Jonny Scaramaga ‘s talk was called ‘My Escape From Fundamentalism’. Others may disagree, but I don’t think this talk lived up to its title, because it was more about growing up with fundamentalist parents than it was about Jonny’s escape, which he only touched on. I suppose Jonny is mostly known for being at an ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) school, however, again, his talk only touched on this. Nevertheless, it was a good talk in spite of this.
In the introduction, we were told that Jonny had recently been on BBC2’s Newsnight, the Jeramy Vine show on Radio 2, and had been on the Sunday morning topical discussion program The Big Questions. Near the beginning of the talk Jonny mentioned the Children’s book ‘The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure’ and then he moved on to talk about how he was influenced by prosperity gospel televangelist, Kenneth Copeland and his wife Gloria Copeland. The Prosperity Gospel teaches that, for every pound you give to Jesus, you get one hundred pounds back; however, you won’t get it straight away — you have to believe you have it already before you actually do have it. If you don’t believe that you’ve already got it, you won’t get it. After a while Jonny realised this belief was nonsense because the one hundred pounds never came.
Jonny told as about another preacher who was influential to his upbringing, Kenneth E. Hagin. After this we were shown a video of him when he was about 11 years old from the BBC program, Video Nation, where he talked about on about how wonderful God is, and how God is the best God there ever was. In this video he was playing air guitar with a badminton racket and dancing to one of his favourite Christian rock bands trying his hardest to prove to us how cool it is to be a Christian, something which he now finds very embarrassing. Jonny went on to tell us about some of his favourite Christian rock artists. which included Christian singer Carman (Carmelo Domenic Licciardello) and Christian rock bands, Petra and Stryper.
Jonny also briefly touched on the up and coming film, ‘Left Behind’ starring Nicolas Cage, which is based upon a series of novels of the same name about the Rapture and following Tribulation, which, in Jonny’s words, would make the Holocaust look like a picnic. Personally I could not agree with him more. After this Jonny talked about the book by Pastor Joshua Harris, called ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’, which from what I can gather is a "no sex before marriage book", to put it mildly.
At the Q&A Jonny was asked about his parents. Apparently his father is dead, but his mother is not only still alive, she is no longer a believer; she feels guilty and wants to make it up to her son. I gather Jonny is going to do another talk for Edinburgh Skeptics some time in the future; if he does, I hope it will be as good as this one.