Wendy Thomas Russell

When Opinions Expressed Are Not Your Own

By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 4, 2013

For many of us, strong opinions are like pheromones. They attract us. They lure us in. People who believe what they believe with passion, and who aren’t afraid to state their truth — these people hold certain powers. The power to make us laugh. The power to make us think. The power to move us to share our own opinions. Of course, we’re not going to agree with all these opinions — or even find them valid! (Even Einstein expressed some bullshit opinions now and again.) We may even be offended and put off by certain assertions. […] Read more – ‘When Opinions Expressed Are Not Your Own’.
Can the Bible Help Kids Think Critically?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | August 26, 2013

Once upon a time, I would have choked on my own vomit at the idea of buying a children’s Bible for my daughter. The way I saw it, the Bible was an indoctrination tool. I no more wanted to crack that book open than I wanted to get her baptized or plan her Bat Mitzvah or teach her to pray toward Mecca five times a day. It was all the same to me. In my mind, only religious people read the Bible. But, times have changed. Today, I don’t equate the Bible to religion; I equate […] Read more – ‘Can the Bible Help Kids Think Critically?’.
Turning 40 in ‘The City of Love’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | July 25, 2013

“My sister is turning 40, and she feels that that’s going to be easier to do in Paris.” That’s how my sister, Jen, explains why a bunch of my family is spending my birthday in Europe this year. We’re leaving today, as luck would have it, flying first to London, then Paris and then down to France’s Burgundy region for a week’s worth of R&R. Here’s the back story: About three years ago, in a cafe, I noticed a middle-aged woman at the table over. She had just returned from Paris and was giving out […] Read more – ‘Turning 40 in ‘The City of Love’’.
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’.
‘Golden Rule’ — Beautiful, Universal and Very, Very Old

By Wendy Thomas Russell | July 15, 2013

It is a common misconception that the Golden Rule began with Jesus. In fact, it’s part of the reason some Christians think of their religion as synonymous with morality. After all, to treat others the way you want to be treated is the essence of moral conduct. And it was Luke 6:31 in the New Testament that quotes Jesus as saying: “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” (Matthew 7:1-5 also addresses the topic.) But Jesus didn’t invent the ethic of reciprocity anymore than did Muhammad, who said: […] Read more – ‘‘Golden Rule’ — Beautiful, Universal and Very, Very Old’.
‘Jesus Gosh!’: Explaining Religious Sensitivity to a 4-Year-Old

By Wendy Thomas Russell | June 24, 2013

When exactly is the right time to broach the subject of religion with children? It’s a common question not easily answered. Kids are so different. The brain develops at different speeds and in different ways. What interests children at any given age runs the gamut of possibilities and is constantly in flux. So parents like me, we look for openings. We keep our ears open for conversation starters, and signs that our little ones might be ready to think a bit deeper about life and people and beliefs. We want them to be old enough […] Read more – ‘‘Jesus Gosh!’: Explaining Religious Sensitivity to a 4-Year-Old’.
Fun Facts about Nones

By Wendy Thomas Russell | April 29, 2013

I’ve been poring over data as it relates to religious “nones” for, well, far too long. The statistics are really fascinating — but not nearly as fascinating as bullet-pointed lists. So here’s both — a mashup, if you will. Read. Enjoy. Be fascinated. • We tend to lean left. Nones make up 20 percent of the nation’s registered Independents, 16 percent of its Democrats and 8 percent of its Republicans. In 1990, those numbers were 12, 6 and 6, respectively. • We tend to be young. More than one-third of 18-to-24-year-olds claimed “no religion” compared […] Read more – ‘Fun Facts about Nones’.
Temporarily Suspended…

By Wendy Thomas Russell | April 11, 2013

Sorry, no new post today! I’m taking a weekend vacation to Vancouver, but I’ll be back with you on Monday. In the meantime, feel free to reach me here: Read more – ‘Temporarily Suspended…’.
Only Five Religious Books Have Won the Caldecott — Most Before 1963

By Wendy Thomas Russell | April 1, 2013

If you’ve ever perused the religion books within the children’s section of your local library, you’re probably aware that it can be a bit underwhelming. Whether you’re going for a book about the life of Buddha, the history of Confucianism, or the holiday of Easter, so many of the books are old and outdated, clearly written for religious children, or without much literary merit. It sticks out particularly because there are so many great secular children’s books — brilliant, award-winning books that will stick with our kids for the rest of our lives. Sometimes it’s […] Read more – ‘Only Five Religious Books Have Won the Caldecott — Most Before 1963’.
12 Reasons We Indoctrinate Kids — and Why We Shouldn’t

By Wendy Thomas Russell | March 21, 2013

In nonreligious circles, “indoctrination” has become a pejorative. Something to resist and avoid. The way secularists see it, instructing children to accept any religious faith uncritically deprives them of their own unique reflections, observations and opinions. At its worst, indoctrination is a requirement to blindly follow, to believe without question, to respect and obey authority figures simply because they have been branded as such. Yet, millions of parents throughout the world indoctrinate their children. Why? 1. Comfort: The idea of heaven can be undeniably comforting, especially to children with anxieties about death or dying. By […] Read more – ‘12 Reasons We Indoctrinate Kids — and Why We Shouldn’t’.

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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