NLQ friend and author of “13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession” M. Dolon Hickmon has written a review of Patheos blogger Wendy Thomas Russell’s new book “Relax, It’s Just God” for The Humanist.Com. Wendy blogs about parenting at Natural Wonderers.
This is a book that deals with the issues of how and when to explain or expose your children to the ideas of faith, even if you have no religious beliefs of your own as a parent. It cites research data from a large group of secular parents positing when and what to teach your children, or if you should bother teaching your children any knowledge of faith or belief.
The conclusion that the book and review draws is that perhaps bigotry is more of a problem in the world than that of religion since the secular world grows larger each year. In light of the fact that fundamentalist Christianity seems to have hijacked common sense in places like Indiana where you are now allowed to discriminate on issues of sexuality if they offend your own personal religious views then perhaps it is time that we stop being so bigoted towards others and work together to abolish An increasingly small minority is poised to pass a similar law in Arkansas, Virginia and others states. Bigotry has no place in this world no matter what your religion is or isn’t.
From Hickmon’s review:
In Relax, It’s Just God, author Wendy Thomas Russell suggests potential problems with such an approach: “[I]n light of America’s secular boom, perhaps religion is not the threat we should be worried about; perhaps bigotry is. As parents on the front lines of this great shift, we have an opportunity to make sure that disbelief doesn’t translate into unkind, disdainful, or condescending comments about people who mean us no harm. Knowing ourselves and our biases, tamping down our inner vitriol, and maintaining some humility are crucial first steps.”
Ultimately, what Wendy Thomas Russell points out is that in the absence of forethought and deliberate effort, nonbelievers may inadvertently inspire in their children the kind of mindless, mean-spirited intolerance that they’ve criticized from the devout. I think it’s a valid point and one that makes reading this little book well worth the time and effort.
Unlike some similar guides, Russell addresses her book to all of the “nones”—a category that includes parents who are atheist, agnostic, spiritual-but-not-religious, or even religious but unattached to a specific faith. She includes practical advice on a range of topics, from heading-off religiously motivated playground bullying to talking with un-churched children about death. Some of her points are bound to fall flat with those who are happily embedded in the bubble of atheist websites and social media, but as Russell so skillfully points out, now is the time for parents of “nones” to begin preparing their offspring to assume their roles as leaders of America’s rising majority.