Addressing ‘God’ in Secular Families: When is the Right Time?
By Wendy Thomas Russell | September 16, 2013
- When my daughter was 2, and barely out of diapers, she had her first Potty Emergency. We’d been having lunch when suddenly she rose and sprinted to the bathroom with the speed and determination of a hunted deer. I’d been hopeful she made it in time, but when I arrived several seconds later, she was standing in front of the toilet, fully clothed, staring down at a puddle on the floor. Her little shoulders had fallen. Without looking up at me, she shook her little head and said exactly what I would have said in […] Read more – ‘Addressing ‘God’ in Secular Families: When is the Right Time?’.
7-Year-Old: ‘Why Would God Care Whether I Believe in Him?’
By Wendy Thomas Russell | July 4, 2013
- My 7-year-old daughter has been thinking quite a bit about death lately. She told me she doesn’t want to lose any more of her baby teeth because that means she’s going to grow up, and she doesn’t want to grow up because that means she’s going to die. Pretty good logic. Well, apparently, the death thing came up at a playdate over the weekend because, in the car this morning, Maxine asked: “Is it true that people who believe in God live longer than people who don’t believe in God?” My husband and I hesitated […] Read more – ‘7-Year-Old: ‘Why Would God Care Whether I Believe in Him?’’.
12 Simple Differences Between Catholics and Protestants
By Wendy Thomas Russell | June 10, 2013
- The rapid rise of the “Nones” — those unaffiliated with religious groups — was back in the news this week, when the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released its most recent study on American religiosity. Here’s what Pew had to say: The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling… Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described […] Read more – ‘12 Simple Differences Between Catholics and Protestants’.
A Nonbeliever’s Near-Death Experience
By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 30, 2013
- So can we talk about near-death experiences for a minute? You know — the whole tunnels-and-bright-lights thing? I bring it up because a good friend recently shared with me a YouTube video featuring an 18-year-old with heart disease. In the video, the high school senior, whose name is Ben Breedlove, uses index cards and music to tell the story of his life, his illness and his three near-death experiences. Viewed more than 2 million times, the video seems to be Breedlove’s way of explaining what it’s like to pass from one world to the next and back […] Read more – ‘A Nonbeliever’s Near-Death Experience’.
Daddy, Daughter Discuss God (Again); More Cuteness Ensues
By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 13, 2013
- My husband and 7-year-old daughter had another totally awesome conversation about God a few days ago. They used to do that from time to time, but it’s been a while since the subject has come up in much detail. I sure love it when it does. The talks are always fun, insightful, thought-provoking and, frankly, cute as hell. They also present Charlie with golden opportunities to teach Maxine about honesty, diversity and the importance of kindness. Anyway, this one’s particularly good, so I wanted to share: Maxine: Where do you think God is? Like, which house or school… […] Read more – ‘Daddy, Daughter Discuss God (Again); More Cuteness Ensues’.
One Set of ‘Footprints in the Sand’ is Plenty for This Kid
By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 25, 2013
- When I was growing up — Missouri, 1980s — half the kids I knew had a framed copy of “Footprints in the Sand” somewhere in their house. Usually hanging in the living room. That poem was as meaningful to these families as Rudyard Kipling’s “If” was to ours. (My mom gave me a poster-sized copy of “If” right before I entered adolescence. I must have read it 500 times.) The point is, although it wasn’t in my own home, “Footprints in the Sand” was a part of my childhood. I have vivid memories of staring […] Read more – ‘One Set of ‘Footprints in the Sand’ is Plenty for This Kid’.
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’.
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’.
Taking the ‘Myth’ out of the Bible
By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 15, 2012
- Oh, Bible. You do confound us so. You are so very dense, complicated and repetitive, not to mention confusing, contradictory, outrageous and far too long-winded to actually read. And yet you are so wise, textured and powerful. You are surprising and exciting and flush with cultural references. In fact, you make it almost impossible for any of us to understand who we are as a civilization without at least getting your Cliffs Notes. As author E.D. Hirsch Jr. tells children in The First Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: The Bible is by far the best-known book […] Read more – ‘Taking the ‘Myth’ out of the Bible’.
The Inheritance of Anxiety
By Wendy Thomas Russell | October 1, 2012
- Sometimes, in looking through the responses to my Survey for Nonreligious Parents, I’m faced with perfect examples of What Not To Do. Here’s one from a mom: My child just yesterday stormed out of her classroom telling the teacher that she was ‘indoctrinating’ her in the telling of the Christian Easter story. I was very proud my child was so confident, assertive, and sure of her own non-belief that she was able to do this. Confident and assertive? You bet! But sure of her own non-belief? In elementary school? Hell no. Most likely, this child […] Read more – ‘The Inheritance of Anxiety’.