Thursday, June 12, 2008

Secular Parenting is better

Some wisdom on the art of secular parenting, via the Kiosk at the Secular Web:

It starts off with:

Earlier this year on the way home from school, she told me about a chat she'd had that day with Mrs. W, her teacher at [her] Lutheran preschool. "I told Mrs. W I think God is just pretend. But I said I'm still thinking about it. And I asked if she thinks God is pretend."

I looked at her in the rearview mirror, munching on the apple I'd for once remembered to bring for her snack, so beautifully innocent of the fact that she had stood with her little toes at the edge of an age-old chasm, shouting a courageous and ancient question to her teacher on the far rim. My daughter, you see, hasn't heard that there are unaskable questions.

"So what'd Mrs. W say?"

"She said no," Laney said, matter-of-factly. "She said, 'I think God is very real.'"

"Uh huh. Then what did you say, Laney?"

"I said, 'That's okay--as long as you're still thinking about it, too.'"
It closes by noting that:

I often find myself humbly suggesting that it is possible to raisechildren every bit as ethical, caring, loving, humane, inspired and well-adjusted without religion as with it. In reality (my favorite place to be, after all) I don't believe parenting without religion is merely "as good" as parenting with it. I think it is immeasurably better. I think it blows the doors off religious parenting in everyrespect--powerful inquiry, reasoned ethics, ecstatic inspiration, cosmic humility and profound humanity--and I am floored by my good fortune to live in one of the few human generations to date when raising children without religious indoctrination is a practical possibility.

-- Dale McGowan, Parenting Beyong Belief

Monday, June 9, 2008

False reasons given for why people become atheists

Religious theists sometimes try to dismiss atheism and atheists by claiming that people only become atheists due to bad experiences as kids with false or bad religions. This myth allows theists to imagine that atheists' experiences with "false" religion has nothing to do with their own "true" religion, that atheistic critiques of religion don't really impact their own religion, and that if atheists only learned about "true" religion then they would abandon their atheism.

None of these beliefs are true — at least in the sense that there is a necessary logical progression involved. We must, however, grant that there are some strong correlations involved. People who grow up in a very positive religious environment are probably less likely to question the religious beliefs they are taught and abandon their religion, much less theism itself. Such an event is possible, but it is less likely.

Similarly, a person who grows up in a home where religion is used as a tool for abuse and control may be a bit more likely to question the foundations of that religion. This, then, can more readily lead them to give up the religious beliefs taught to them and perhaps even belief in God as well. Once again, such a result is not guaranteed because there are many who do not follow that path, but it isn't uncommon either.

Austin Cline writing on

Myth: Atheism is Caused by False Religion, Bad Experiences with Bad Religions

Go here for the entire article: