Parenting Info

If you live in the northeast, there’s a secular parenting conference called, Raising Kids to be Good Grown-Ups, on Saturday, September 21st. Dale McGowan will be one of the guest speakers. For more info, check out this site:

I mentioned this a few years ago, but it’s worth repeating. The science channel has a great program called “Through the Wormhole.” It’s one of those shows that can open up meaningful dialogue with the kids.

I’ve told my children that they are free to choose what they believe, so this series helps them develop their own opinions. Some say, “Well, as a nonbeliever, you’re indoctrinating your kid, too.” Not really. As those of us in this position know, to teach our kids to believe in god and follow a certain religion would require us to teach them things that are only hearsay, things that we do not believe, things that do not make sense. As parents we can make our kids believe in anything–flying reindeer, magical bunnies–so it’s our responsibility to teach them not so much what to believe, but how to learn and think on their own.


25 responses to “Parenting Info

  1. Since flying my home coop mumble years ago, I’ve not attended a church. I certainly have become more solidified in my (non) beliefs since having children, so the only time they have attended religious functions has been when seeing grandparents (i.e. christmas, a special mass said for my inlaws anniversary, etc.) However, I’ve always felt that my children need to be taught the basic Christian mythology stories because they pop up so often in our American culture.

    My point is, if you don’t know the story of Noah, the ark and god flooding the world, then someone saying “man, it’s raining so hard, better make an ark!” would be a huh? moment. Or knowing the basic christmas story. But also including things like the sufferings of Job, etc.

    I know I haven’t done very well teaching my kids these stories on my own. Here’s a funny: One time years ago I needed to get a certified copy of my daughter’s birth certificate to register her for school. I went on a Friday, a Friday my son had off from school as well. Got the kids in the car, drove to the county offices, parked, walked to the door with the kids, then saw the note on the door: closed for Spring Holiday. Damn! I had forgotten about “Spring Holiday,” which was why my son was home from school. We walked away from the door with me muttering “Spring holiday! Just call it what it is! Good Friday! It’s Good Friday! Don’t try to cover up a religious day with Spring Holiday!” This prompted my son asking what Good Friday was. So as we drove to the next errand run, kids in the back seat, I’m explaining Good Friday yada yada yada and three days later when they checked his cave, he had risen from the dead. There was a moment of silence in the back, then a “Pfft! That’s stupid!” from my 5th grader. Inwardly I laughed. To him I said, yeah, but don’t tell that to your grandparents!

    I’ll have to check out Through the Wormhole. Thanks!

    • @MelissaM. Funny story! Yes, kids definitely need to know the Bible stories. When my kids were little, we had a children’s bible , an adult King James version and a DK book about religion and the bible. They also went to a religious preschool and kindergarten, and all that was helpful exposure!

      • Absolutely. As a professor of medieval and early modern studies, I tell my students that it is essential that they learn the major bible narratives and associated stories to understand Western culture after the fall of Rome. Otherwise, they have no understanding of our cultural foundation.

        Now, this is often used as an excuse for keeping religion in our schools: it’s our heritage, basis for our literature, laws, etc.


        We teach Plato, Aristotle, and all kinds of ancient mythologies without taking all of their ideas at face value. Christianity is just another mythology to add to the list.

    • LanceThruster

      For your amusement –

      Ricky Gervais and the Book of Noah –

  2. Thank you, Deborah, for these great resources. Writing them down now!

  3. Even though my girls go to church with their father, and I used to go with them, I make them think on their own. When they tell me something they learned I ask them about it. The eldest was spouting off about how one is baptised and they have to be fully dunked, etc (church of christ for the win) and I asked what if the person were in a desert? And she had to think about it. Another time she talked about vanity being a sin. I asked her if someone who was a little vain deserved the same hell as a murderer. She thought about it and said “Maybe there’s an in-between place.” I about died laughing. Just wait till Dad learns you’re now Catholic!

    • @Aliceatwonderland LOL! That’s perfect! Do you think this is the same thought process that happened a few thousand years ago in The Original Christian Church? Hmmm……We need a place to put those folks who are bad, but not THAT bad. Purgatory!

  4. LanceThruster

    Just because —

  5. Posting a link to a good read Shelley sent about luring believers with rock and rap:
    Thanks, Shelley!

  6. I am, and have for a long time been, fascinated with the notion of “choosing” what we believe. I’ve written about it before, and have had another post about it brewing for awhile.

    But yes, it’s ludicrous when it’s suggested that non-believers “indoctrinate” their kids, too. Indoctrination is a whole process of asserting a certain set of beliefs and reinforcing them through various methods, including the use of fear and participation in rituals. Non-believers don’t do any of that shit.

    • Agreed, Lisa. I know after I had left Christianity for a year my oldest had just turned eight years old, and was wanting all the Harry Potter Books. At first, there was a slight hesitation on my part because I did consider all of those books evil at one time. Then one day something dawned on me. My son had spent one to two years reading the Old Testament (especially the Torah and Haftorahs) and all four of the Gospels in the New Testament quite extensively by himself and with the rest of our family. I didn’t have an issue with him reading about rape (We did often skip over passages or strain in explaining them to him.), war, murder, and deception, but Harry Potter is wicked?! Yeah, I remember going back and forth with Senator Jason about this a little bit, and my boy got those Rowling books!

      Christians only say that certain pieces of literature are demonic or evil because it does not coincide with their works of programming, and the reader might just end up believing in something other than an Abrahamic faith, if anything at all. Then before you know it, people quit becoming Church members, stop attendance altogether, spend their offerings and tithes somewhere else, and TV ministries, and Churches begin to dwindle in number.

  7. You’re not indoctrinating your kid by teaching them to think critically and to not believe something just because they’re told. The problem is that with a lot of the people who make those accusations, they can’t think outside of the context of religion. Obviously you just have another belief system, not a completely different way of looking at the world that doesn’t rely on faith or superstition.

    OK, I really have to write something for tomorrow … I mean it this time.

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