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Darrel Ray

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Darrel Ray
BornDarrel Wayne Ray
(1950-08-24) August 24, 1950 (age 73)
Wichita, Kansas
OccupationOrganizational psychologist, author
EducationMA, Ed. D.
Alma materFriends University
Scarritt College for Christian Workers
SubjectReligion, secularism, organization development, sexuality
Years active1978–present
Notable worksThe God Virus, Sex and God

Darrel Wayne Ray (born August 24, 1950) is an American organizational psychologist and author who focuses on topics such as workplace organizational culture, secular sexuality, and the treatment of religion-induced trauma. He is a public speaker, podcaster, and atheist activist, and founded the non-profit organization Recovering from Religion as well as the Secular Therapy Project.

Personal life[edit]

Ray was raised a fundamentalist Christian in Wichita, Kansas, by parents who eventually became missionaries, and among family members highly involved in church life.[1] This fundamentalist upbringing informs much of his later writing.[2] In 1979, Ray joined the Quaker church, and later he attended the Presbyterian church.[3] From 1969 to 1984, he taught Sunday school, preached, and was a tenor soloist in several church choirs.[citation needed] He left the church in the mid-1980s and identifies as an atheist.[citation needed]

Ray is the father of two children and also a grandfather.[4] He is also openly polyamorous.[5]


In 1972, Ray 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.[6]

Professional work[edit]

Ray was very involved in organizational culture and clinical psychology.[4] He is the author of two books on team building and was the director of The Institute for Performance Culture.[7] He also founded Teaming Up, an organizational and team-building coaching program.[8] Ray co-authored 2 books with Howard Bronstein which describe how to create and manage self-directed teams.[9]

In 2009, Ray created the organization Recovering from Religion (RfR), an international, non-profit organization which helps people dealing with issues stemming from religious trauma, doubt, and non-belief.[3] Ray serves as the president of the RfR Board of Directors,[10] and also founded the RfR's Secular Therapy Project which has the goal of helping clients find therapists offering secular and science-based therapy.[11]

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.[4] Ray pays special attention to placing sexuality and various religions into context culturally and historically.[5] He takes the stance that many human impulses, feelings and sexual behaviors are normal and can be desirable.[12] 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.[13]

On August 30, 2014, Ray launched a podcast about human sexuality and atheism called Secular Sexuality where is he also the host.[14]

Ray 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.[15]


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.[16]

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[17] 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.[18] The study has been criticized for suffering from self-selection bias,[19] due to its recruiting of participants via the science blog Pharyngula.[20]



  • Teaming Up: Making the Transition to a Self-directed, Team-based Organization (IPC Press 1995. ISBN 978-0-07-051646-5 Hardcover.)
  • The Performance Culture: Maximizing the Power of Teams (IPC Press, May 2001. ISBN 978-0-9709505-0-5 Paperback.)
  • The God Virus: How Religion Affects Our Lives and Culture (IPC Press, December 2009. ISBN 978-0-9709505-1-2 Paperback.)
  • The God Virus: How Religion Affects Our Lives and Culture (Dogma Debate, LLC, November 2012. ASIN B00A8D0D9W. Audiobook.)
  • Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality (IPC Press, January 2012. ISBN 978-0-9709505-4-3 Paperback.)
  • Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality (Dogma Debate, LLC, February 2013. ASIN B00BCCW6PC Audiobook.)


Ray has written for a number of journals, including The Humanist, a publication of the American Humanist Association.[21]


Ray's podcast, Secular Sexuality addresses human sexuality from an atheist or freethinker's viewpoint. It is produced by Secular Media Group, LLC, an atheist media and publishing company.[22]

  • Secular Sexuality with Dr. Darrel Ray (2014)


  1. ^ "Darrel W. Ray Speaks Out". webcitation.org. AnAtheist.net. Archived from the original on November 18, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  2. ^ "Dr. Darrel Ray". Baker & Taylor Author Biographies. Literary Reference Center: 1. January 4, 2000. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  3. ^ a b Gray, Helen (June 12, 2009). "New support group Recovering from Religion helps people who leave the church". The Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on June 17, 2009. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c "Darrel W. Ray". Amazon.com. Archived from the original on November 6, 2020. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Tani, Red (August 4, 2000). "A Conversation with Darrel Ray" (Audio). Filipino Freethinkers. Retrieved January 10, 2015.
  6. ^ "Atheists United Hosts Special Meeting with Noted Psychologist, Darrel Ray". Archived from the original on September 4, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
  7. ^ Ray, Darrel; Elder, David (December 1, 2007). "Managing Horizontal Accountability". Journal for Quality and Participation. 30 (4): 24–28. ISSN 1040-9602.
  8. ^ "IPC Teaming Up". Archived from the original on December 11, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  9. ^ Gerard, Robert (August 1995). "Teaming Up: Making the Transition to a Self-Directed, Team-Based Organization". Academy of Management Executive. doi:10.5465/AME.1995.9509210324. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  10. ^ "Board Of Directors". recoveringfromreligion.org. Recovering from Religion. Archived from the original on November 6, 2020. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  11. ^ "Our Mission". seculartherapy.org/. Secular Therapy Project. Archived from the original on November 6, 2020. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  12. ^ Hall, David (July 20, 2012). "Book Review.Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality". Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  13. ^ Boghossian, Peter (2013). A Manual for Creating Atheists. Durham, NC: Pitchstone Publishing. pp. 216–217. ISBN 9781939578099.
  14. ^ Eberhard, JT. "Darrel Ray enters the world of podcasting with Secular Sexuality!". Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  15. ^ "Nightline". New York, NY. January 27, 2011. 4.45 minutes in. ABC News. ABChttp://tv.ark.com/transcript/nightline/714/KGO/Thursday_January_27_2011/553973/. {{cite episode}}: Missing or empty |series= (help)
  16. ^ "The Effects Of High Density In A Juvenile Correctional Institution". Basic & Applied Social Psychology. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  17. ^ Clark-Flory, Tracy (May 23, 2011). "Do atheists have better sex?". Salon.com. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  18. ^ Myers, PZ. "This has to be our new selling point". Pharyngula (blog). Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  19. ^ Donaldson James, Susan (May 25, 2011). "Atheists Have Best Sex Lives, Claims Psychologist". ABC News. Archived from the original on May 30, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  20. ^ Myers, PZ (January 24, 2011). "Prying into your dirty, dirty secrets". Pharyngula (blog). Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  21. ^ Darrel, Ray (July 2012). "America's War on Sex: The Attack on Law, Lust, and Liberty". Humanist. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  22. ^ Dogma Debate and Secular Sexuality"Secular Sexuality". Archived from the original on December 10, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014.

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