My Atheist Daughter and Her Evangelical Grandmother


I've been an atheist for over half a decade now, but I still haven't told my evangelical mother. Oh, I've told her that I attend a UU church, and she knows I don't believe in young earth creationism or read the Bible every day the way she does. But I've never actually told her I'm an atheist. I'm in a bit of a different position than most---I grew up as the oldest of a large evangelical homeschooling family, and half a dozen of my siblings are still under 18. My ability to see my siblings is in s … [Read more...]

An Atheist Parent, an Evangelical Grandmother, and a Six-Year-Old Girl


On a recent visit home, my evangelical mother informed me, with horror, that my six-year-old daughter Sally doesn't know Jesus Loves Me. She tried to keep it light and almost funny, I think. I've set boundaries with her and she has generally respected them, but one thing I haven't done is told her I'm an atheist. Partly I want to preserve her peace of mind. At least this way she can imagine I'm saved. Partly I just don't know how she'll react. I think she knows, though, deep down, and is afraid t … [Read more...]

Why I Take My Kids to the UU Church


Earlier this spring I spoke with my kindergarten-age daughter about holidays and stories. I explained that many different religions and cultures have holidays that celebrate spring, and that Easter is our culture's spring holiday. I also talked about the history of Easter, and the religious significance the holiday has for Christians. I explained that we as humans create stories about the world around us, and drew parallels to other religions and other cultures."Can you think of any stories w … [Read more...]

What Kind of Atheist Parent Are You?


Some months ago I mentioned Temperance Brennan in a blog post on atheist parenting, and my readers had a lot to say. To be specific, many of my readers argued that it was unfair that Brennan, an atheist, felt the need to defer to her Catholic partner, Booth, and let their daughter, Christine, be baptized. I did not write a followup post at the time, but my thoughts have been percolating and I think I'm ready to put them on paper. Or rather, in pixels, I suppose.Let's turn to an analogy for a … [Read more...]

What Makes a Person an “Atheist” Parent?


I was going back through my feed reader lately, and came upon a post on the Friendly Atheist from December. In it the author, Kate Cohen, writes about her interest in how atheists are represented in TV shows and movies shown on TV. She focuses especially on the representation of atheist parents.She leads with this: I found one! I found one! I found an atheist mom on TV! She goes on to explain that she is talking about Doris Walker in Miracle on 34th Street. I've never seen Miracle on 34th … [Read more...]

Does Atheist Parenting “Work”?


I recently came upon an interesting comment (screenname Angellius) on a scholarly post titled "Does Homeschooling Work." The post addressed whether homeschoolers with religious motivations are successful in producing religious children.You could put the question this way: A lot of atheist parents are highly concerned that God not be mentioned in school: No prayers, no overt professions of faith by teachers, no prayer meetings during school hours, etc. Is anybody asking, “Do atheist efforts … [Read more...]

How Not to Teach Children Critical Thinking


I found this series of comments on a post I wrote about atheist parenting a couple of weeks ago very interesting and thought provoking: Two Pi Man: [I]t's about allow[ing] other people to make their own choices and respecting their decisions if they make different ones. And for children, yes absolutely it's about passing on critical thinking skills so they can evaluate philosophies & religions for themselves. Teaching, for example, that "homeopathy is bad" as an article of faith, just … [Read more...]