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297 of 307 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Happy To Have Found This Book
This book fills a definite void in parenting literature. It contains a collection of perspectives from people who are dealing with raising children in mixed or nonreligious households. It covers topics like dealing with mixed beliefs, death and consolation, values, holidays, community, and critical thinking. It is not prescriptive in that you won't find a set answer for...
Published on July 12, 2007 by Eliza

versus
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Neither interesting nor useful
I confess that I did not finish the book. I got a little more than a third of the way through before I could not stand one more page of boredom. I chose the book because several people said that I would find it very interesting. Sadly, the only thing that I found interesting was the really warped idea those people must have regarding my thoughts on religion.

I...
Published 13 months ago by Mama Rose


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297 of 307 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Happy To Have Found This Book, July 12, 2007
By 
Eliza (Maine, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion (Paperback)
This book fills a definite void in parenting literature. It contains a collection of perspectives from people who are dealing with raising children in mixed or nonreligious households. It covers topics like dealing with mixed beliefs, death and consolation, values, holidays, community, and critical thinking. It is not prescriptive in that you won't find a set answer for any topic but rather a variety of viewpoints and shared experiences from those who are dealing with them now or have dealt with them as they were raising their own children. It provides the background and resources to adopt those strategies that you feel are right for you or adapt your own. It has been great for me in thinking about issues and developing ideas with my husband as we are planning to start our family.
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278 of 290 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, thank you, thank you!, April 20, 2007
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This review is from: Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion (Paperback)
Finally, SOMETHING!

My wife and I are about to bring our first child into the world and were happy when we found a book that discusses ways to deal with the issue of holidays, belief in Santa/Easter Bunny, moral development in children without the threat of eternal punishment, how to tackle the questions kids are bound to ask about life/death, and so much more. Overall, it is a great resource for humanist or atheist parents (or wannabe parents) who wish to raise rational, freethinking children with the skills to make up their own minds as adults.

The essays are from a wide variety of people with viewpoints, backgrounds, and ideas not always similar. It was the contrast of ideas that helped my wife and I form a game plan on how we can raise children who will never stop asking "why?" for the right reasons. Our favorite sections are Does God Exist, which is written in a wonderfully and easy to understand conversational style by Stephen Law, and Dealing with Death in a Secular family by Kendyl Gibbons. Although the piece that I'm sure we'll go back to over and over is the list famous freethinkers. Ahhh resources, magnificent, beautiful resources...

My only complaint, and it is to be unavoidable, is that this book didn't come sooner. It was my hope to find a solid community to immediately fall into, but it was not meant to be. And even though there are over 20 million of us in the US, it IS hard to rally secular people around that single ideal. So I send my heartfelt thanks to Dale McGowan for helping to foster our community.

Read the book, raise intelligent, freethinking children, and the next generation will not have to work so hard to find a common identity.

Edit: I also wish that more of the books suggested were still in print.
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178 of 184 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful resource!, April 17, 2007
By 
Kelly W. (Cincinnati, Oh United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion (Paperback)
I had been waiting for this book for a long time. As a secular parent, it is always nice to read about other parents in the same situation and the various stumbling blocks we may run into. The collection of essays in this book outline most of those-religion and education, fostering a respect for religious people, the Santa question, teaching children to stand up for their beliefs, etc. The group of writers in the book focus on the many different viewpoints of secular parents. It isn't preachy in any way, and offers valuable insight into the big tent of secular belief. I highly recommend this for all secular parents, or anyone who follows a philosophy outside the mainstream.
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100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grandparents and Believers Too, June 15, 2007
By 
W. C. Huey "Doc" (Alpharetta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion (Paperback)
In my thirty-six years of counseling teens and families, it soon became apparent that whether consciously or not, the parenting styles of young couples are typically adopted from the styles employed by their own parents, as either a model to emulate or intentionally avoid. The lack of exposure to a variety of alternative, and arguably more effective approaches to parenting, leaves a void in this vital area of essential life skills. A parent's most important task could be described as leaving a positive legacy in the form of intelligent, compassionate, creative children who are able to rationally problem-solve and make well-thought out decisions for themselves. In the absence of required parent education programs, either in the school programs or community offerings, couples and single parents are left to their own resources, which too often turn out to be the old trial-and-error method, frequently to the detriment of the children and society. Although there is no shortage of "how- to" books on traditional parenting, most of them seem to have a fairly strong religious bent. Resource options specifically written for non-believers are essentially non-existent.

The contributing writers in Parenting Beyond Belief (2007) offer hope in the form of alternative perspectives from the other side of the playground. As editor, McGowan has somehow managed to compile an outstanding cadre of knowledgeable, free-thinking authors in this highly readable volume. I am particularly pleased that he approached the topic from an open, respectful and inclusive stance, rather than joining the growing list of those who choose to smugly attack all religious beliefs and believers. This is not a book on "rearing atheists" and/or polarizing parent groups. The inclusive and balanced approach taken in selecting manuscripts models the principles that should be desired for all children. It is an informative and insightful volume which contains the keys to teaching children (and adults) the values of respect, openness, tolerance, acceptance, compassion, and the vital importance of questioning and critical thinking in everyday life. Parenting Beyond Belief is perhaps more of a "why to" rather than a "how to." Whether a believer or nonbeliever, you don't want to miss this engaging, first-of-its-kind offering. Of interest to me was the fact that, in the chapters he authored, McGowan more than holds his own with the notable, and sometimes notorious, better-known contributors to this resource. The volume includes an excellent list of organizations, web sites and other resources and would be a valuable addition to any parent's library --- grandparents too.

Doc.
Atlanta, Georgia
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97 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read no matter what you believe, April 16, 2010
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This review is from: Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion (Paperback)
I found this to be the best book I have found on raising children with respect and love. The importance of allowing children to think and act for themselves and eventually becoming who THEY choose to. This book was a great eye opener to me as a parent. It teaches the importance of honesty and the lack of need for parents to make excuses. It discusses the value and importance of open discussion. One of my favorite points brought out in this book is the power behind the statement "I don't know". I honestly believe that this is one book that should be a requirement for anyone who has or is planning on having children.
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77 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful resource for secular parents, February 23, 2010
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This review is from: Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion (Paperback)
Parenting Beyond Belief is a wonderful resource for secular parents. It combines personal reflections and practical advice, while exploring the values and virtues behind morality. Especially helpful are the sections on raising secular children in the midst of religious neighbors and on the value found in wondering and questioning.

In our society, it is helpful for non-believers to become religiously literate. Ideas are given for exploring various religions with children to understand both the good and the harm that can come from religious institutions. There is also a wonderful section exploring holidays, including the pros and cons of teaching children to believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

The book is not entirely focused on religion or philosophy, but rather on raising free thinking children. For example, chapter eight, Jaw-Dropping, Mind-Buzzing Science, explores the wonder and meaning that is found through scientific discovery. Also in this chapter, an essay on evolution clears up some popular misconceptions and puts evolution into terms that are easy for anyone to understand.

The heart of the book discusses morality as it applies to both being and doing good. There are explorations of the process for developing emotional empathy and moral reasoning, as well as discussions about what values are at the core of human ethics. While this book is largely a collection of essays from contributing authors, the editor, Dale McGowan, introduces each section and weaves the themes into an enjoyable and thoughtful read.
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and so helpful!, March 9, 2011
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This review is from: Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion (Paperback)
This is such a great book for parents who are looking for guidance and reassurance as they begin the process of raising a child without religion. It has been so helpful to me that I bought both Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers after first reading them in the library. I love going back to read essays that are relevant to my situation and because my son is only 2 I know I will get a lot of use out of the books over the years!
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a book that helps MY family!, May 4, 2007
This review is from: Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion (Paperback)
A thoughtful, provocative and often humorous guide that is helping my family answer the questions that nobody else is talking about! I've searched desperately for a parenting book that discussed morality without religion and described ideas for encouraging good behavior without the fear of eternal damnation. I'm only halfway through but I have savored every word. It is nice to know that we are not alone in our desire to raise a happy, healthy kid who is kind, caring and responsible, without fear, religion or intolerance.
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100 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!!, April 25, 2007
By 
Sandra Rollins (Anchorage, AK USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion (Paperback)
As a freethinking mother of a two and six year old, I am so excited and grateful to see a book like this! Not only are the essays thoughtful, well written and informative, it is reassuring to know I'm not the only parent trying to raise my kids to be critical thinkers. My heartfelt thanks goes to Dale McGowan, and to all who contributed to this project. I would highly recommend this book to all parents.
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98 of 110 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and a good reference too, May 15, 2007
By 
Terrence Walsh (Strongsville, OH USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion (Paperback)
My personal belief is that it is a good idea to raise kids without religious indoctrination. I think it encourages them to think critically and it doesn't burden them with the emotional baggage that can occur with religious upbringing. This book does encourage you to do just that. It doesn't hit you over the head and make you feel bad about being a Christian or whatever your personal beliefs are. Instead it encourages you to raise kids who ask questions, consider evidence, and look for their own answers regarding the meaning of life and the existence of God. That way you can help ensure that they arrive at their personal conclusions about religion and spirituality honestly when they reach adulthood.
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Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion
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