From silly kid to cool sceptic dude

From silly kid to cool sceptic dude

ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) is an American brainwashing programme designed to turn children into biblical literalists, mindless little morons who are taught that if science contradicts the Bible in any way, science is in the wrong. It has infiltrated a great many countries, including the UK.

Jonny Scaramanga was a victim of ACE, and – according to this BBC report – is now being taught in about 50 independent schools across the UK.

So deeply did Scaramanga fall for the ACE’s garbage that, aged 12 he took part in the BBC Video Nation project and filmed himself talking about praying in tongues – a form of worship which occurs when someone allegedly receives “the Holy Spirit, enabling them to speak in another language”, which isn’t a language at all but a steam of gibberish.

He has since posted the video on YouTube and says the video now makes him want to “cringe” and “throw-up”.

Scaramanga aged 12 (click on pic to watch the video)

Scaramanga aged 12 (click on pic to watch the video)

Unlike many who are indoctrinated by ACE, Scaramanga, now 29 broke free from the fundamentalist “education” he received while attending Victory Christian School in Bath until he was 14. In the BBC report he described the experience as “horrendous”.

At 8:15 I would arrive at my ‘office’ – a desk 2ft wide, with dividers 18 ins tall, designed to remove ‘distractions’.

Every morning we had an opening exercise: reciting pledges of allegiance to Jesus Christ, God and the Bible. Next, we recited that month’s scripture passage; we had to memorise around 10-15 Bible-verses each month.

He said the school adopted a “fundamentalist attitude” to religion, adding:

If you believed what they believed, you were Christian. If you believed anything else, you were not Christian.

He said that at his school – which closed in 2000 – pupils had to learn and recount sections of Biblical scripture in order to pass any subject.

All of the content you learn with ACE has the religious message inherent within it. The politics coverage will say ‘this is what God thinks about social security’ and the science coverage will say ‘this is what God says about chemistry’.

Most controversial are its view that homosexuality is a “learned behaviour” and its teaching of creationism instead of evolution.

One science text book states:

The evolutionist needs some kind of a god with rules to explain what exists today, or he cannot explain it; and yet, he rejects such a god. It is more responsible and more reasonable to presuppose that God exists and then pick up the Bible and read ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’ (Genesis 1:1).

Then you can see purpose in Creation, understand change, accept miracles, and know that His purpose has a goal.

Earlier this week, Scaramanga , who established his Leaving Fundamentalism Facebook page – I urge you ‘like’ it – was a guest on BBC2’s Jeremy Vine show, where he goes into great detail about the negative impact this brainwashing had on his life, until he summoned the strength overcome the emotional and intellectual abuse ACE had forced on him. (He comes it at 1 hour and nine minutes into the programme, which is available on-line for the next four days.)

Note: The picture at the top of the page is from Scaramanga’s Leaving Fundamentalism Facebook page and was taken during his appearance on “The Big Questions” TV programme.

Hat tip: Agent Cormac

37 responses to “From silly kid to cool sceptic dude”

  1. Thanks for the kind words about me—I’m happy to be a cool sceptic dude—and more importantly spreading the word on ACE, Barry.

    For the sake of clarity, I should add that the American originators of Accelerated Christian Education would be quite opposed to praying in tongues. They are traditional conservative Baptists, who believe that speaking in tongues was for the early church only, and not today. However, ACE has been internationally very popular with with Pentecostals and Charismatics, who are very big on praying in tongues. My school had morning pre-school prayer meetings for older students where we prayed in tongues before school.

    This of course only serves to add to the ridiculousness of the whole thing: You have two groups of people, both of whom claim to believe the literal Word of God (as laid out plainly in the Bible), and yet they’ve come to diametrically opposed conclusions about praying in tongues. Clearly, they can’t both be right.

  2. Barry Duke says:

    Thanks for clarifying that, Jonny. But what about WRITING in tongues?

  3. andrewm031 says:

    Great article and great news that some people, however indoctrinated, have the resources to start thinking for themselves.
    Does ACE have anything to do with that wolf in sheep’s clothing known as The Alpha Course?

  4. Norman Paterson says:

    The 12-year-old JS is remarkably well able to express himself. I don’t think you need to cringe or throw up for who you are, or were. Kudos for posting the video even if you do feel that way.

  5. Agent Cormac says:

    Interesting lead article in today’s Observer which reports that a majority of Britons do not want tax-payers’ money to be spent on funding faith schools.

  6. Broga says:

    Well done, Jonny, and thanks for publicising this lying nonsense so effectively.

  7. Bubba T Flubba says:

    The pious have been ruthlessly hijacking the minds of children for centuries. It’s the only way religion can survive. Break the chain……no faith schools……and we can shake off the shackles of religion for ever.

  8. Broga says:

    I was in Brighton a few months ago and saw the Alpha Course prominently advertised on the front of one of the big churches. I can’t remember exactly what they promised but it was something about getting in touch with life and finding solutions to problems blah, blah, blah.

    It occurred to me at the time that churches don’t seem troubled by complaints to the Advertising Outfit about them seducing people with lies. Something, I suppose, which all churches do every day.

  9. Barry Duke says:

    Broga, that was probably St Peter’s, which joined a long list of redundant churches in Brighton in 2007. It was then infested by the Alpha bunch, and last Sunday when I was in Brighton they had a big Alpha fair, replete with inflatable white crosses. I fervently wished for a cloudburst.

    Didn’t happen 🙁

  10. Bubba T Flubba says:

    Watch the video and imagine that the indoctrination included the instruction that anyone praising a different god is filth upon the earth and is to be killed. That’s what happens in madrasahs. Now you see how evil old men incubate the soldiers of islam.

  11. bear47 says:

    those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
    I agree with you 100% Bubba.
    charlie in US of A

  12. andrewm031 says:

    You missed an opportunity. A bit of duct tape and a marker pen could have turned them into penises.

  13. andrewm031 says:

    When Voyager has exited the solar system, when we understand the inside of an atom amazingly well, human progression is held up by a few patriarchs who convince children that all the truth you need is written in books written several centuries ago, by writers who had no concept of evidence-based knowledge,

  14. Broga says:

    Barry. It was St Peter’s. My son lives in Brighton and I was doing a bit of dog sitting to let him and his family get away on holiday. I was on the way to the Railway Station (I don’t like motor way driving after I had a crash 7 years ago which nearly killed me) and I noticed these posters with the promises of the great life Alpha offered. I hadn’t realised St Peter’s had become redundant.
    I think Brighton, which I like, was named as the second most atheist city in the UK.

  15. Barry Duke says:

    And a pitchfork, Andrewm031, would have turned them into flaccid penises.

  16. barriejohn says:

    This article was rubbished on BBC News this morning. The newpaper reviewer was wearing a black suit and dog collar, and had been active in promoting education in “faith schools”, which was, in his opinion, above criticism!

  17. barriejohn says:

    The Alpha Course is also unashamedly charismatic, to the annoyance of people like arch-homophobe and climate-change denier K B Napier:

    I believe he’s a Calvinist, but most of his views would be heartliy endorseded by my old friends in the Plymouth Brethren, who are implacably opposed to such teachings. People were virtually excommunicated for buying Watchman Nee books!

  18. barriejohn says:

    I have linked to this article elsewhere on this thread, but here goes again:

    It is written by a fundamentalist religious fanatic, but is basically correct in what it says about the Alpha Course. The general public – and a great many Christians – are naive and gullible where religious matters are concerned. The propagators are confidence tricksters, plain and simple.

  19. Agent Cormac says:

    The sinister, faceless evangelists who run The Alpha Curse are very adept indeed at using advertising to make their entire mission appear to be anything other than religion-based indoctrination. By asking basic ‘life’ questions, making innocuous statements about life, the universe and everything, and using pictures of ‘curious’ young people ‘seeking meaning in life’, they make the whole thing seem like some sort of philosophical society, all wrapped up in a kind of fun, cafe-society, pseudo-dating vibe. Meanwhile, however, their website boasts that ’24 million people have tried Alpha’. Been duped into having xtianity hardwired into their gullible minds, more like.

    A few years ago, and without her parents’ knowledge, the daughter of a work colleague of mine got embroiled with the Alpha Curse and ended up all friendly with the people there. Before they knew it this ‘normal’ teenage girl was a changed person and answered to ‘god’ rather than them. To the point where for a lot of the time they had no idea where she was or what she was doing and had completely lost control of her behaviour. I’ve since moved away and haven’t been in touch with them for a while, but last I heard the girls’ parents were still tearing their hair out worrying about why their daughter had become a stranger who happily lied to them and had replaced her natural family with the ‘family’ she had found at church.

  20. Agent Cormac says:

    And then use those atrocities as propaganda to intimidate an entire population, Charlie.

  21. Agent Cormac says:

    OT, but for those of you who can stomach it, ‘Potty’ is once again revelling in the death of a fellow human being who didn’t happen to share his own insane take on life. Rik Mayall, on this occasion.

    ‘But why are the kids crying?’ And the kids will say, ‘Haven’t you heard? Rik is dead! The People’s Poet is dead!’

  22. Bubba T Flubba says:

    A bit of topic but this discussion point was just censored by the bbc from the discussion about the bloody mess in the Middle East…

    1. We need oil
    2. The islamists have most of it
    3. They have us over a barrel
    4. They know it
    5. We know it
    6. So we are under their control
    1. Put full international effort and investment in Thorium Atomic Energy and Fusion power generation technologies.
    2. Power civilised countries with this new technology.
    3. Leave the islamists to butcher each other.

    It was removed after several hours. Apparently it offended someone….I think the bbc has been emasculated. Did someone threaten to assault the bbc studios?

  23. bear47 says:

    Exactly my point. We have come so far with real, provable knowledge and yet there are asshats who ruin children just so they can keep their cushy jobs as preachers. They need to do this as I’ll bet that 99,999% of all preachers/priests/rabbis/etc could NOT hold down a real job for even half a day. These “teachers” are like a pimple on the hind end of humanity. Time to pop it once and for all. Organized religion is the absolute worst human invention ever in my opinion, yours may vary.

  24. Bubba T Flubba says:

    It’s not a pimple…….it’s suppurating gangrenous pus laden abomination.

  25. bear47 says:

    Agent Cormac, Absolutely, whatever these asshats can get away with. Remember, it is because of their religion so we are supposed to be tolerant of them and their beliefs. OK, fine, but ONLY up to a point. When they cross that point, then all bets are off. Those two homicidal maniacs who killed that off duty UK trooper on the street in the UK did that vile crime for their religion, and they deserve NO respect nor tolerance for it. They should be given life at hard time. My idea of hard time is making little rocks from big rocks. And ALL the vile, goddamn war criminals, W. Shrub, Mr. 5 Deferments Cheney and their entire administrations (both of them) plus your “dear old” Tony of Blair would be added to that list and the entire administration (again, both of them) of the vile drone king (aka; the (ig)Nobel piece Prizident) B. H. Obama aka; Gobomber. I’d even toss in the Clint-stones and their administrations and nearly every one of the 535 members of the US congress. (I refuse to use a capital “C” for that body until there are more than a bare handful of decent, honest members in both houses) Feel free to add to the short list of war criminals listed here. I kept it short on purpose, it could go on for many pages if I was going to list each of them in the US/NATO/EU. Of course I am certain that most of the regular readers of this site know who I mean. Life for them all at making little rocks from big rocks.
    I’d go so far as to toss in all the pedophile priests/ministers/other religious kiddie fiddlers and not just those who do so physically, the mental abusers would get the same sentence.
    See? I am an atheist and yet I think I am being very equality minded here, not discriminating for or against any religion nor political party/ideology, just the war criminals and those who abuse children in any way, physical, mental, emotional, etc.
    Yes, (pats himself on the back, softly due to rotten with arthritis shoulder) I think my list is quite fair and balanced. Or, do I give myself too much credit unduly? Oh well, and so it goes.
    charlie in US of A

  26. bear47 says:

    LOL, very descriptive Bubba. I was going to say it was a boil and needed to be lanced, but, oh well, old age and chronic pain got the better of me. It does most days of late. Old age, NOT for the faint hearted, but it supposedly beats the alternative, so they tell me. Some days, when the pain is at a 15 on a scale of 1 to 10, I am not all so sure that the alternative would be so bad.

    p.s. FYI to all; bear47= charlie in the US of A. My discus name has been bear47 for years, not sure how to change it. Any ideas? Is it even possible to change a discus screen name? Yeah, I;m too damn lazy to look it up…………LOL.

  27. Barry Duke says:

    Well, Mayall did write an autobiography called “Bigger than Hitler, Better than Christ”.

    Quote from a review: “He’s bigger than Hitler because his career has lasted longer, better than Christ because following his quad bike accident – at Easter, too – he rose from his coma after five days, making Jesus’s resurrection after
    three seem like a breeze.”

    Maybe that’s why “Potty” Hutton was gloating over Rik’s death.,_better_than_christ

  28. OK, I overcame my old, lazy and painful self and DID change my screen name and even got a photo of what I look like as my gravitar for discus. Hope this will clear the confusion about bear47 being me. Sorry for abusing the blog comments here with this, just wanted to clear it up. I promise to not abuse the site any more, or lat least I promise to try not to.

  29. Norman Paterson says:

    “rose from his coma after five days” – hee hee!

    Sorry to see you go, Rik. I was glad to share time with you.

  30. Norman Paterson says:

    PS Just read the review of Rik’s autobiog. Seems like a crap book. So Rik was not much of an author. That does not diminish what he was good at – outrageous farcical satire. We could do with more satire.

  31. Agent Cormac says:

    ‘So it goes’. You quote one of my all-time favourite authors, Charlie. The late, great Kurt Vonnegut was a literary genius – and a genuine wit besides.

  32. JohnMWhite says:

    This is the kind of petty unpleasantness I recall from my youth spent trapped in a religious community: the glee at the suffering or downfall of someone not quite to their liking, and the complete inability to afford their chosen enemies an ounce of credit. Even his job description, comedian, is in scare quotes, just so you know how Mr. Hutton is quite above thinking that sort of thing is funny.

  33. JohnMWhite says:

    I have always deeply disliked the premise of the Alpha Course. Aside from it being insidious and dishonest, it asks a fundamentally stupid question. “Is there more to life than this?” Have you seen the size of the fucking universe? Isn’t that enough? And why would I want to shrink it all down to ‘a bigger boy did it and he’s in charge so gays can’t marry’?

  34. andrewm031 says:

    Barry D and myself are also fans. We talked about him on here a few months ago.

  35. tony e says:

    I was dragged to the Alpha Course by a friend a few years ago, who felt that it ‘has answers’.

    The bloke who ran it picked up his bible and his opening statement was ‘What you find in here is fact!’

    Following my snort of derision and subsequent picking apart of Genesis I was, somehow, not asked back. Strange that.

  36. barriejohn says:

    This subject was featured on tonight’s Newsnight, and Jonny Scaramanga does appear, but you may, like me, be left feeling that an opportunity has been wasted here.

  37. Robster says:

    Is this bloke related to the Bond villain of the same name? He was probably seeking forgiveness from that jesus fantasy as believing in that person apparently resolves all “sin” or something. I wonder what they feed the kiddies at ACE school tuckshops? I’d bet its jesus crackers and (hopefully) de-alcoholised red wine.