Raising Kids without Religion

Hat tip to Martin Rundkvist at Aardvarchaeology for bringing attention to this upcoming book.

I don’t have kids, but there’s been a long discussion on the topic of raising kids sans superstition in the forums. This book should be of interest to those of you who are parents trying to raise superstition-free children. Plus it looks like it will be a lot of fun, too. Just check out the list of contributors to this anthology!

Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion by Dale McGowan (Editor)

Book Description (from Amazon)
Foreword by Michael Shermer, Ph.D.
Contributors include Richard Dawkins, Penn Jillette, Julia Sweeney, and Dr. Donald B. Ardell

It’s hard enough to live a secular life in a religious world. And bringing up children without religious influence can be even more daunting. Despite the difficulties, a large and growing number of parents are choosing to raise their kids without religion.

In Parenting Beyond Belief, Dale McGowan celebrates the freedom that comes with raising kids without formal indoctrination and advises parents on the most effective way to raise freethinking children. With advice from educators, doctors, psychologists, and philosophers as well as wisdom from everyday parents, the book offers tips and insights on a variety of topics, from “mixed marriages” to coping with death and loss, and from morality and ethics to dealing with holidays. Sensitive and timely, Parenting Beyond Belief features reflections from such freethinkers as Mark Twain, Richard Dawkins, Bertrand Russell, and wellness guru Dr. Don Ardell that will empower every parent to raise both caring and independent children without constraints.

The editor’s website includes excerpts and a a study guide (PDF).

Anyone interested in having this as our May reading selection? I’ll see if we can line up short interviews with some of the contributors.

Sorry, but I still can’t figure out how to post pictures on this frakking blog, so there’s no cover photo. :-(


Donna Druchunas is a freelance technical writer and editor and a knitwear designer. When she's not working, she blogs, studies Lithuanian, reads science and sci-fi books, mouths off on atheist forums, and checks her email every three minutes. (She does that when she's working, too.) Although she loves to chat, she can't keep an IM program open or she'd never get anything else done.

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  1. Sounds like an interesting read but am I the only one thinking the inclusion of "wellness guru" Dr Don Ardell means that raising kids without religion is not necessarily the same thing as raising them with pseudo science?

    Maybe I am being unfair to Dr Don but wellness guru is ringing skepchick alarm bells for me!

  2. >am I the only one thinking the inclusion of “wellness guru” Dr Don Ardell >means that raising kids without religion is not necessarily the same thing as >raising them with[out] pseudo science?

    No idea. I am not familiar with that "guru". I guess I'd have to read his chapter and see what he has to say.

  3. That caught my eye too, Monika, so I tried to find out who this Dr. Ardell character is. While I haven't yet figured out whether his "Wellness" scheme is bogus, I noticed that the contributors list has several people whom I'd consider a better advertisement.

    At age nine, EMILY ROSA produced a study on Therapeutic Touch that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, creating a media sensation that put her in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest person to publish serious medical research. She just finished two years of university at CU-Boulder with an academic interest in forensic psychology.

    See pp. 9 ff. of Alan Sokal's "Pseudoscience and Postmodernism" paper for some details and context of Rosa's experiment.

  4. I am looking forward to this book. I have a 3 year old, and a 3 month old. We are starting have to deal with questions she has after playing at friends houses (we live in a VERY religious part of the country). I suspect we'll start losing friends if I continue to tell her "Oh, those are just their imaginary friends."

  5. I would need to read the chapter too before I could form a firm opinion – I guess I was just wondering if the term wellness guru set off the same alarm bells for others. (Yes from what Blake Stacey had to say – and I agree with him some of the other contributors are more impressive at first glance).

    The best thing about being skeptical I suppose is I can read the book and agree or disagree with whatever wisdom it preaches. Then go away and do my own research into the concepts.

    I'll certainly be reading everything I can lay my hands on when I get around to having children!

  6. Several of the authors of chapters from this book will be speaking at/participating in our conference, "The New Humanism," at and around Harvard April 20-22, along with Salman Rushdie, Steven Pinker, E.O. Wilson, Dar Williams, and of course Rebecca Watson herself. Look for the book onsale at our Humanist Expo on Saturday April 21 at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge. For nore info and to register for the conference go to

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