ramblings of Sheldon, about my experiences in elementary school when I was exposed to the Independent Fundamental Baptist cult, and my sister’s further experiences with them after graduating that school, and going onto Hyles Anderson college, an IFB institution. I’ve talked about the Southern Baptist church I was a part of as a teen, and what it feels like now to be a closeted agnostic still attending that church in my Undercover Agnostic series.

For some reason, however, I haven’t talked about the time I spent in the Assemblies of God denomination, a Pentecostal group. I don’t quite know why, perhaps it’s because I left that group when I was young (12 years old), and never went back. A memory has been coming back recently about this time, though. I remember when I was 11 years old. It was the first time I started speaking in tongues.  Read the rest of this entry

Accelerated Christian Education launches new science video series

Here is the first in a series of science documentaries being launched by Accelerated Christian Education.

Being made to feel like you don’t exist

You may remember David Waldock’s excellent guest post, Jobs a Creationist Can Do. I mentioned that David was an ACE survivor, but for personal reasons preferred not to write about his own experience. Today he left a comment in which he described how attending an ACE school and fundamentalist church felt when he was a gay teenager. I defy you not to be moved. With permission, I’m reposting it here because I want everyone to see it. This comment was left in reply to today’s earlier post, in which Caroline, an ACE student, defended Accelerated Christian Education and the view that homosexuality is a perversion.

Caroline, let me tell you what I hear you saying:

“YOU DON’T EXIST. YOU DON’T EXIST. YOU DON’T EXIST. YOU DON’T EXIST. If I acknowledge you exist, it will fundamentally challenge my identity. THEREFORE YOU DON’T EXIST.”

Let me tell you about myself.

I was raised as an evangelical, fundamentalist, literal word of god believing good Christian, in an ACE school. I believed that I believed all the right things. Young earth creationism? Check! Infallibility of Biblical wisdom? Check! Christ born of a virgin? Check! Fundamental sinfulness of man? Check! Man led astray by woman? Check! Women inferior to man in every way? Check! Death and resurrection of my saviour? Check! Personal relationship with god? Check! Importance of strict discipline for children? Check! Satan hiding behind every street corner waiting to tempt me into sin? Check! Importance of being pious and judging the sinners (especially those believers who believe the wrong thing!) so they know they need to receive Jesus into their hearts? Check!

I had it all. And yet, I was never able to achieve the behavioural standards demanded of me. I got caned five times one week for leaving my flag up. I got demerits and detentions for looking insolent. I got told off publicly for arguing with monitors and supervisors. I was bullied by fellow students then punished for responding to it. We had staff who were bitter, twisted, abusive and poorly trained who took it out on me and other students. Then, when I got home, I would be criticised again, hit with a tennis shoe for showing my parents up. But at least nobody spoiled me by sparing the rod, eh! I left that school with three GCSEs. Read the rest of this entry

A fundamentalist shares her wisdom

Over the past six weeks, a commenter identifying herself as “Caroline” has been setting me to rights on fundamentalism. From these comments, I’ve deduced that she is (or possibly was) a home schooled student in Accelerated Christian Education, and a fundamentalist.

I’m also assuming that English is not Caroline’s first language (well, that’s the charitable interpretation). If that’s correct, I also infer that, in this instance at least, ACE has not worked well as a method for teaching English as a second language.  What else can we learn from Caroline?

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Creationism rocks!

I’m a guest poster today at Laughing in Purgatory. I’m writing about how Christian rock was used to sell Creationism. And I got so carried away that I forgot to include the most obvious example of all, “Evolution Redefined” by Geoff Moore & the Distance. So, exclusively for you:

All the classic Creationist tropes are there. The biology teacher is short, ugly, intolerant, and has a nasal voice, while the Christian girl is blonde, wholesome, and attractive. While the nasty, hobbity teacher is probably stolen from Mötley Crüe’s “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” video, the video’s plot is straight from the infamous anti-evolution Chick tract, “Big Daddy?” This is slightly ironic, since Chick tracts claim that Christian rock is demonic.

Anyway, you can learn all this and more in my post, so go and read it!

You can also check out Laughing in Purgatory on Facebook.

Related post: Christians rock too!