15 Secular Songs to Share With Your Kids

By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 21, 2013

Not long ago, I suggested that nonreligious parents share religious music with their kids. I put together a Christian playlist and, later, a Hanukkah playlist. I also recommended some Cat Stevens songs about Islam, including one I love called “Ramadan Moon.”  Some readers voiced concern about the ways in which religious songs have been used to indoctrinate children. They argued that the potential downsides to sharing such music outweighed the benefits. But I still think that, as long as we do it right, these musical journeys can be excellent ways to develop religious literacy, learn tolerance for other cultures, and give nonreligious children a […] Read more – ‘15 Secular Songs to Share With Your Kids’.

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God’s (Alleged) Gender Proves Problematic for Some Parents

By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 18, 2013

About a year ago — when my daughter was six — I noticed that she had been sitting in silence for a surprisingly long time. “Are you okay?” I asked. “I’m sad,” she said. “Why are you sad?” I asked. “Because,” she said, “God is a boy and not a girl.” “How do you know?” “I just know,” she said, glumly. “And why does that make you sad?” “Because,” she said. “I’m a girl.” I don’t spend a lot of time complaining about religion. Usually, I just don’t see the point. Religion is so big […] Read more – ‘God’s (Alleged) Gender Proves Problematic for Some Parents’.

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Inject Some Religious Literacy into Your Valentine’s Day

By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 14, 2013

For the most part, I’m fine with being a nonbeliever. Like Bill Mahr says, “it requires so little of your time.” But every once in a while, I’m struck by how limiting my worldview can be. Take, for instance, the fact that I’ll never be a Whirling Dervish. That’s a real bummer. I’d love to be able to spin like that. And even worse? The chances are almost zero that I’ll ever be sainted. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Wendy! Don’t be so negative! You are a fantastic person, and you help so many others […] Read more – ‘Inject Some Religious Literacy into Your Valentine’s Day’.

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10 Simple Ways to Mark Darwin’s Birthday

By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 11, 2013

Evolution, or the process by which living organisms change over time, was not discovered by Charles Darwin. But he certainly gave the theory its street cred. By introducing natural selection — the idea that organisms best suited to survive in their particular circumstances have a greater chance of passing their traits on to the next generation — Darwin gave us a plausible mechanism by which evolution could take place. And that made all the difference. Darwin’s 1859 book On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was the most groundbreaking biological theory the world had ever seen. And it remains […] Read more – ‘10 Simple Ways to Mark Darwin’s Birthday’.

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On ‘Hell’ and ‘Evil’ — and the Uselessness of Both Concepts

By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 7, 2013

There is no stronger theme in story-telling than the struggle between good and evil. And there are few better ways to drive home a point than to invoke hell as a benchmark. Think, for example, of the power behind Huckleberry Finn’s words when he said, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell.” Mark Twain may have been an atheist, but he was a writer first. All things devil-related make exceptional literary, cinematic and poetic devices. But out here in the real world? Oh, hell no. When I was a news reporter, I covered hundreds of court […] Read more – ‘On ‘Hell’ and ‘Evil’ — and the Uselessness of Both Concepts’.

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A Few Changes Around Here

By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 4, 2013

I am writing this from my sister’s car, so this will be brief. I just wanted to flag everyone to a few changes to the site. Mostly they revolve around improved search capabilities. To the left of the blog, you’ll find posts broken down by category and by religion. Also, on the Blog Library page, you’ll find a full list of posts  broken down by month. Hopefully this will allow you to access past posts more quickly and efficiently. But if anyone runs into issues, or has suggestions for me, please don’t hesitate to speak […] Read more – ‘A Few Changes Around Here’.

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What’s Wrong with a Nativity Scene Made out of Dead Cats?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 31, 2013

When my mom was in college at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, she had a sorority sister who interned for the local newspaper. One day, the intern was rummaging through the morgue (which, in pre-Internet days, is where they kept old  clips) when she found a file labeled “Funny Brides.” The file was pretty self-explanatory; it was filled with stories about tasteless weddings and photographs of homely, unseemly or otherwise humorous-to-look-at brides and their grooms. Of course, she wasn’t about to keep this find to herself, so she brought the file back to the […] Read more – ‘What’s Wrong with a Nativity Scene Made out of Dead Cats?’.

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This Blog Has Been Flagged as Inappropriate

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 28, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, a Texas mother named Deborah Mitchell wrote a guest blog for CNN’s iReport that quickly became one of the citizen-journalism site’s most widely read pieces. The blog received more than 750,000 page views, 9,000 comments and 64,000 Facebook recommendations. And as a testament to its controversial nature, the entire essay was flagged as “inappropriate.” Well, you know, I like to stay on top of current events, so I decided to check out the story that was causing all this grief and strife over at CNN. I clicked on over and, well, […] Read more – ‘This Blog Has Been Flagged as Inappropriate’.

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A Newer (And More Laid Back) Brand of Atheism

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 24, 2013

Religiously speaking, this is an unusual time in our history. Secularism is clearly on the rise, and yet religion maintain a stronghold over our society and politics. That science has boldly answered so many “mysteries of the universe” has not stopped supernatural beliefs from influencing how most Americans think and live. Every day I read headlines about how God is on the way out; every day I read headlines about how God is on the way up. For us nonbelievers, it’s hard to know where we stand, where the country stands — and what the future […] Read more – ‘A Newer (And More Laid Back) Brand of Atheism’.

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The Game-Changer: ‘I Have a Dream’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 21, 2013

I saw Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech” for the first time earlier this month. I’d seen and read bits and pieces of it before, but watching it in its entirety was something quite different. I had always thought of King as a courageous man, but the Dream speech, given during the March on Washington August 28, 1963, reminded me of his extraordinary confidence and grace, as well. It was his unshakable confidence that struck me the most. The way he spoke to all those supporters lining the National Mall, it was […] Read more – ‘The Game-Changer: ‘I Have a Dream’’.

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Relax, It’s Just God

A Blog for Secular Parents
For parents who aren’t religious, the task of talking to children about religion can be daunting. So daunting, in fact, that the entire subject often gets glossed over or ignored completely. Relax, It’s Just God is a blog (and soon a book) intended to help parents break their silence without breaking a sweat.
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