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Darrel Ray

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Darrel Ray



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Darrel Wayne Ray August 24, 1950 (age 65) Wichita, Kansas (

Organizational psychologist, author

Alma mater
Friends University, Scarritt College for Christian Workers, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University

Religion, secularism, organization development, sexuality

The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture

Scarritt College for Christian Workers, Friends University, Vanderbilt University

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Darrel Wayne Ray (born August 24, 1950) is a psychologist who has written several books on various topics. He is also a speaker, podcaster and atheist activist. He helped found the organization Recovering from Religion.


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Personal life

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Ray was raised a fundamentalist Christian in Wichita, Kansas, by parents who eventually became missionaries, and among family members highly involved in church life. This fundamentalist upbringing informs much of his later writing. In 1979, Ray joined the Quaker church, and later he attended the Presbyterian church. From 1969 to 1984 he taught Sunday school, preached, and was a tenor soloist in several church choirs. He left the church in the mid 1980s and identifies as an atheist.

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Ray is the father of two children and also a grandfather. He is also openly polyamorous.


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In 1972, he earned a bachelor's degree in sociology/anthropology at Friends University in Wichita, and in 1974 he completed an MA in Church and Community at Scarritt College for Christian Workers in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1978 he finished a doctoral program in psychology at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, earning his Ed.D.

Professional work

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Ray was very involved in organizational culture and clinical psychology. He is the author of two books on team building and was the director of The Institute for Performance Culture. He also founded Teaming Up, an organizational and team-building coaching program. Ray co-authored 2 books with Howard Bronstein which describe how to create and manage self-directed teams.

In 2009, he helped found the organization Recovering from Religion, an international self-help group for those leaving their religious indoctrination. He is currently involved in Recovering from Religion as a board director and as part of a Recovering from Religion program called "The Secular Therapy Project" which aims to help patients find secular and science-based therapy.

Ray is also the author of books about secularism and atheism, The God Virus: How Religion Affects Our Lives and Culture and Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality. Ray's books about secularism and religion explore how religion interacts with human beings on a personal and cultural level. Ray explores how religious institutions and ideas can be used to control human thoughts and behaviors, especially sexual behaviors. Ray pays special attention to placing sexuality and various religions into context culturally and historically. He takes the stance that many human impulses, feelings and sexual behaviors are normal and can be desirable. Ray's books have influenced other atheists, where his psychological interpretation of Richard Dawkin's concept of religion as a virus has influenced the atheist and secular movement in America.

On August 30, 2014, Ray launched a podcast about human sexuality and atheism called Secular Sexuality where is he also the host.

He has also appeared as a secular psychological expert on television, including ABC News show, Nightline, where in 2011, he spoke out against exorcisms and took a scientific viewpoint towards psychological illnesses that might look like possession.


In June 1982, Ray and several other authors released a paper describing a study done on male youth offenders in a juvenile correction institute. Ray and the group studied whether population density had any effects on the participants.

In May 2011, Ray and Amanda Brown (an undergraduate at the University of Kansas studying sex and sexuality) released the results of a self-reporting online survey of over 14,500 American secularists, titled "Sex and Secularism: What Happens When You Leave Religion?", concluding that sex improves dramatically after leaving religion, and people who are religious exhibit similar sexual behaviors as the non-religious, but experience markedly increased guilt. The study has been criticized for suffering from self-selection bias, due to its recruiting of participants via the science blog Pharyngula.


Darrel Ray Wikipedia