Religion

Everything You Need to Know About Islam to Get Your Kids Up to Speed (Okay, Maybe Not EVERYTHING)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 13, 2014

You know what my life is missing? A Muslim kid. There’s no doubt that if I had Muslim friends with a Muslim child, I would be telling my 8-year-old a lot more about Islam than I do — not just because I would want her understand her friends’ beliefs, but because it would naturally just “come up” more often. Having a living, breathing religious person in our midst really is the perfect invitation for religious literacy I’ve ever found. And vice versa! That’s part of the reason I’m glad some of my friend’s children know about […] Read more – ‘Everything You Need to Know About Islam to Get Your Kids Up to Speed (Okay, Maybe Not EVERYTHING)’.
Quick! What the Hell is Diwali?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 1, 2013

Here’s the Diwali installment of Relax, It’s Just God’s beloved* Holiday Cheat Sheet, a series offering parents the quick and dirty run-down on major religious holidays, so that they might come across as intelligent beings to their kids. I’m sure you guys remember all this stuff from last year, but rest assured, Diwali is just as cool and fun as it has always been. Why? (C’mon, you don’t remember this?) Let me count the ways: 1. Fireworks 2. Bollywood music 3. Poker 4. Cool back story 5. Curry 6. Candles 7. Shopping  * too strong? Holiday: Diwali Pronounced: Di-VAH-li […] Read more – ‘Quick! What the Hell is Diwali?’.
It’s a Fine Line Between Truth and Propaganda

By Wendy Thomas Russell | July 22, 2013

Recently, on Hemant Mehta’s FriendlyAthiest blog, I came across a video done by a guy who runs a Facebook page called Religion Hurts Humanity. The video, titled What Religions Have Contributed to the World This Month, is nine minutes full of news clips and headlines detailing all the terrible things done in the name of religion during the last 30 days. The amount of material alone makes the video pretty compelling. Here are some of the featured headlines: Islamic militants kill 30 in Nigeria School attack  Islamic states reject UN’s attempt to protect women: It violates Sharia […] Read more – ‘It’s a Fine Line Between Truth and Propaganda’.
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’.
Kids Leaving Parents’ Religion Certainly Gets People Talking

By Wendy Thomas Russell | March 7, 2013

I’m hella busy today, but wanted to link to a few recent news posts about children leaving the faiths into which they were born. The first is informative, the second is instructive, and the third — well, the third is just trash. But watch it for the comedic value. Study: Religious Parents’ Divorce May Cause Children to Leave the Church The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion released a study Tuesday finding that children who have two religious parents are twice as likely to lose that religion if the parents divorce. The journal does […] Read more – ‘Kids Leaving Parents’ Religion Certainly Gets People Talking’.
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’.
An Interview with the Guy Who Named the ‘Nones’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 10, 2013

There was a time, in the extremely recent past, when Americans with no religion were “the others.” For decades, religious affiliation has fascinated researchers. Countless studies and surveys show document a painstaking analysis of each minor population shift. A switch from, say, Methodist to Baptist or Catholic to Protestant has been marked with great interest, year by year. Sure, the numbers of Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists have remained relatively small next to Christians — but they, too, have been counted. Their numbers seemed to matter. Always absent from these studies and surveys was a specific […] Read more – ‘An Interview with the Guy Who Named the ‘Nones’’.
Washington Post Blog Spotlights ‘Relax, It’s Just God’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | October 15, 2012

This isn’t so much a blog as brag, so if you are my close friends, family, or just really kind readers who don’t mind if I bend your ears for a few minutes, please stick around. The rest of you: I totally understand. Enjoy our day. So this morning, I was featured in the Washington Post’s On Parenting blog. The blog is written by Janice D’Arcy, an amazing parenting blogger whose work I’ve followed for a long time. She contacted me because of the Pew Research Center’s new study finding that 20 percent of Americans […] Read more – ‘Washington Post Blog Spotlights ‘Relax, It’s Just God’’.
BlogHer Spotlights Religious Charm Bracelet

By Wendy Thomas Russell | October 2, 2012

BlogHer Spotlight featured one of my posts today — the one on religious charm bracelets, and they called the idea “brilliant.” So, you know, I love them now. You can check out the BlogHer bit here, but this is what they wrote: All Religions In One Charm Bracelet Reflecting on her own childhood fascination with her mother’s jangly charm bracelet, Wendy hatched a brilliant plan — create a sparkly, shiny charm bracelet featuring a variety of religious symbols as a teaching tool for her daughter: “I’d like for Maxine to recognize religious symbols and have some sense […] Read more – ‘BlogHer Spotlights Religious Charm Bracelet’.
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’.

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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