Book Description

Foreword by Michael Shermer, Ph.D. Contributors include Penn Jillette, Julia Sweeney, and Dr. Donald B. Ardell This is an abridged edition of the print classic. It does not include essays by Richard Dawkins or Stephen Law. Please consult the print edition for these essays. It’s hard enough to live a secular life in a religious world. And bringing up children without religious influence can be even more daunting. Despite the difficulties, a large and growing number of parents are choosing to raise their kids without religion. In Parenting Beyond Belief, Dale McGowan celebrates the freedom that comes with raising kids without formal indoctrination and advises parents on the most effective way to raise freethinking children. With advice from educators, doctors, psychologists, and philosophers as well as wisdom from everyday parents, the book offers tips and insights on a variety of topics, from "mixed marriages" to coping with death and loss, and from morality and ethics to dealing with holidays. Sensitive and timely, Parenting Beyond Belief features reflections from such freethinkers as Mark Twain, Bertrand Russell, and wellness guru Dr. Don Ardell that will empower every parent to raise both caring and independent children without constraints.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Contents
  5. Foreword by Michael Shermer
  6. Preface
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Chapter One Personal Reflections
    1. Introduction
    2. Navigating Around the Dinner Table
    3. Thinking My Way to Adulthood
    4. Growing Up Godless: How I Survived Amateur Secular Parenting
    5. I’d Rather Play Outside
    6. My Father’s House
    7. Passing Down the Joy of Not Collecting Stamps
    8. Chapter One Endnotes
    9. Additional Resources
  9. Chapter Two Living with Religion
    1. Introduction
    2. Parenting in a Secular/Religious Marriage
    3. On Being Religiously Literate
    4. Choosing Your Battles
    5. Teaching Children to Stand on Principle—Even When the Going Gets Tough
    6. Secular Schooling
    7. Chapter Two Endnotes
    8. Additional Resources
  10. Chapter Three Holidays and Celebrations
    1. Introduction
    2. Humanist Ceremonies
    3. Losing the “Holy” and Keeping the “Day”
    4. To Easter Bunny or Not to Easter Bunny?
    5. Chapter Three Endnotes
    6. Additional Resources
  11. Chapter Four On Being and Doing Good
    1. Introduction
    2. Morality and Evil
    3. Behaving Yourself: Moral Development in the Secular Family
    4. Take Two Tablets and Call Me in the Morning
    5. On Being Good for Good Reasons: Commandments vs. Principles
    6. Chapter Four Endnotes
    7. Additional Resources
  12. Chapter Five Values and Virtues, Meaning and Purpose
    1. Introduction
    2. Double Vision: Teaching Our Twins Pride and Respect
    3. Seven Secular Virtues: Humility, Empathy, Courage, Honesty, Openness, Generosity, and Gratitude
    4. Supporting Your Children in Their Quest for the Meaning of Life!
    5. What Your Kids Won’t Learn in School
    6. A Sixty-Second Reckoned Roll of Freethinkers Historical
    7. Parenting and the Arts
    8. Chapter Five Endnotes
    9. Additional Resources
  13. Chapter Six Death and Consolation
    1. Introduction
    2. Before and After
    3. The End, As We Know It
    4. Dealing with Death in the Secular Family
    5. Small Comforts
    6. Additional Resources
  14. Chapter Seven Wondering and Questioning
    1. Introduction
    2. Little Bessie Would Assist Providence
    3. Thoughts on Raising a Curious, Creative, Freethinking Child
    4. The Family Road Trip: Discovering the Self Behind My Eyes
    5. Chapter Seven Endnotes
    6. Additional Resources
  15. Chapter Eight Jaw-Dropping, Mind-Buzzing Science
    1. Introduction
    2. Teaching Kids to Yawn at Counterfeit Wonder
    3. Natural Wonders
    4. We’ve Come a Long Way, Buddy
    5. The Idea That Changed the World
    6. Chapter Eight Endnotes
    7. Additional Resources
  16. Chapter Nine Seeking Community
    1. Introduction
    2. Building the Secular Community—However Slowly
    3. Summer Camp Beyond Belief
    4. Let’s Get Organized
    5. Chapter Nine Endnotes
    6. Additional Resources
  17. Glossary
  18. Additional Resources—General
  19. About the Authors