Friday, July 24, 2015

Is Teaching Creationism to a Kid Child Abuse?

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Are you on social media at all?
If so you have skipped at least a hundred articles and posts this month that are exploring and debating this question.

While I haven’t read a single one of those pieces I’m still thrilled at their existence. The fact that so many authors are addressing the question tells us something exciting, something worth celebrating.

Secular voices are rising! Secular and atheist authors and speakers and bloggers and youtubers and people are finally getting a say. We are at the table. For the first time in my life, atheist people are in the spotlight in very real and lasting ways, putting reason and critical thinking and secular points of view on display, normalizing it! I can’t help the exclamation points; it’s an amazing time to be alive.

I went and read “The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism” from 2012, see for more information, and learned that, of the respondants, 37% of people claim to be nonreligious or atheists. 37%! That number, according to the same study, is a ten percent rise from a previous study from five years before. That number means alot because is shows us, in part, that people are naming it, claiming it, and identifying as nonbelievers far more openly than at any time in centuries. I think that is exciting!

I know, I know. I know that you are thinking, yeah, but atheists are also still the least trusted demographic, according to that one Pew study. Yeah… I don’t know what to say about that. That’s one of those WTF moments. But I have hope.

I have hope because there is a groundswell going on; more and more people who are in the social and public spheres calling themselves atheists, seeking like-minded associates, and putting their voices on the line. More and more people are using secular terms to describe themselves, to explore social issues, and to guide their lives...openly. More internet resources, more published material to read (most of it still self published, sadly), more atheist conventions and events. More.

I hope the question is asked at least a million more times: Is teaching creationism to a child child abuse? Because it is finally considered a plausible question. Because people are answering yes to the question. Because public time and space is given to a question that has bothered many of us for years. PUBLIC. TIME. and SPACE.

I feel it, the change. I intend to be a part of it.  

Also, as my friend Rayven would have me say, Of Course, anytime you teach a child to forgo reason and logic for mythology you are handicapping them...for life, as well as ensuring another generation of adults who are incapable of making healthy and innovative solutions on this planet. Anytime you burden a potentially thinking mind with impediments to clear thought, you might as well be putting concrete blocks on feet that are learning how to run. 

In fact, isn't raising a child in religion child abuse? 

You might also like:

My Children are being Raised in a Religion-Free Home
Relax...It's Just God
Heart Outside of my Body

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

First Flight

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I'm a huge reader. With my back issues and whatnot these past weeks I have had the true delight of being able to read quite a bit lately. Some books on my ereader have been waiting for my attention for months. And who even knows what all is waiting there on my Nook. I love my nook; it holds so much material. My reading is so varied, everything from National Geographic (my favorite) to biographies to science tomes to Nora Roberts to historical fiction to novels. When that reading intersects with real life it can be serendipitous...sublime, even. 

About two weeks ago I started reading an amazing book that has been sitting on my Nook for several months. The Wright Brothers by David McCullough. It is a narrative history of the Wilbur and Orville Wright's years of trial, error, lesson the lead up to the 1903 flight at Kitty Hawk North Carolina, the world's first flight. 

Flight: beyond soaring, beyond dirigible, beyond lighter-than-air, beyond kite. Flight.

The learning process of these brothers was incredibly well-documented in their own journals, letters, and images. As true scientists, Wilbur and Orville documented everything, read everything available, conducted experiments, contacted people who were also working on the problem of flight, and did everything the hard way. On their own, they had absolutely no outside funding and almost no support from anyone outside of their own family.

This month, July 2015, the world saw come to fruition another flight, 112 years after the first flight at Kitty Hawk. About twenty years ago people within NASA conceived of an interplanetary probe, a mission that would last well over a decade, and be the culmination years of science and math. This month, New Horizons, a mission that launched in 2005, did an unbelievable thing.

Using the math and science that NASA human beings computed, this piano-sized grain of matter navigated from one miniscule grain of sand in this solar system to another fraction of a grain of sand billions of miles away. It truly blows my mind. On July 14th, New Horizons passed closer by Pluto than our moon is to us. 

AND THEN New Horizons sent back pixel after pixel, through the vastness of space of our solar system and we collected those pixels, one after the next, right here on our planet. The pixels formed an image of a planet with a heart on it.

Less than 112 years after self-taught Wilbur and Orville developed their own motor from spare parts, figured out how to manage yar and attitude and other flight problems, and moved the 605 pound Flight III on the eastern shore of our country, New Horizons encountered Pluto.

As I was reading The Wright Brothers I kept getting these deep feelings of tremendous awe. I get so see this. I get to be alive while human beings actually see the surface of the planet Pluto. I am the grateful recipient of these first pixels that have travelled four and a half hours through the emptiness of space between beyond Pluto and Earth.

I can’t help but wonder what Wilbur and Orville would make of it.

You Might Also Like These Posts:
Charlie and Kiwi: An Evolutionary Adventure
An Unfortunate Necessary Evil
The Ten Commandments and My Ten Suggestions
Build a Bridge

Passion Fruit and Chloe

Friday, July 17, 2015


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I had this whole, long story about my life that I was going to post, all about the upset and mess and unfairness of it all. But I decided to simply stick to the issue at hand, however self-indulgent it is.

It was 1982, smack in the middle of every emotionally-battering event possible, when I got pregnant. Sometimes I think that even one kind comment from my dad might have changed everything, but that was not forthcoming. Besides, so many other factors were working against me.

It was what it was.

And now, 32 years later, I sit with feelings that have no name.

Happy Birthday, Lindsey

Friday, July 10, 2015

My Children are being Raised in a Religion-Free Home

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I wasn't raised in a religion-free home.
Our home had dried palm leaves tucked behind the living room mirror, a box of weekly envelopes for tithing sitting on the bookshelf, a tiny bottle of blue-capped holy water on the shelf, Sunday clothes in our closets, pictures or statues of bleeding hearts. We had parties for water dunking, we had people in our lives called godmothers and godfathers, we had special classes with our priest, and we had talk of miracles reported in places like Medjugorje and Guadalupe and Lourdes. We had Liguori magazine stacked on the end tables, Wednesday night dates with the catechism classes, nearly every single friend was also from our church, going to mass before going out on Saturday nights, fish on Fridays, and alcohol at every family event. We were Catholic. That is how my family identified. That is how I identified.

Therefore we also had confessing our sins, rosaries to ask Mary to help us get our sins forgiven, guilt for missing mass, shame over all things sexual (including sexual maturity), embarrassment over celebrating Christmas just for the presents and Easter just for the candy. We had fear of demonic things, and an expectation your beliefs will be the exact same as your parents, and a very black and white way of looking at issues: saint or sinner, right or wrong, good or evil.
Were there good things about being raised in my home? Absolutely. I always felt a sense of belonging a my church. The community was something we could count on. Elders of the church who were willing and able to listen. For me, the true benefit of religion for me was the community.

When I asked my son about being raised in a religion-free home he replied It's way better than being raising in a sugar-free home!

This week on Brunch with the Secular Parents on Sunday at Noontime CST we will be exploring ways that we think our kids benefit from being raised in a religion-free home. Your comments below would help!

Also, I hope you listen and JOIN IN THE CONVERSATION.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Blah Blah Blah!

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I'm recovering from an extremely extremely painful pinched nerve in my lower left back with accompanying muscle crampings from hell in my left leg. I now appreciate the hideous pain when my dad experienced this in the 70s that one time. It's a drag and is taking way longer than I think it should. 

So many things are going on here in the house and my mind is running a mile a minute so I thought I'd sit down here at the blog keyboard and lay it all out.

What am I thinking?
John is at Camp Quest. The SECULAR summer camp.
YES, finally!
For yeeeears I have begged my kids to try it out and one of them has finally acquiesced. I truly hope he forgives me, though, because the location of the camp has gotten nothing but storms since my husband and I dropped him off and drove away.

On another note, I'm a bit melancholy about my cousins losing one of their aunts this week. She was such a lovely person and I was very fond of her.

Seth and Rayven on
"The Secular Parents"

What am I am enjoying:
Working on a few secret projects.
Working on stuff for The Secular Parents.

Binge watching stuff on Netflix and AmazonPrime.
Playing games with the kids.
Late night conversations with the kids.
Oddly normal sleep patterns.
And I enjoyed an excellent entire day with my sister Linda. 

What am I feeling?
I'm pretty stoned, actually.
I have been skipping doses of my pain medications and muscle relaxing meds that I'm taking for my pinched nerve. I'm simply trying to ease my way off of them. But the pain is real today and I've taken both of them...hence, feeling stoned. And not in a good way.

Also feeling slightly down about simply being unable to walk much. It's normal, right, to get blue when going through a lengthy recovery?

What am I wearing?
A tiara and an ermine cape.

Actually, barefoot, as usual, jean cutoffs and a blue shirt.  Ponytail.

2/3 of The Secular Parents
What do I need?
Recommendations to great movies would be nice.
Otherwise I've got everything I need.

I would always love a time machine.

What am I listening to?
I can hear a windy whir of the ceiling fan, very gentle rain, and the soundtrack of the movie I'm watching called Love's Kitchen. Your basic kitchen love story.
The lead female character just had her daughter ask her Can I be you when I grow up?

What am I making?
A cup of tea, English breakfast.

What am I eating?
Nothing at all.

But Elizabeth and JD just went to the mall to apply for jobs and I asked them to bring home an Auntie Anne's pretzel. I might see that in a few hours...

What am I drinking?

Ten Random Things on my Mind
John John at Camp Quest
  1. British humor - It's so different from American humor. Brits are either in your face crude or very understated. And they love making fun of the Americans.
  2. Paying medical bills - I've had one thing after another this year and I'm hideous at being organized. My husband and I have an incredibly high credit rating but I think I'm screwing that up simply by ignoring the envelopes.
  3. A friend who drinks too much - I have loved her for many years and it's hideous watching this and knowing I can do nothing.
  4. How much I'm looking forward to more time with both of my sisters:   Brenda and Linda
  5. Trying to remember that brand of tea I like...
  6. Decorating in my mind - I have so much art leaning against the walls here and lots of blank walls. How I wish someone would come over and make decisions for me.
  7. Developing ideas for two new projects I'm working on. I'm seriously excited about some things I'm working on and I'll let you know if and when they come to fruition.
  8. Just this moment I got a phone call reminding me that I missed my dentist appointment because I'm just letting life wash past me in this stoney haze.  
  9.  I hope John John is having a great time at  Camp Quest. I saw him hanging out with a couple of kids his approximate size just before we left; I hope....
    You know what I hope!
  10. When will my pretzel arrive?

You might also enjoy: A Little Gratitude
Do You Know Why I Started Blogging?
Ten Random Things on my Mind

Monday, July 6, 2015

All You Need is Love...and JD

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While attending our nearby community college, Elizabeth has met so many wonderful people, some of whom have become good friends to her. She is quite active in the theater department and their activities and it makes my heart soar to see her bask in the glow of their activities and of her own sense of belonging.

For many years she has been active in a wonderful, small local troupe of actors in a nearby small town and that experience was so nurturing and great for her in so many ways. Moving to the college milieu was surprisingly easy for her.

One of the friends that has become close to Elizabeth and to our entire family is JD. He is a laugh, a hug, a deep conversation, a place of peace and quiet, a thinker, a riot, a question, an answer, a student, an authority, a person who puts forth such honest effort to do the right thing, an optimistic vibe, a BFF, a mature vibe, a joiner, an encourager, a part-time cook, a guy who often needs to feed the alligators, a part of the family. JD moved into our home about a month or so ago and we are very happy to have him as long as he is here.

This human makes me laugh alot, but the coolest thing about having him in our family is the fact that he gets along so well with everyone. Sometimes Elizabeth will head out to some activity or be in her room in solitude and JD will be hanging with John and they will be talking a mile a minute, playing some game, laughing, talking quietly, just connecting. 

Sometimes he and Elizabeth can be heard laughing and laughing and talking and being silly together for hours. And sometimes the three of them are together for HOURS entertaining themselves in a million different ways here at home or at large in the community. Much of the time I have no idea where they are or what they are up to and I trust each and every one of them.

My kids get along tremendously well, which is rare, I know, and JD fits right in. It's extra nice because he has a girlfriend and so those issues aren't really at play much in the house. Jer and I are offering him our home, teaching him some skills for independent living, and our genuine love and affection.  I think we're getting the better part of the deal.

Honestly, Jer and I feel fortunate to have this fine young man join our family
...for the time that we have.

I'm JD and I approve of this post
and I love and cherish all of you!
Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
Raising Atheist Children
You Take My Breath Away
A Little Gratitude

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The God Gene

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The Secular Parents have a special showtime this week:  Saturday, July 4, 2015, NOON CST. 

We plan on talking about the human predisposition to believe in magic and The God Gene. Children go through normal phases of magical thinking, a phase that can upset first-generation atheist/humanist/secular parents who want to raise freethinking skeptics. Learn more about what to expect and how to handle this normal phase of our child's life.

Did you know that you can comment to the live broadcast while watching the show?  :)

 Is there a "god gene"? Does magical thinking in kids interfere with developing skepticism? What do we, as parents, do to encourage and support imaginary play? Check out the discussion.