Relax, It’s Just God



by Wendy Thomas Russell
(Brown Paper Press, 2015)

A rapidly growing demographic cohort in America, non-religious parents are at the forefront of a major and unprecedented cultural shift. Unable to fall back on what they were taught as children, many of these parents are struggling — or simply failing — to address complicated religious questions and issues with their children in ways that promote curiosity, kindness, and independence.

Author Wendy Thomas Russell sifts through hard data-including the results of her own survey of 1,000 nonreligious parents-and delivers gentle but straightforward advice to this often-overlooked segment of the American population. With a thoughtful voice infused with humor, Russell seamlessly merges scientific thought, scholarly research, and everyday experience with respect for a full range of ways to view the world. Among other things, the book shows parents how to:

  • Talk openly about our beliefs without indoctrinating kids
  • Make religious literacy fun and engaging
  • Talk about death without the comforts of heaven
  • Navigate religious differences with extended family members
  • Respond when kids get threatened with hell

Praise for RELAX, IT’S JUST GOD:

“This well-written, thoroughly researched work that mixes advice humor and history . . . contains a wealth of information for secular or mixed-religious families preparing for the God talk with kids.”
 Kirkus Reviews

 “An eminently frank, personal, honest, and informative exploration of how to approach religion and secularism with your children. Rich with sociological data, engaging case studies, and a plethora of helpful techniques and strategies, this thoughtful book should be warmly welcomed by that growing population of Americans who are raising their kids without religious faith or involvement.”
— Phil Zuckerman, author of Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions

“Relax, It’s Just God is a thought-provoking entry in the expanding category of secular parenting advice.”
— The Humanist Magazine

“In this gem of a book, journalist Russell explores religion from a nonreligious perspective, helping parents guide their children in a healthy, exploration-oriented direction without guilt, dogma, or indifference…. This singular book with a clean style and respectful approach is recommended for all libraries.”
Library Journal (starred review)

“Wendy is a strong, funny, articulate new voice in secular parenting.”
Dale McGowan, author and editor, Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion

“If only we all could have a mother with the approach to religious literacy described in Relax Its Just God. Wendy Thomas Russell conducted a fascinating survey of parents for this important book, and the results deserve wide discussion… ‘Relax It’s Just God’ is a friendly and wise and highly readable guide to teaching children about religion so they can respond with openness and intelligence.”
Robert Tulip,

“Wendy Thomas Russell never shies from the big questions. Her fresh, funny take on non-religious parenting is a much-needed addition to the secular landscape, and her book is an invaluable resource for parents who are raising kids without religion.”
— Katherine Ozment, author, Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose & Belonging in a Secular Age

“‘Relax: It’s Just God’ is valuable for so many reasons. The book offers helpful timelines for how to talk to kids about religion at every age and includes a handy appendix with the CliffsNotes version of each major religion of the world, along with ways to observe their holidays in a secular way. The book’s full of useful tools that you and your kids can use when confronted by religious peers and well-meaning family members. Best of all, it handles a potentially heavy topic with a lighthearted sense of humor, giving the reader the sense that we really can relax about it.”
— True Parent Magazine

“Since first encountering her work, I have been ceaselessly impressed by Wendy’s dedication to showing non-religious and religious parents alike a more compassionate way to approach religious differences. Hers is a vital voice in the world today.”
— Chris Stedman, author, Fatheist: How and Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious

“One of the best things I’ve read in years.”
— Karen Loethen, co-host of The Secular Parents Broadcast

“Wendy is remarkably versatile, expert at explaining the inexplicable (say, God), compassionate, refreshingly effortless with language, tireless in her investigations and research and, finally, a joy to read. If I were to take it upon myself to create a new publication, on the first day I would hire Wendy Thomas Russell, and on the second day I would rest.”
— Tim Grobaty, columnist, Long Beach Press-Telegram