Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Devil

A lot of us are ex-Catholics. I thought you might be interested in this piece I wrote for OnFaith about the devil.

Lucifer has been used as a tool since the beginning of Christianity. I’m always shocked to read that the majority of folks believe in Satan. I wonder if the Pope has pulled his old friend back out of the bag to slow attrition?

The devil was something my kids learned about early in school from their friends. Sometimes, they would come home frightened. My youngest kid was told that the devil lives in the ground and could reach up and grab children’s legs. I took him out back, and we dug in the ground in search of the devil. He asked questions like, “How would the devil breathe? Wouldn’t he be crushed? How does he move through all this dirt?”

This is how we help our kids learn to think critically and to overcome their fears. By asking questions. By reasoning.

Why don’t adults ask these same questions? Why does the devil seem so much like all the other evil characters we’ve created in books and movies?

Religious Kids are More Successful in Life

bibleI hope you guys are having a great summer so far. I’ve been busy with other projects. For those living in Texas, I recently wrote this piece on water conservation. Leave a comment or drop me a line and let me know what you all have been up to. I’ve missed chatting with everyone.

Now. Did you know that, “Research Shows Religious Teens Are More Successful in Life?” (Thanks LanceT for the link!)

I didn’t know this either. But before we help our kids find religion ASAP, let’s look at the facts. This is an important topic to discuss with our children: Does an article or claim hold up? What sorts of sources are used?

Of course, the first red flag is that this article can be found only on LDS websites and blogs. Another thing I like to check when I read these sorts of articles is the references. I’ll start with the first quoted source in the article.

I don’t even know where to start. If you click on the link, you’ll be directed to “” Scroll down and you’ll see that the website is owned by the Heritage Foundation (eye roll). Most of you are already familiar with the HF. The site claims as its goal: “ provides data on family and religious practice and analysis of their role in maintaining civil society in America.” Yes, they have an agenda—to promote religion in the secular sphere.

The “Longitudinal study” quoted in the article is a reference to on-going surveys by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that were conducted in two batches, 1979 and 1997. There is no single “recent study of 14,000 youth.” The BLS data is “the collection of data on respondents’ labor force participation and investments in education and training. Other core topics are marital history, fertility, health, and income and assets.”

So I’m not sure how they came up with the “facts” that kids from intact religious families are less likely to do drugs, drink or have sex (gasp). And, certainly, there is no evidence that those kids do better in school. I’m pretty sure if we were to normalize the data from the very small population of kids being raised without religion with the very large population of kids being raised with religion, we wouldn’t find any difference in their academic performances. To my knowledge, there has not been a study of the educational success of children from religious vs. nonreligious homes.

But back to the Mormon article. There’s another study referenced as proof that religious kids do better in life. It’s not titled, but if you click on it, guess where it goes? It directs you to an article by Patrick Fagan, again on the Heritage Foundation’s site.

This article is just more propaganda on the benefits of religion. I guess when you’re used to living your life based on a book that is not supported by facts, it’s okay to write articles that are not supported by facts either.

My question is, Why are they trying so hard to convince everyone that religion makes better people? They doth insist too much, methinks.