Twelve Blogs for Us

Motherhood Uncensored

www.motherhooduncensored.typepad.com

Kristen Chase is a foul-mouthed, cynical, cut-the-crap mother of two with no sense of propriety or common decency. I adore her. Like me, she is also a former music professor recently relocated to the Deep South.

The Friendly Atheist

www.friendlyatheist.com

If you are allergic to wit, intelligence, and friendly but firm commentary on the religious and nonreligious worlds, avoid Hemant Mehta's blog. Otherwise, come on in.

Pharyngula

www.scienceblogs.com/pharyngula

P.Z. Myers, a biologist at the University of Minnesota, Morris, writes the smartest and funniest science blog on Earth.

Bad Astronomy

www.badastronomy.com

Author/astronomer Phil Plait (apparently his real name)1 blogs about astronomical misconceptions, hoaxes, and other silliana.

Atheist Ethicist

www.atheistethicist.blogspot.com

The ethico-philosophical blog of Alonzo Fyfe. For the quiet reflectors among us.

Friendly Humanist

www.friendlyhumanist.blogspot.com

The blog of a smart and (yes) friendly Canadian humanist in Scotland. One of my favorites for quiet intelligence.

Rant & Reason

http://blog.thehumanist.com/

"Humanist perspectives on breaking news and politics."

Half Full Blog

http://greatergood.berkeley. edu/half_full/

Subtitled "The Science of Raising Happy Kids." Doesn't get better than this.

New Humanist

http://blog.newhumanist.org.uk/

Blog of the British magazine of the same name.

The Meming of Life

www.ParentingBeyondBelief.com/blog

You honestly thought I had the maturity to not mention my own secular parenting blog. And you call yourself a rationalist.

Bligbi

"The ramblings of a non-apologetic militant atheist mom."

Daddy Dialectic

www.daddy-dialectic.blogspot.com

A blog by Greater Good editor and secular dad Jeremy Adam Smith and others that is smarter and better than my blog in every way. So what's your point?

Q: How would you respond if one of your children became religious?

I asked each of the four co-authors of this book to provide a short (150-word) answer to this very common question. The result:

JAN DEVOR: First, make sure that your teen is not just following the pack to a local "in" religious community or youth program. Gently ask why he or she has made the decision and listen to the answer. He or she probably knows what you think about religion and might be reluctant to have this conversation.

You may spot weakness or flaws in his thinking, but jumping on him about these things is not the way to go. Allow your teen to follow his thinking in this area.

Ask if you can research the religion's theology and have open discussions with her about what she is learning and doing in this community as time goes by. You might even ask if you could attend a service with her.

Most of all, remain calm. Teens often need to experience things to sort through their feelings about them. This religious exploration is not unusual.

MOLLEEN MATSUMURA: What to do depends on why your kid is interested, and how deeply. There are a lot of reasons to explore religions that are not anything to worry about—certainly not enough to fight about.

Your child may be interested in exploring his or her roots, particularly if your family comes from a minority faith or ethnic community. Often in the United States, people join faith communities for the ethnic connection. This doesn't necessarily mean he's adopting the belief-system, and if not, the best thing you can do is encourage his interest in other ways; for example, by studying your ancestors' language or cooking ethnic recipes together.

In families where members disagree about religion, your child might be trying to maintain a connection by, say, going to church with grandma; be careful about assuming that she is taking sides. Making the issue a test of loyalty could just put distance between you.

AMANDA METSKAS: Make it clear that you love him no matter what he believes. Take your child's ideas seriously. Treating him as though he is "going through a phase" or just parroting the ideas of someone else will damage your relationship and stifle communication.

Encourage your child to continue to explore, and ask questions yourself. Congratulate her for the seriousness with which she is taking these issues, and say that you look forward to continuing to talk about it. Remember that exploring beliefs is an important part of our development.

Call into question any ideas that are contrary to your values and those of your child.

If your child is joining a religion with especially troubling elements— refusing medical care, for example, or isolating its members—that is a different situation. Consider talking to a professional counselor. Try to find out if there is something going on in your child's life that prompted him or her to join this group.

DALE McGOWAN: I encourage my kids to try on as many beliefs as they wish and switch whenever they feel drawn toward a different hat. They'll end up better informed about the identity they eventually choose as well as those they declined.

My reaction would also depend on what is meant by "religious." Is it "Love-your-neighbor" religious or "God-hates-fags" religious? "Dalai Lama" religious, or "September 11 hijackers" religious?

If my kids do choose a religious expression, it's likely to be one that expresses the values of compassion and reason in which they've been raised. We could do far worse than a world of liberal Quakers, for example. If instead one of my kids identified with a more malignant religion, I'd challenge the negative consequences of the belief, not the fact that it is "religious."And my love for my child would remain completely unchanged.

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