In Faith and In Doubt: About the Book and Author

Now Featured at the Patheos Book Club
In Faith and Doubt
How Religious Believers and Nonbelievers Can Create Strong Marriages and Loving Families
By Dale McGowan

About the Book

Interfaith marriages fail more often than same-faith partnerships. So what are the chances of survival for the ultimate mixed marriage—one between religious and nonreligious partners?

Nearly 20 percent of Americans now self-identify as nonreligious, including millions who are married to religious believers. Despite the differences, many of these marriages succeed beautifully. In this landmark book, popular author and secular humanist Dale McGowan explores some of the stories of these unions, whose very endurance flies in the face of conventional wisdom, including his own marriage to a believing Christian - a loving partnership that remains strong after three kids and 22 years. Drawing on sociology, psychology, and real-life experience, he shares:

  1. Negotiation tips that set the stage for harmonious relationships
  2. Strategies for dealing with pressure from extended family
  3. Profiles of families who have successfully blended different world views
  4. Insights for helping kids make their own choices about religious identity
  5. Advice for handling holidays, churchgoing, baptism, circumcision, religious literacy, and more

The first book of its kind, In Faith and In Doubt helps partners navigate the complexities of their situation while celebrating the extraordinary richness it affords their relationship, their children, and those around them.

About the Author

DALE McGOWAN, Ph.D., is a committed atheist, a devoted husband and father, and a recognized expert on raising caring, ethical children without religion. He is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief (AMACOM, 2007), a collection of essays by and for loving, thoughtful nonreligious parents hailed by Newsweek as "a compelling read," and Raising Freethinkers (AMACOM, 2009), the first comprehensive resource addressing the unique challenges secular parents face. He teaches workshops to nonreligious parents throughout the United States and Canada and was named a Harvard Humanist of the Year. Dale also serves as Executive Director of Foundation Beyond Belief, a charitable organization dedicated to encouraging and demonstrating acts of humanist generosity.

At age 28, Dale married his true love, Becca, a Southern Baptist. They had a traditional religious wedding in a beautiful, historic Lutheran church in San Francisco, with two ministers—a Methodist friend of the family and the bride's Baptist uncle—plus an Episcopal organist. "No one would have guessed there was an atheist in the room," Dale reflects, "much less that he was the one in tux and tails." Twenty-three years and three kids later, their marriage is, happily, still going strong. Yet, as Dale knew from the experiences of others, including close friends, many mixed-belief marriages are marked by frequent conflict and pain, and some end in divorce, caused directly by the couple's differences in worldview.

Why do some secular/religious marriages succeed and others fail? Dale's fascination with that question and search for answers culminated in his latest book, IN FAITH AND IN DOUBT: How Religious Believers and Nonbelievers Can Create Strong Marriages and Loving Families.

In addition to his books on secular parenting and mixed-belief families, Dale is the author of Atheism for Dummies, Voices of Unbelief, and two works of satirical fiction, Calling Bernadette's Bluff and Good Thunder. He is also the Managing Editor of the Atheist Channel at

Dale makes his home near Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife Becca, a second grade teacher, and their three kids.

8/16/2014 4:00:00 AM
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  • Dale McGowan
    About Dale McGowan
    Dale McGowan has written several books from the nonreligious perspective, including "Parenting Beyond Belief", "Raising Freethinkers", and "Atheism for Dummies". His book "In Faith and In Doubt" is the first to focus on marriages between religious believers and nonbelievers.