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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How to Talk to Your Kids About Religion When You’re an Atheist

Earlier this year, Wendy Thomas Russell wrote a book about raising children without religion called Relax, It’s Just God. She just did a wonderful interview about the topic on PBS NewsHour.

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5 Reasons Atheist Parents Shouldn’t Teach Religion to Their Kids

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, discusses 5 reasons atheist parents shouldn’t teach religion to their children.

(To be clear, I’m fine with parents teaching them about religion. I’m focusing here on the atheist parents who do things like take their kids to church because they think it’s the best way to raise them.)

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A Mother and Daughter Discuss the Lack of Atheist Presidents in This Beautiful Visual Story

Last month, I posted about a conversation between Kate Cohen and her nine-year-old daughter. She wanted to be the first female President, but since that box may be checked off by the time she’s old enough to run, Kate suggested she consider becoming the first atheist President instead.

The Washington Post took her story and animated it, and the result is just incredibly cool. Start here and scroll your way down.

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