Hey, I’m Jonny.
I grew up in the UK as a Christian fundamentalist. Most people think this kind of fundamentalism does not exist in Britain, or it is limited to certain ethnic communities, like black pentecostals. They have no idea what fundamentalists believe, and certainly no clue what it’s like to be one.
I know all of these things. I know what it is to be lied to for an entire childhood, and then to spend your 20s trying to separate fact from fiction while worrying that you could be condemning yourself to eternal damnation.
So I am writing a book about it. This blog is for the research I turn up along the way that doesn’t fit into my book.
I’ve written about fundamentalism for the Times Education Supplement, and discussed it on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme, hosted by Edward Stourton.
Would you like me to write about any of these issues for your blog or magazine? Please get in touch.
G’day Jonny, I am interested to come across your blog. I’m sure there’ll be things we disagree about, but we’ll see. Best wishes.
Welcome, unklee. Dissenting opinions will always be welcome on this blog. My fundamentalist school tried to stifle debate. As long as the conversation is civilised, all views are welcome here.
Nice to meet you Sir. Thanks for the follow and have a nice day.
I have a question for you. Forgive me if it’s something you’ve already covered here but I haven’t read all your blog posts (yet).
Was losing your faith a gradual thing, or was there one ‘eureka’ moment? Or was it a bit of both?
A while ago I met someone who left the type of background you have done, though his background was probably less extreme than yours. What did it for him was that someone he knew, a gay guy, was really ill – some horrible skin condition, I think. His pastor (or priest/whatever) told this guy I met that his gay friend was being punished by God for being gay. Obviously. But when he was at his friend’s house he just felt such overwhelming sympathy for him. He told me, “All I saw was another human being in pain”. It chokes me up even writing it. I think from that point he lost his faith.
Also, a girl I know had a very mild and harmless religious upbringing, nothing like yours. They used to go to mass every week and one day a homeless guy walked in to the church – who was obviously in need of help, right? Well, he was quickly ushered away (by the priest or one of the priest’s sidekicks, I’m not sure). The irony, of course, is that this was probably the one guy in the church that day who actually really needed help. To the credit of my friend and her family, they went looking for the guy to buy him some food. But it was from that point she started thinking, “Maybe this whole thing is a load of bollocks.”
I imagine you’re probably covering this in the book, in which case I understand if you don’t want to spill the beans just yet, and I’ll have to wait!
It would be an interesting (and vital) piece of research for someone i.e. the common factors that tend to make people say, “cheque, please!”, either gradually or suddenly. I’m sure many have already covered it. As I said to the guy I met with the sick friend, “So you left for moral reasons.”
That’s a good question. I can actually remember a lot less of the detail than I’d like. I was progressively educated out of it over a span of several years. When we did evolution in GCSE biology, I realised that ACE had misrepresented how evolution is supposed to work. I didn’t start believing in it right away, but it was one of the first question marks.
At A level politics, there was another one, when my teacher taught me about Marxism. I discovered that there, too, ACE had entirely misrepresented what communism was all about.
It was a sequence of things like that – moments of learning that I’d been misled. Plus the last two years I was attending church, I was suicidal, so I was open to hearing some different answers.
Reading Richard Dawkins’ “Viruses of the Mind” essay (which you can find online) caused me a lot of sleepless nights because I found it so persuasive, yet I desperately still wanted to believe.
So it was a very long and painful journey. Does that answer your question?
Those stories you tell are beautiful, in a sad way. The internet is making me realise I’m much less unique than I thought.
I’m a fundamentalist missionary kid (MK). When we came back to the USA in 1980, I finished my last year of high school in a church using the ACE curriculum. I was training for the ministry, and after my undergraduate work joined the police department (I know–it doesn’t fit). I experienced incredible trauma and my faith imploded. It was a very dangerous time–I really didn’t get my feet back under me until around age 40. Almost 50 now, and life is finally sweet. It took much thinking, reading, experiencing, education and love to recover. There are so many of us with similar stories, and we share a kinship others won’t ever understand.
That’s a perfect description of what it takes. I’m really glad you have recovered. I hope the readers of the blog who are struggling now will see your comment and realise that there is a way through.
I’m really glad to have you here. If you’d ever like to write a post about your experiences, I’d be happy to put it on the blog.
Thanks, Jonny, yes that does answer my question.
I haven’t heard of that Dawkins essay so that’s another thing for my reading list.
Like I mentioned before, I was lucky to have a pretty secular upbringing. I was probably one of the people Dawkins describes as “believing in belief”. I thought it’s not for me but it’s all pretty harmless. But the more I read generally about religion’s potentially poisonous effects, especially on women and children, and also on core rights such as free expression, I realised it’s very harmful nonsense.
Faith schools terrify me. People are sleepwalking into a sectarian dystopia. But if decent people all do a bit (and you’re doing more than your fair share) we have a chance.
Let me know if you are interested in citing some of my research in your upcoming book.
~ The Toad
Today i first encountered a reference (a negative one) to the Accelerated Christian Education. I did some more exploring, on their own sites, and of course, also found yours. I learned a lot here and i think you are doing a great job on informing people of the dangers inside their own culture. On the European site of the ACE under “Philosophy of Christian information” the first line i read was:
“Scripture says: “Train up a child in the way that he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This sums it all up, doesn’t it? Luckily they are wrong. And there will always be spirits like you (also read all the other replies) in which the own investigating mind does conquer in the end. I will definitely share a link to your blog on my Google account. And i wish you a lot of succes with your book.
Well, I guess I’m getting out of the religion and politics business. Some people are cut out for it and some aren’t. I don’t think it really suits me. Feel free to stop by my bog whenever you have time. I’ll be pruning the R/P material from it though, or at atleast as much as is reasonable.
OK, I’ll be sorry to see you go. I’ll check out the music stuff.
I’m looking forward to the day when you have your music career going full swing. I don’t know how you manage to do this and the music, but I’m glad you do.
To tell you the truth, lately the music has suffered because of this. I just feel this is more important, and it’s sapping my enthusiasm to play. I’ll get back to it at some point.
I came across this on WordPress. It compares the Swedes with the Brits about sex education. I don’t know how one would compare ACE with Briton, let alone Sweden. But here’s the link. I like the way the lass wrote it. http://sarabran.com/2012/07/02/birds-bees-and-especially-swedes/
Thanks for this awesome website.
I, too, have been freed from the shackles of fundamentalist education. Isn’t it wonderful to open your mind for the first time to the wonders of evolution? I can imagine it’s not too dissimilar to wearing glasses for the first time after many years of squinting.
Minus Grade 1, the entirety of my education was delivered via home education here in Canada using A Beka books. My parents told me they wanted me to be better educated than what I could get through the public school system. Right. So, in preparation for my first serious Biology exam, my mother skipped over the chapter on evolution, declaring it unnecessary information to pass the course. The exam was primarily based on that unit. I passed the course with an astounding 50 some%.
After marrying my husband, (who is also British), he encouraged me to learn more. Which I did and am doing! Education is the enemy of reason, I’ve been told. I believe it. After redoing high school biology, chemistry and maths I have abandoned my faith and embraced freedom that I never imagined possible. However, you are not alone in the worry of eternal damnation. Initially, I lost sleep over that. I’m haunted less and less these days, but I wonder, has it ever left your mind?
It’s good to know I’m not alone. 🙂
Great to hear from you Shanon. It’s good to know I’m not alone too.
Did you mean education is the enemy of unreason? Anyway, I agree with you. The sense of freedom that comes from escaping oppressive forms of religion is unbelievable. Given that I was constantly taught that true freedom was only in Jesus, I’m constantly surprised at how restricted I was for so long.
You know, the eternal damnation thing is tough. I did have a “what if I’m wrong?” moment late at night at a few weeks ago. They’re getting rarer and rarer though.
I’d like to offer you the slogan from the ‘It gets better’ project which is directed at young gay people – it works too for the children of fundamentalist Christian parents. In many ways I was lucky, my ‘Damascene’ conversion took place three weeks after arriving at university. I was walking to church, and I slowly came to a halt as the thought entered my head that I was no longer compelled to do this. As I stood on the pavement, I felt a large black shiny case slide off me and I stepped out and over it. It was the most extraordinary moment in my life (and I am now 53!). Yet it took about fifteen years before I no longer experienced the ‘what if I’m wrong?’ moments which would usually come to me in the middle of the night, so powerful is the inculcation of the terror of hell. But yes, it does get better, you do get over it, and, in my case, even come close to something of a reconciliation with my parents, though they can obviously never accept my status – as gay as well as not a Christian.
Good luck with the blog – I still feel a little rage when I walk past the local evangelical church and see those poor kids in their Sunday best. Anything which can contribute to letting them know that one day they will find out who they really are – and actually like that person – is worth a shot.
I have had a very similar experience to you with regards to a religious upbringing and a self motivated transition towards, well, common sense!
For me it started when I decided to study philosophy, ever since I havn’t stopped questioning and it took me along to really stop believing in god and to repair the damage a life time of christian teaching had done.
I’m really chuffed to see someone like you taking the time to voice via this medium your experiences and current opinions.
I always thought that Darwin’s real genius was seeing the ‘wood through the trees’ as it were. Having the balls to question the common understanding and beliefs that were so rife then.
So my hat goes off to you!
Thanks Ben. I really appreciate the support. It’s sometimes depressing wading through all this, so your comment helps.
Plus, I’m optimistic that we can make a small difference, so I need as many people on side as possible.
Are you going to cover the material in the ACE Physical Science, Chemistry, and Physics? I have read some sites which state that the material is inadequate to College/University level Scienes. How about discussing ACE’s version of College Studies like English Composition I and II?
Thanks for asking, Thomas. Are you an ACE student?
To answer your question, I want to cover that stuff, but I don’t have those PACEs currently. I’m starting a PhD in education in October, and I will be examining the curriculum in detail. So I will probably cover that stuff, but not for a while.
No, I am not. I occasionally volunteer at a school that uses ACE(sometimes other publishers). The treatment of students are extremely light compared to other stories in this site. No one is physically abused. I find it sad to know graduates who enter the nursing field via an adult school will be subjected to taje a G.E.D. test to enter crappier, for profit schools because they realise the cirriculum is not accredited. Students must double up on Math and English at a Community College just to avoid proving their primary education.
The school I volunteer at has them do the elective, Literature and Creative Writing. Its an ACE product that covers critical thinking through the pedegogy of ACE. It’s sightly better than the English books. Only downfall is that it teaches you how to write a complete sentence response, just like the way High School Science does it.
I’m interested in the Literature and Creative Writing stuff. I know it exists, but I’ve never seen it. When I was in ACE, it was for the lower grades only, and it’s my understanding that’s still the case.
It’s true that some schools do have more humane discipline policies, and that some supplement the curriculum with high quality additional learning activities. I am doubtful, though, whether the skills of critical thinking can be taught through an individualised, programmed-learning pedagogy.
Hi Jonny, I have worked with you way back in your BIMM days, and i whilst rearching religion and the role of women, i stumbled accross this website. so i thought i would have a rant.
I work in a womans refuge in bristol, helping women rebuild thier lives after suffering domestic abuse, and i would be interested to hear what fundamental christians (or any fundalmental reglion) would advise these women to do. As i understand it, these organisations tell our young women that the highest they should aim for in life is to be married to a godley man, and have loads of children. Thats fine and dandy if the marriage is happy and equal, but to my undersatnding, biblical marriage asks these young women to fully submit to their husband, and follow in his leadership. What happens when domestic abuse takes place within the marriage, I have read the bibles opinion on divorce, and to my understanding adultery is the only valid reason for it. Should these respressed women stay in a dangerous marriage in the hope that these “Godly Leaders of the home” see the light and change their ways?. To my experience these men hardly change, and a lot of these women could end up seriously harmed, or dead. Anyway, i should stop now, before i get to carried away.
Hi Claire, great to hear from you. I worked with a few Claires at BIMM so I’m still trying to place which one you are. I agree with your rant. Despite claiming the moral high ground, I often find fundamental religions on the wrong side of morality.
Place me on the reception desk, many moons ago! 🙂 oh and i should have checked some of my spelling in my rant, oops!!
Claire!!!! Awesome to hear from you. I had no idea you were doing that now. Sounds like it’s great work you’re doing.
My name is Krysia, I gave you the life-assemblage/death-assemblage explanation at Questival. If there are any other points you’ve come across in the ACE books that need a geological explanation, I’m more than happy to help. All the best 🙂
Krysia! You are a legend. I’m glad you stopped by my blog. You may live to regret that offer, as I expect to have a lot of questions further down the line, but the good news is that you’re one of two geology experts to have come forward, so I can split the work between the two of you.
I really like your blog. I have kinda gone through the same process my self even though I did not loose faith – not completely. I have some left. But not in the nutty fundamental-every-body-needs-Jesus-and-btw-creationist-is-true-way.
I will drop by from time to time to see whats going on. I see myself in you.
Thanks Samuel. It will be great to have your contributions.
Fundamentalism damages the essence of the spirit; one doesn’t marry well with the other within this path of belief. I found it disconcerting as a spiritual/empathic person, that individuals like myself would be condemned as ‘blasphemers’ or simply being in league with the devil. So much has been convoluted in the name of God. The Bible, to be honest, doesn’t seem to express too much peace and goodwill. I have read the first four books of the old testament and was astounded that I never found or experienced a modicum of enlightenment, all I was reading was some ancient archive of names that begat so and so, then how to construct an altar, and the procedure of butchery. Somehow I just failed to see where there was room for ‘connection’ with the spirit and the sense of freedom that would go with this. I have had it hammered into me that reading the bible would release me from negative feelings, that it was practically the gateway to heaven, still, nothing in the scriptures would ‘move’ or ‘inspire’ me. Then one comes across organizations professing to be that degree closer to God, and if anyone wants to share the privilige of this, one has to foresake so much in order for this to happen, they ‘hunt’ for those they deem easily impressed and start binding them gradually into a vicious cycle of guilt and self loathing; they wield this strange power over followers that is akin to despotism. A very frightening, disturbing and tragic way to present God into people’s lives.
It is impossible to read the 4 gospels and come up with Christianity. Most fundamentalists are narrow minded and judge mental.
There is one God, one garden & one people. Once your faith is in a creed, by definition you eliminate everybody else who doesn’t believe what you believe.
The Bible has to be interpreted metaphorically. Who cares whether Jonah was a real person, the issue is the message in the story. As an ex fundamentalist YWAM leader my conclusion is that most fundamentalists have their faith in their faith. Since dumping fundamentalism I have become more tolerant, less judging and able to see people instead of their doctrine.
Hi, Jonny … I would love to talk with you, and I will be following your blog. I have just released my debut novel, TELEVENGE, a story about the dark side of televangelsim. Like you, I grew up in fundamentalism. If you get the chance, please check out my website, http://www.pamelakingcable.com. I’ve been on the radio a great deal lately, saying many of the same things you do. My own story, my spirituality, inspired the novel. I’m not writing this for publicity, I just want to share with you my experience. There’s a great deal of information on my site, and I am also on FB and Twitter. I’m enjoying your blog, and hope to meet you someday.
Hey Jonny, I was recommended by Adam of ILYBYGTH to check your blog out and it’s pretty cool. Elucidates a side of the UK I haven’t seen since reading ‘Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit’. Keep it up!
Thanks minus christ. Adam’s blog is great. Someone recommended “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit” to me recently… I’ll have to read it now.
Well I read your blog with a great deal of interest. Thank you for taking the time to write.
Now, let me declare my position. I guess we would disagree on many things. I’m actually a missionary in remote Zambia. However that doesn’t mean we can’t talk 🙂
Couple of thoughts:
1) You seem to conflate the ACE system with faith based teaching as a whole. ACE I believe is just one example of faith based teaching. Whatever you think of ACE (I’ve read a lot of your comments, enough to be concerned ré ACE btw), it does not logically follow that all faith based teaching is bad.
2) I too think a lot of the people you quote/focus on are nutter side of the church, and I’m a fairly full on Christian! It would be nice, and a much fairer view to include good examples of the church and Chrsitiantiy working (and there are many!) I do feel that this would distort the view that you are espousing re faith, religion and education. Are you committing the same wrong in presenting limited information, biased examples and agenda based articles? You accuse the Christian educators of doing exactly the same?
3) Education, yes even secular education, contains bias and does not always encourage freedom of expression and thinking cf paradigms of thinking – sociology/psychology. Secularism has an abiding intolerance for religion, which it believes is nonsense even poisonous (circa Dawkins etc. ). This is despite many examples of Christian and faith based goodness in the world. Certainly as much harm has been done to the world and people in the name of secularism. Maybe it is something to do with selfishness and greed?
A few thoughts anyway. I’m not trying to defend ACE, I’m not particularly a fan. However I don’t feel you are necessarily being even handed and I do believe you possibly play to your secular, religion bashing audience. Maybe I’m just trying to help you to see your own bias. However I admit you don’t exactly hide it! 🙂
Thanks for the thoughts, hope this finds you well
Great to hear from you. It’s unusual for someone who disagrees with me to be so polite. Actually, I’ve had a few Christian commenters respectfully disagreeing with me recently. This is nice. I’m glad of the discussion, and it seems you’re all trying to win me over with your charm! You’re right that we’ll probably disagree on many things, but I welcome that.
So, with regard to your points
1) I’d be interested if you would point out where you think I’ve conflated faith-based teaching and ACE so we can discuss it. I actually sometimes think my blog is too ACE-specific. I am concerned about some faith schools more widely. A Beka and Bob Jones University Press are two other American fundamentalist curricula which, from my reading, seem even worse than ACE in terms of content. And I’m worried by fundamentalist schools of other religions too, but I don’t have any expertise on them.
I’m not automatically against faith schools though. Many of my blog readers are opposed to Church of England schools too, but I haven’t made up my mind about them yet. I went to a CofE primary, and it was by far the best school I attended.
2) It’s true I do only quote from extreme Christians, and I don’t intend for this to be a representation of the church more widely. Many Christians I’ve spoken to agree with me about ACE and other extremists, and I’m glad of their support. I could perhaps make this clearer. But, if you read my blog, I think you’ll agree that I am careful to describe the people I quote as fundamentalists. I don’t pretend that all Christians are like this. The majority of Christians would be appalled by ACE, I think.
3) This is a point many people have made, and I’m not sure if I agree. Well, I accept that there are many forms of education which limit freedom of expression. I oppose them all equally. I have just chosen to make ACE my focus because not many people know about it, and I know a lot.
Thanks for your comments. I hope we get a chance to discuss this more sometime.
Hi Jonny, just wondering whether you have read Keith Ward’s book, What the Bible really teaches – a challenge to fundamentalists, which is a scholarly and fair book about literal readings of the Bible?
Hi Jon, thanks for recommending this book. I’m going to read it, and having googled Keith Ward I think he’s written a lot that is relevant to my research. Nice one.
I came across your blog while searching for ACE reviews. We are on the hunt for a good biology program for my son, and I was considering the ACE paces…and maybe not now that I started reading your posts!
I appreciate what you are trying to do. I too grew up in a fundamentalist environment (MK). It has taken me years, and the process is still continuing, of extricating myself. My thought processes were so messed up and confused. I basically told God that I was done with it all. I was quite relieved and surprised that He didn’t squish me with the big proverial thumb over my rebellion. Instead, I felt that he had been waiting for me to chuck it all so He could start over and show me the REAL God. I quit reading the Bible for a very long time, and instead read books about people’s real experiences with Him. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I could open the Bible without feeling nauseated.
We educate our children at home. And, no, I am not a crazy I-love-to-homeschool-it-is-the-only-way kind of mom. It is a trial, and a hassle, but for now we are doing it. My kids are well rounded and socialize well in a variety of situations.
My battery is almost dead on the laptop- I will be checking back for more posts.
I just discovered your blog and the first thing I had done afterwards was searching for a facebook page of the blog. It is a very convenient way to deliver your thoughts to a much broader audience and draw much more attention. I think you should open a fb page and just paste the link of the new content when you added to the blog. It is hard for some us to follow a blog.
I have followed the comments on this site with interest as we have homeschooled with ACE and been part of an ACE school. Our daughter left at sixth form to study A levels at college, she also gained GCSEs in Maths and English in addition to her ACE qualification.
She has a personal and solid faith and maturity and good sense well beyond her years, her life is a complete contrast to the frantic, unbalanced mess of a life that I had at her age when I had no Christian faith.
For us, ACE had its faults and frustrations, as well as its blessings, but we never just relied on the curriculum, we went to numerous Creation/ Evolution talks, debates and conferences with speakers from around the world and found the geological and other findings to be on the side of God’s Word; we left various churches because we felt that they did not faithfully preach the Bible.
My husband and I came to faith quite late in life after a huge amount of searching, reading and questioning; my husband studies God’s Word for hours daily and I know that this brings incredible blessings to us as a family. He is by nature a somewhat cynical person and he has been determined to search for The Truth and not just accept what a church, pastor or modern ‘feel good’ Christianity might tell him.
People mention how they have been traumatised by a ‘fundamentalist faith’; both my husband and myself were traumatised by a life devoid of The Lord Jesus Christ and I regularly see friends, family and work colleagues who are tormented, sometimes with hideously distorted and difficult lives; I believe that without The Lord Jesus they have no lasting peace and so often lurch from one disaster to another because they do not have Biblical values to guide them.
I have walked on both sides of the street, with Christ and without and I know where I belong and where my lasting peace and hope is. It does not make life ‘easy’ but gives an incredible purpose and eternal perspective to life that I know I would not have without Jesus Christ.
When all is said and done, systems like ACE are man made, whilst they may be useful aids in providing a Christian education, I believe the only infallible way is to trust in God’s Word, The Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
I am sorry to enter this debate so late, but as a geologist your comments caught my attention. You said “we went to numerous Creation/ Evolution talks, debates and conferences with speakers from around the world and found the geological and other findings to be on the side of God’s Word”.
The rocks are what they are. Anyone can go and visit them, examine the evidence and then interpret them as to the story they tell. The story is not simple, but if you look at the rocks in detail, up and down the stratigraphic column, and over wide areas, the story is very clear, pointing to a very old earth, in places with abundant fossils showing that the animal groups changed dramatically through time. You will find, to use the words of James Hutton, “a succession of worlds” each with their own biota, separated from each other by geological hiatuses that, assuming you accept silicate chemistry, can only be explained by time gaps of exceptionally long periods.
Did ever one of your Creation/ Evolution speakers ever invite you to visit the rocks with them, to show evidence of a young, recently created Earth? If they did I would very intrigued to know what they showed you. I would like to go on that field trip myself. If they did not, then I sincerely invite you get a geological text book and look for yourself. The rocks do not confirm or deny religion, rather they are neutral on the subject, but they do show that a literal Biblical interpretation cannot be sustained. I encourage you to and look.
This blog brings back old memories of Ace, Christi, Pudge, Reginald and cursive writing. I went to an ACE school in Oxfordshire over 25 years ago. I agree with many of your observations and share some of your concerns. However, I have to say the people who I’ve kept in touch with from my school days have turned out to be ‘fairly’ normal and intelligent members of society despite having such an unusual upbringing. I do think there are many positive things in the ACE system that could benefit mainstream education. For example, goal setting and other components of individual learning/tuition.
It’s interesting looking back at some of the material online, I certainly can’t identify with much of it as an adult. What I find most disturbing is the way in which the material is propogated without any academic discussion or scientific justification. I support parents choice to give their children a religious education, as long as any alternative material is debated along side secular teaching.
Good luck with your book and I look forward to reading more of your blog and seeing some cartoons if you manage to get your hands on any old PACEs.
Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m glad that you were able to abandon fundamentalism and effects of those lies. I have vivid images of this type of lies to children back when I was in the world of Islam. I was more privileged in terms of my parents, they were better educated than many others back home and taught me about science and how to be sceptical.
Good luck to your future endeavours in exposing nonsense!
Thanks for visiting my blog and liking my post! I appreciate it very much. I’ve enjoyed my visit here and look forward to following your posts. 🙂
Thanks for checking my blog out. Hope to see you again. I will come back and check yours out soon.
You might recognise me from a post I did about homeschooling for Wide Open Ground. I would like to nominate you for a Liebster Award:
Now, you probably know that this is more of a chain letter than an award, and I absolutely don’t expect you to actually do the whole “answer 11 questions and repost” thing. It doesn’t at all fit with the nature of your blog. I just wanted you to know that I had listed you because I really appreciate what you are doing here and I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your work.
Sophelia! That Wide Open Ground post was wonderful. I’m honoured you like my blog. Thank you for much for the Liebster. I’ll be following you.
Thank you ^_^ But I mostly blog about living in Japan, so it’s probably not particularly interesting for you.
I’m not just interested in fundamentalism.
I’ve been alerted to your blog via Atheism UK. I’m sorry I missed your talk at Conway House on Sunday (my daughter was taken ill), but I was quite shocked by the Atheism UK summary of your talk that OFSTED have sometimes approved of ACE. As a primary school teacher in a school that is due to be visited by OFSTED any week soon, I am very aware of how difficult it is for what is essentially an excellent school to now reach the unreachable standards demanded by OFSTED for official “outstanding” status. We are working very hard to give all our pupils the very best education we can, and I am appalled that ACE’s narrow, “unthinking” curriculum can be considered acceptable!
So, seen as my Atheism UK email suggested you might be interested in mounting a campaign against the ridiculous situation of allowing parents to choose to deprive their children of a real education, then I am letting you know that I am interested in helping out if there’s something I can do.
Thank you Carolyn. I appreciate the encouragement, and I’ll keep you in touch. You can subscribe to the blog for updates, too.
Hey. I grew up a fundamentalist in America. It really sucked and to this day I struggle with it. I left when I was 21. It has been a hard but rewarding journey. My dream would be to one day help people that have come out of this cult as I like to call it. I love your blog. Thanks for all you do. And please let me know when your book comes out:)
Thank you debby. I appreciate that. You might be interested in something called the Apostasy Project which I’m involved with, designed to help people like you. http://www.apostasy.org.uk
Thank you very much! I have already looked it up and I like it so far. You are doing an amazing job helping people. Thanks again.
Thanks for subscribing. I’m honored to have you aboard and will soon “climb aboard” your cyber ship! I have heard about you from other ex-fundys. Btw, I’m getting pretty passionate about my non-fundy Christian faith which is so non-fundy that it would not merit the term “Christian” for most people. I’d like to get your feedback sometime about my blathering.
Followed you from the Ark. 🙂
I just stumbled upon your blog, and I’ve found it really interesting so far! I’ve got some reading ahead of me 🙂 Have a look at my latest post if you have a minute: http://chantelelston.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/evolution-is-a-supplement-to-my-faith/
Hi, Jonny, I’m a (non-fundamentalist) Christian, but it seems today I’m on your side! There was an article on the Christian Post about a woman in Indiana who had attempted to murder her baby by gagging him with a sock. The woman was suffering from bipolar disorder, and when her husband returned and saved the child was horrified about what she had done. The comments that followed were incredibly judgemental; the woman should be buried under the prison, the father was to blame going out and leaving the child with the nutter wife, etc etc. Someone had posted along the lines of “let’s hear all the moronic support and excuses for the mother”. I suggested that you should feel sad for everyone involved in the situation – that bipolar disorder meant she was suffering absolute misery. I also commented that just because mental illness makes you do crazy and evil things it doesn’t make you an evil person.
He really took exception to that and described it as “misguided humanistic hogwash”!
I am really sorry you lost your faith, but given the atmosphere of lies and deception you experienced, I’m not surprised. I am also something of a refugee from evangelical Christianity and now mostly attend Quaker meetings for worship. Quakers are really into “misguided humanistic hogwash”!
Thanks Iain. Christians who oppose fundamentalism are welcome here; it’s great to hear from you.
Hi, I’m new to your blog and even though I disagree with some of your views, there are some that I agree with. I study at ACE , and now I am free, and here’s my story:
I studied in a school were ACE is the curriculum for 6 years and you know, that ACE is not letting their students talk when studying in their offices. As six years passed, because of that, I learned to talk to myself. It limits my socialization and verbal skills that’s why I’m not very good at talking to people. It even comes to a point that I’m really scared of people. Even though it enhances my math skills(because I hate math before) and enhances my knowledge of things, I deeply regret that I studied in that school. I do not experience to be happy. I do not even experience to dance in a prom because the school is a conservative christian. I do not experience to be happy with friends. Six years was gone like a wind. I cannot transfer because they are not registered in the department of education and I have no record that’s why I take a test and I passed for a college level and now i am free. I am still a christian (but not a fundamentalist) and I promise to myself that if I will have kids, I will never make them study in ACE. Now, I am starting my undergraduate course, and aspiring to be lawyer.
Great to hear from you. Thanks for commenting. I’d love to hear how you disagree as well as how you agree.
I am very curious and mean no harm. I probably have not read enough to know, but I am wondering, Are you against Christianity as a whole, or just fundamentalist Christianity? Is there a difference to you in the two?
Thanks for the comment. I am not a Christian, but I wouldn’t say I am against Christianity as a whole. I certainly see a difference between the two. I only criticise fundamentalist Christianity here, not Christianity in general. In fact, I have a lot of Christian readers and commenters, and I really value their support.
That’s great. I personally left a fundamentalist church and I can see a huge difference in other churches. There was a lot of emotional harm towards me personally, but I could not and would not let go of my faith in God. I decided one day it was like a surgeon, he uses the same tool as a mugger, but one uses it to hurt, the other toheal. TThat’s why I was curious if you were against just one or both. Do you still communicate with friends and family from the fundamentalists?
I am sorry about your experience. I guess on the bright side it has made you into the man that you are today. The world of fundanmentalist is one of extreme and is fairly recent in Chrisitanity…have you ever read the cathechism of the Cahtolic Church? I am just curious, if you have look beyond Fundamentalist tradiation and look at the one church that all other christiean churches come from…
Cheers and God Bless!
Hi Jonny,………I grew up in a home without a Bible and my family was anti-Christian. Actually I went on to marry a man who was also anti- Christian too, but at the age of 29yrs I came to faith. I ‘d never set foot in a Christian church or attended a Christian meeting. I’m a nurse and at the time was really “married” to my work. I loved everything about it and still do. I didn’t ‘come to faith over night . It took about 18 months of questioning until one day I got down on my knees in my living room and gave my life to the Lord. Why did I do this? Well because I thought about what the Lord claims about Himself….Slow to anger…..that He has an ever lasting love and reasoned that if this was true He would answer a request (prayer) that was close to my heart. My husband was training to be a driving instructor at the time and worked 7 days a week , often coming home at 8-9 at night. By then too tired to talk about anything. So I payed. Each time my husband would come home saying that the lesson was cancelled. and that meant he was home for 2 hrs. So I started praying about a lot of other things and they were all answered, until one day I said to the Lord that I believed. It was then that I gave my life to the Lord. I became aware of Him from this point and He has never let me down. My husband came to faith too after I prayed for him, but it took another 6 months. I didn’t tell him about my faith but prayed. I bought a N/T and he found it and was so angry with me, so I just kept praying and then he too came to faith. It was only then that we went to church, but not straight away.
I’m sorry that you have been hurt and are angry because of it. I was abused too in a non Christian family and it has taken a long time come through this Actually since coming to the Lord my family have disowned me. I haven’t seen them now for 13yrs, but I know who I can trust and He isn’t human. Man often hurts man and this leads to anger , frustration and pain, but have you ever looked for the Lord or prayed too Him?……….something which is important to you, that no one else knows about? Before walking away completely why don’t you go direct to Him. If He is real isn’t it reasonable that He will answer you . After all the word says that He doesn’t want anyone to be lost and wants everyone to know Him. If this is true then He will answer you. This is how I came to faith.
My time in school was really bad. I was bullied on the way to school . at school and on the way home and not one of my teachers helped me or supported me. It’s funny that I always wanted to become a nurse. As I said I was abused at home . When I left school it was like being let out of prison and I found college a breath of fresh air. I left home at 20yrs, but loved my parents and still do even now when they have rejected me and my family. It works both ways. People can hate you for all kinds of reasons, but I know one thing and that is that I will never loose my faith……..because I know Him. Why don’t you ask Him if He is real and let Him answer you. He says in the word , “come let us reason”……….why not see if He is real. There are some strange churches out there and most don’t follow the word, or they have become legalistic and have lost their first love. In Revelations it talks about the 7 churches………if the church doesn’t continue with the Lord He leaves the church. Is the church of man? Is it a social club where people go just because it’s the thing to do , or do they go because they want to meet up with the Lord and worship Him. If they are walking with the Lord there will be the Lords love present. But just as man isn’t perfect you will never find a church which is perfect………only the Lord is perfect.
Everything I ‘ve said is true. I know the Lord loves you. He says that even if we are not faithful (walk away) He is faithful, so He is still there with you……….so I would encourage you to seek Him and let Him answer for Himself.
We came out of a fundamentalist church several years ago now, they had a Christian school using the ACE curriculum in which I sometimes volunteered. It was all very narrow minded and rigid (both church and school) thankfully a lot of the children attended only for a time and them moved on, usually due to parent’s disinclination to continue paying the fees and/or moving on from the church.
We attend a lovely Anglican Church now, very involved with the community on a housing estate which I think truly mirrors the character of Jesus towards people. My faith has evolved and changed (and I do think it’s a life long journey) but it’s now more authentic as we are involved in the real world. I’m sorry this experience has caused you to reject God. Faith is never black and white, the Bible is open to interpretation and there is much mystery. Faith is also a gift and when you have it, it’s like a little pilot light inside which might flicker a lot abut never quite goes out.
I’m glad you escaped the rigid and narrow church. Faith in God isn’t something I have or want, but I appreciate your sentiment.
I found this blog because of your comments on the documentary Jesus Camp. I’m a “reformed” fundamentalist myself, and I understand your plight. My family, almost all of them, are still “God-fearing” people, even those who drink like fish and never attend church. I have been all but ostracized because I went from one extreme to the other, where I now don’t believe in religion at all. It’s been a rough road, and I’ve never quite been able to forgive the indoctrination of my youth, nor the fact that those same people are pressuring me to indoctrinate my children. They pray, I know for a fact, for some terrible thing to beset me and my family so that I will be shown the way back to God. And always, somewhere in the back of my mind, is the ingrained fear that maybe I’m wrong and I will pay for this for all of eternity. The scars fundamentalism has left on me are deep. I look forward to reading your blog and hearing some of your thoughts. I wish you the best!
Hey, I was on holiday when you left your comments so I missed them, but thanks so much for coming by and commenting. I wish you the best too.
Pingback: A Utopian Reading of Pinker’s Better Angels Of Our Nature « Utopia or Dystopia
Pingback: Faith, fundamentalists….and a serious commitment to toilets | Faith in Learning
Pingback: Fear and Loathing in Fundamentalist America | I Love You but You're Going to Hell
Pingback: Christian deconvertees. Stepping into the light… | A Tale Unfolds
Pingback: Lies, damned lies, and ‘The Bible’ | Clouds moving in