Toronto Writer, Raised a Catholic, Wonders If Letting Her Son Grow Up Without Religion Was Selfish

Two Torontonians, both raised Catholic, decided to let their son grow up without religious dogma. In a short radio essay she wrote and read, Julie Green, the boy’s mother, now wonders if she did the right thing.

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Here’s How My 5-Year-Old Daughter Discovered the Truth About Santa

It was supposed to be easy.

And during our first venture as parents, it was easy.

Soon after tossing our Jehovah’s Witness mindset into the trash, my wife Jennifer and I were faced with all manners of decisions about parenting. Of course, those decisions were present before, but we didn’t have to think about them because the Watchtower Society made all the decisions for us.

But in 2006, as newly minted non-religious people with a one-year-old child, we had to make some decisions without any help (read: coercion) from the Watchtower Society.

Among the biggies: How are we gonna handle Santa Claus?

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Only a Weird, Cherry-Picked Version of the Data Shows That Religion Is Uniformly Good For Kids

Does religion poison everything, per Christopher Hitchens?

W. Bradford Wilcox (below), director of the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, begs to differ, he writes in the Washington Post.

Specifically,

On average, religion is a clear force for good when it comes to family unity and the welfare of children — the most important aspects of our day-to-day lives.

Wilcox is careful not to attack secularists, and readily sums up some points that bolster our case, not his:

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A New Book Explores How the Religious “Nones” Are Raising Their Children

As the demographics of the U.S. shift away from organized religion, it brings up a lot of questions about how much religion you should have in your life when you’re not all that religious yourself. If you’re a “None” who doesn’t believe in some Higher Power, does it make sense to go to church, even on the major holidays? How should you introduce the topic of religion to your kids?

Atheists have been discussing these questions for a long time, but those answers don’t apply to everyone who isn’t affiliated with a traditional faith.

Those topics are what Christel Manning, a professor at Connecticut’s Sacred Heart University, addresses in her new book Losing Our Religion: How Unaffiliated Parents Are Raising Their Children (NYU Press, 2015).

In the excerpt below, Manning talks about what prompted her to write the book in the first place:

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How Should You Raise Your Kids When You Find Value in Religion but Don’t Really Believe in God?

There have been a number of books published over the past few years about how atheist parents should raise children.

But most of the demographic trends indicate a rise in people who are simply non-religious. They’re not atheists; in fact, they may believe in a nebulous sort of Higher Power. But they aren’t religious enough to attach a label to their beliefs.

That raises some unique problems: Should you go to church on the major holidays, just as a matter of tradition? Should you teach kids religious stories that you yourself may not believe? What if your kids ask you if those stories are true? All of those things are more clear-cut for atheists.

Now, a new book focuses on raising kids when religion just isn’t that important to you. It’s called Losing Our Religion: How Unaffiliated Parents Are Raising Their Children by Christel Manning, a professor at Connecticut’s Sacred Heart University.

Ruth Graham, writing about the book for Slate, falls into this category of “Unaffiliated” parents, and she explains the dilemma she’s facing with her daughter:

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