Darrel Ray

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Darrel Ray
Darrel Ray.jpg
Born Darrel Wayne Ray
(1950-08-24) August 24, 1950 (age 65)
Wichita, Kansas
Occupation Organizational psychologist, author
Nationality American
Ethnicity White
Education MA, Ed. D.
Alma mater Friends University, Scarritt College for Christian Workers,[1] Peabody College of Vanderbilt University[2]
Genre Non-fiction
Subject Religion, secularism, organization development, sexuality
Years active 1978–present

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.

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.[3] This fundamentalist upbringing informs much of his later writing.[4] In 1979, Ray joined the Quaker church, and later he attended the Presbyterian church.[5] 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.

Ray is the father of two children and also a grandfather.[6] He is also openly polyamorous.[7]


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.[8]

Professional work[edit]

Ray was very involved in organizational culture and clinical psychology.[6] He is the author of two books on team building and was the director of The Institute for Performance Culture.[9] He also founded Teaming Up, an organizational and team-building coaching program.[10] Ray co-authored 2 books with Howard Bronstein which describe how to create and manage self-directed teams.[11]

In 2009, he helped found the organization Recovering from Religion, an international self-help group for those leaving their religious indoctrination.[5] 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.[6] Ray pays special attention to placing sexuality and various religions into context culturally and historically.[7]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 had an impact on 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]

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.[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]


Dr. Darrel 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. ^ "LinkedIn profile". LinkedIn. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ "About Darrel W. Ray, Ed.D.". 
  3. ^ "Darrel W. Ray Speaks Out!". May 20, 2010. Archived from the original on June 3, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Dr. Darrel Ray". Baker & Taylor Author Biographies (Literary Reference Center): 1. January 4, 2000. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ a b c "Amazon.com: Darrel W. Ray". Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Tani, Red (August 4, 2000). "A Conversation with Darrel Ray" (Audio). Filipino Freethinkers. Filipino Freethinkers. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Atheists United Hosts Special Meeting with Noted Psychologist, Darrel Ray". Archived from the original on June 3, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ Ray, Darrel; Elder, David (December 1, 2007). "Managing Horizontal Accountability". Journal for Quality and Participation 30 (4): 24–28. ISSN 1040-9602. Retrieved January 10, 2015. 
  10. ^ "IPC Teaming Up". Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  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". http://tv.ark.com/transcript/nightline/714/KGO/Thursday_January_27_2011/553973/. January 27, 2011. 4.45 minutes in. ABC News. ABC.  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 May 25, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  18. ^ Myers, PZ. "This has to be our new selling point". Pharyngula (blog). 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 25, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  20. ^ Myers, PZ (January 24, 2011). "Prying into your dirty, dirty secrets". Pharyngula (blog). 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". Retrieved December 10, 2014. 

External links[edit]