“Dale McGowan has assembled an invaluable sourcebook on an issue that must be of great concern to everyone but narrow dogmatists. How do we raise our children to think for themselves on religious and ethical questions? Can we avoid religious indoctrination without inoculating our children against religion? As a parent, as the pastor of a diverse congregation, as a freethinker, and as a counselor to mixed-faith couples, I have had occasion to think much on these questions. So have the contributors to this fine volume. Here you will find real help.” — Robert M. Price, Ph.D., Author of The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, Jesus Seminar cofounder
Why am I here? What happens after we die? These are some of the hardest questions a child can ask, and they are even harder for parents to answer. Explaining the meaning of life to your children can be challenging enough when you have the support of a built-in community with a religious leader like a pastor or a rabbi. If you’ve chosen to raise your children without religion, it can be even more daunting.
Parenting Beyond Belief helps you celebrate the freedom that comes with raising kids without formal indoctrination and advises parents on the most effective way to raise freethinking, empathetic, and compassionate children. With contributions from some of the most celebrated secular educators, doctors, psychologists, and philosophers, as well as wisdom from everyday parents, the book offers tips and insights on a variety of topics, from interreligious marriages to coping with death and loss, and from religious holidays to morality.
Sensitive and timely, Parenting Beyond Belief features reflections from such freethinkers as Mark Twain; Richard Dawkins; Bertrand Russell; psychologist Dr. Jean Mercer; comedian Julia Sweeney; entertainer Penn Jillette; Norm R. Allen, Jr., the executive director of African Americans for Humanism (AAH); Dan Barker, the author of Losing Faith in Faith; and wellness guru Dr. Don Adel. From the humorous “Little Bessie Would Assist Providence” to the poignant “Dealing with Death in the Secular Family,” these contributions offer guidance on the common issues you find yourself facing every day.
At once delightful and enlightening, this is the first book of its kind to show secular parents that they are not alone in their quest to raise caring, independent, and open-minded children.
Dale McGowan, Ph.D., holds degrees in the arts and sciences from UC Berkeley, UCLA, and the University of Minnesota. In addition to a 15-year teaching career, he was editor and featured essayist for the Family Issues section of the Atheist Alliance Web Center.