Tolerance

Talking About Belief With Kids: When Logic Threatens to Overshadow Kindness

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 27, 2014

My daughter, Maxine, is 8 years old and really getting the hang of logic these days. If A is true, then B must be true. If you believe A, you must believe B. If A doesn’t exist… You get the drift. Anyway, Maxine’s little cousin Jack  (4) is very into the movie Frozen right now, particularly the character of Elsa, the snow queen. Recently, when chatting about beliefs, he told his mom, “I believe in Elsa” — which is so cute it makes my heart hurt. But when I told Maxine about Jack’s statement, she immediately […] Read more – ‘Talking About Belief With Kids: When Logic Threatens to Overshadow Kindness’.
A Book American Kids Aren’t Reading — But Should

By Wendy Thomas Russell | December 17, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed British philosopher and author Julian Baggini, who wrote a fantastic book for kids called Really, Really, Big Questions about God, Faith and Religion (2011, Kingfisher). While I found it at my public library, it’s not one you’re likely to run across in major book stores. While very well-received in Britain, the book has flown largely under the radar here in the U.S. And that’s too bad for us — because it’s a great starting point for kids ready to explore religious issues. Each section of the book seeks to answer […] Read more – ‘A Book American Kids Aren’t Reading — But Should’.
‘My Dearest Daughter’: Letter from an Atheist Mom

By Wendy Thomas Russell | October 14, 2013

Atheist scientist Richard Dawkins once wrote a letter to his 10-year-old daughter about the importance of scientific evidence in weighing the legitimacy of religious claims. “To my dearest daughter,” his now-famous letter began. “Now that you are ten, I want to write to you about something that is important to me… Evidence.” His mission: to explain the vast chasm between faith and science, and make clear that science will always hold the trump card. I’ve written before (rather poorly) about Dawkins’ letter and my own issues with it, but — as a non-believer, a parent and […] Read more – ‘‘My Dearest Daughter’: Letter from an Atheist Mom’.
Kooky Religions 101

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 29, 2013

I remember putting my kid in Kindergarten for the first time and wondering when religion would come up for the first time among her newfound peers. It was possible that she’d be the only child in her class being raised in a decidedly secular household. I wondered if that would make her feel alone or left out. Then I met Courtney. Courtney, a girl in Maxine’s classroom whose name is not really Courtney, was being raised in a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. She didn’t come to school on Halloween. She didn’t celebrate her birthday. She […] Read more – ‘Kooky Religions 101’.
Should Kids Be Told All Religious Stories are ‘Myths’?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 20, 2013

I’m facing some deadlines over the next few weeks that are going to make it very tough to generate new blogs of any merit. But I’m hoping — PRAYING! (but not really) — that you guys will stick around anyway. Subscribers, I’m talking to you here. BEAR WITH ME. PLEASE DO NOT UNSUBSCRIBE. IT’S ONLY THREE WEEKS. Starting today, I’m going to run six of my most well-read and/or controversial blogs of the last two years. I’ve chosen them based on number of page views, number of comments, or the level of contentiousness within the […] Read more – ‘Should Kids Be Told All Religious Stories are ‘Myths’?’.
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’.
Brief Tribute to Obscure Children’s Book (P.S. #Giveaway)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | September 10, 2012

I’ve got a book recommendation for you. It’s not religious in nature, but it’s funny and quirky and carries a really great moral that certainly dovetails with some of my blogs about children and belief. The book is called “No! That’s Wrong!” and was written in 2008 by Japanese author Zhaohua Ji and illustrated by Cui Xu. It tells the tale of a bunny who finds a pair of underpants blowing in the wind. (See now, that’s what you call a solid premise.) Anyway, this particular bunny has never seen a pair of underpants before, […] Read more – ‘Brief Tribute to Obscure Children’s Book (P.S. #Giveaway)’.
Girl Scouts Flap Rears Its Silly Head Once Again

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 2, 2012

After reading yet another story on the flap over the Girl Scouts book I wrote, I’m reminded once again at how irrationally freaked out some parents become when their kids are exposed to ideas different from their own. Whether it’s nonreligious parents instructing their kids on what to think about Catholicism, or conservatives instructing kids on what to think about gay marriage, the short-sightedness involved in both is the same. Push too hard in one direction and you brainwash your kid, crush their self-esteem and damage your relationship with them in the process. Instead of […] Read more – ‘Girl Scouts Flap Rears Its Silly Head Once Again’.
Is a Lack of Vomit the Best We Can Offer?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | June 4, 2012

Did I ever  tell you about the time my husband told me hated the word tolerance? I was sure I’d misheard him. I was all, like, what? Huh? You can’t hate the word tolerance! Everybody LOVES the word tolerance. Simon Wiesenthal and the Museum of Tolerance and all that. Remember? Yes, he assured me, he did remember. But he still hated it. See, in my husband’s view, tolerance was a word used to relate something bad, not good. A guy ate a piece of rancid beef but was able to tolerate it; that is, he was […] Read more – ‘Is a Lack of Vomit the Best We Can Offer?’.
Where’s an Omniscient Policeman When You Need One?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 24, 2012

Whenever my daughter starts talking about God, I try really hard to treat it like any other ordinary subject. But, inside, you can be sure I’m doing one of those Napoleon Dynamite “yesss” fist pumps — because, chances are, if one of our God conversations lasts more than a few seconds, I’ve got myself a blog post. You know where I’m going with this. On Friday, Maxine had a playdate with a good friend of hers (who I love dearly and whose mother happens to be a good friend of mine). Both girls are in […] Read more – ‘Where’s an Omniscient Policeman When You Need One?’.

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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