Ex-ACE students have their say

I am on holiday. So instead of a post from me, I’ll treat you to the thoughts of some of 2014’s commenters, both those who agree and who disagree with me.

evolutionists believe we evolved from a rock. a tomato a dog and a human are not the same but evolutionists believe they all came from a common ancestor. you want to believe we came from nothing. face it, you believe that you have evidence for evolution but in reality you are closed minded and hate God and thats why this lie looks like evidence to you. it is convenient to believe that you wont be judged after this life. well my friends it is not. I hope you find Jesus because he is the only one who can make it right.

Submitted on 2014/06/12 at 2:19 pm

Wow, just read your piece on the BBC website, I’m sorry I missed the Radio phone in. Went to an ACE school in Fleetwood from ages 4-16, basically most of my schooling and looking back on it now it was very strange (I’m 33 now). Brings back a lot of stuff I forgot about and made adjusting to normal life very difficult when I went to sixth form and beyond. Consider myself much more adjusted nowadays but had to go through a difficult period of rejecting a lot of the teaching I went through before realising how much they tried to indoctrinate you with frankly, a lot of right-wing racist, homophobic and generally disturbing views amongst some areas which you might consider to be a decent enough life code.

Whilst an an individual level there were a lot of nice people there and some supportive teachers and I do value some of the self-determination to drive my own learning and education, some aspects of it I consider I had a very narrow escape. Especially considering one of my teachers who was there for a long-time went to prison for child abuse, another was having regular under-age relationships with students and many of the staff had no qualifications of any sort at all. Very interesting the uproar around these schools in Birmingham when you consider them in the light of something like this.

Submitted on 2014/06/18 at 4:21 pm

I did this program [Accelerated Christian Education] for 11 years. It taught segregation in the comics as well. All the black kids went to a different school!
Beyond this, the scoring table was ridiculously easy to manipulate, so a student could fudge his way through an entire work-book with a perfect score, and then get to the test and be unable to replicate his “success” (My lowest score was 4% on a test after cheating my way through a whole work-book).

The Literature work-books were (in my opinion) the greatest affront to good sense, however. The concept was that they had to find novels and other books that “perfectly aligned with the Word of God”, or they were not appropriate reading material. As you can imagine, this was borderline impossible.
Shakespeare? – Nope! [Jonny’s note: Actually, there are excerpts from Macbeth in 12th grade ACE English]
Salinger? – No way!
How about “Lord of the Flies” (an allegory in many ways)? – Sucks to that asmar! We couldn’t read that!

What we read was Swiss Family Robinson (couldn’t read Robinson Carusoe! He became friends with a black man!), and The Hiding Place, along with a half-dozen non-fiction books about how evolution was wrong and an atrociously written pile of crap (who’s title eludes me) about a town where everybody follows God’s Will (likely written by an ACE associate to fill in the literature gap).

At 12 years-old, I knew I was getting screwed over. I was an avid reader, and used my paper-route money to buy the “verboten” books. This was a move my mother, ever the moderate, heartily encouraged.
I enjoyed “Lord of the Flies” and “Catcher in the Rye” without the strain of a classroom.
Eventually the school dropped the ACE program, and my mother (who was a teacher) came on as the librarian. Together, we quickly assembled an awesome library, filled to the brim with literature of questionable morality. We were one of the 1st schools in Canada to get Harry Potter banned (I stayed on as a literature advisor, and fought tooth and nail against the ethics committee for every single book in that library), although the ruling was overturned the following year.
Stay far away from ACE. It is garbage.

Submitted on 2014/06/12 at 2:45 pm

I was shifted from an ACE school to a public school during my 10th grade year. Let me tell you something…. I felt so stupid!
I was put into 8th grade work because I knew nothing about science, literature, and even some parts on history.
I didn’t have enough credits to graduate because my senior year I was in 10th grade work. I got my GED and am still doing online classes.
I wanted to go to college, but I never took any of the tests necessary (SAT, ACT, etc) so I wasn’t accepted anywhere.
My whole life the teachers would give us this speech about new kids coming in from public schools, and how they were going to be put behind because they were “slow” or that the ACE curriculum was so “top-notch” that they public schools cant keep up…. They were so wrong!
Of course these kids were put behind in the ACE schools…. they weren’t taught to hate, and stay away from everyone that didn’t have the same beliefs as you. They weren’t taught that everything in your life has to revolve around Jesus or else you are going to suffer for eternity. Most of the kids that came into the ACE school, left within months because they realized that the teachers were only there to tell them that they were wrong, and when to go to lunch.
My sister had a learning disability, which made the whole “do it yourself, PACE” idea way harder for her. At least when we switched they were able to finally get her some help in the public school.
Sorry. I’m just ranting now. Lol

Submitted on 2014/06/12 at 12:36 pm

Why is it that those who deny the literal truth of the bible always infer that those of us who believe it as the inspired word of God in its entirety are somehow not a bright as our atheist critics? It is clear to anyone who looks at the issue dispassionately that the theory of evolution is full of holes and that creationism provides a far more plausible explanation for how the earth and indeed the cosmos came into existence. However I can at least understand the rational of the atheist who, with his absence of faith, is compelled to seek vacuous and sterile explanations for the meaning of his existence. I am far more perplexed by those who claim to be evangelical Christians yet are one with the atheist in denying the biblical account of creation. Why do you do that? Are you intimidated by the evolutionists? As for the immediately preceding comment that for most Christians, evolution “is not what is called a salvic issue”, firstly I strongly question whether that is a correct claim and secondly, if it is then it is indicative of the very low level of theological understanding because divine creation is intrinsic to the whole issue of salvation! Oh and in case anyone thinks my fundamentalism is a consequence of poor education or low intelligence, I’m a post graduate with honours and I have an IQ of 148

Submitted on 2014/06/12 at 1:55 am

This is beyond junk. It’s nothing more than a proselytizing insult to children’s intelligence. ACE is garbage. Or is that an insult to garbage?

I’m a former Christian-school teacher who was exposed to this for one academic year. As much as I hate diagramming sentences, I believe that the writers of a school curriculum should know how to properly diagram a sentence if they’re going to teach children how to do it.

ACE is accelerated, all right: accelerating the decline of children’s thinking and analytical skills everywhere. Never mind the example sentences with such inspired character names as Pastor Alltruth and Ace Virtueson. Pure drivel.

Submitted on 2014/06/10 at 6:13 pm

I grew up being fed the lie of evolution at every turn I took. I Didn’t come across many bible bashers but boy oh boy you can’t get away from the billionsofyears bashers. Thankfully all their brain washing and blind insistence on following the evolutionist rather than Jesus Christ I could never swallow. Coming out of evolution brings with it a lot of fear. ‘What will the many say of us the few who chose to follow the way of Life?’ Will I lose my friends? What will my family say etc. Well for certain you are ridiculed, told you are following a lie. You lose your former friends no doubt, and your family starts to hate you and call you a fundamentalist. Thankfully the Lord Jesus Christ draws near to you and reminds you that the world hated Him and crucified Him and they will do the same to His followers. He comforts you and the Psalms and scriptures become much nourishment to your soul. I soon discovered I had been floundering in a pool of mud (self, death and pointlessness) and now I had come into the ocean of God’s love and grace and truth. Wow what an abundance for the soul to feed on. No longer the wretched stench of worthless toil and sorrow only to be crowned by death. Now the life God had given me had meaning and love and grace and the solid truth of the word of God and then finally to receive the crown of life. You can turn your back on Christ as Judas did for temporal gain (riches, pleasure, fame or acceptance by the majority) but for myself you are far richer following Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. Come Lord Jesus.

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About jonnyscaramanga

I grew up as a Christian fundamentalist in the UK. Now I am writing a book and blog about what that's like, and what fundamentalists believe.

Posted on October 6, 2014, in Accelerated Christian Education, Atheism, Creationism, evolution, Fundamentalism, School of Tomorrow. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. What really strikes me reading through these comments is the inability to imagine that there may be a way to understand evolution through the lens of the creation story. Everyone seems to think it’s an either/or deal. Baffling. Christians who don’t allow conversation about how new information affects their faith are doing themselves and society a disservice. Strangely, atheists seem to reinforce the either/or notion rather than allowing for the possibility of a more progressive Christian understanding to emerge. I do realise I’m making hugely sweeping statements here so forgive me – I just think it’s a shame this has to be a source of conflict, distracting from the important business of promoting justice and care for the vulnerable. Which after all is what the Church is supposed to be about.

  2. What you’re suggesting, Sarah, is called theistic evolution and it is not evolution as it is understood in biology class. Evolution by definition is the unguided and natural changes to life over time by various mechanisms. This is a foundational understanding and not one that can be ‘compromised’ into being something it is not.

  3. No, that’s not what I’m suggesting at all. I’m not so quick to put labels on things as that. I’m suggesting a conversation, an exploration of how what we know scientifically about evolution can inform – and transform – a christian understanding of creation, and ultimately of God. I’m not beyond believing in the possibility that there are other explanations we haven’t even thought of yet, because there’s still so much science doesn’t know about the universe and so much that christians don’t know about God. I think it’s possible to understand evolution as unguided and natural and still believe that God is integral to it, then dive into the mess in between and see where those two thoughts take you. And live with the question if you never come up with any answers. I think we struggle with the lack of innovative philosophy these days, I suppose because you couldn’t even get a zero-hour contract for that sort of work.

    I ought to have said in my first comment, for proper balance, that there may be a way to understand the creation story through the lens of evolutionary science, as well as the other way round. I’ve certainly found that to be more my experience, but my first thoughts were a direct response to what I read in the post, from those who cannot even consider that evolution could be incorporated into a faith in God.

  4. College or university should not be the first place students hear this talk:

    “God, Darwin and My College Biology Class”

    excerpt: “I CONCLUDE The Talk by saying that, although they don’t have to discard their religion in order to inform themselves about biology (or even to pass my course), if they insist on retaining and respecting both, they will have to undertake some challenging mental gymnastic routines. And while I respect their beliefs, the entire point of The Talk is to make clear that, at least for this biologist, it is no longer acceptable for science to be the one doing those routines, as Professor Gould and noma have insisted we do.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/opinion/sunday/god-darwin-and-my-college-biology-class.html

    • Sarah’s point is that evolution poses no problems to faith in
      a first cause: a higher being of alien, or god, if you will. I can’t stand the ACE dichotomy that it’s either/or. And, like such ‘believers’ in the either/or ‘biblical’ ‘creation’ versus evolution, I find the astonishing claim that evolution disproves a higher being/alien/god both striking and baffling.
      Mr Clare

  5. Wow, these comments are just amazing. So many of the “christian” commenters have such bad grammar. Which is depressing, since I ought to agree with them, being christian myself. Instead, I find myself gagging with horror and praying to God that I don’t come off like that. Additionally, I realize that while I am not a bible literalist, and I can still treasure my faith (contrary to the commenter who wrote that you have to believe in creation to be saved). And to the person who wrote, “I’m a post graduate with honours and I have an IQ of 148”, if he/she has to brag about their IQ, then they have already lost the argument (sadly, that is a typical IQ of a bright person, but not necessarily a genius, if you truck with that sort of thing).

    Thanks, Jonny, for posting these fascinating glimpses into your readers’ thinking.

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