Saturday, November 7, 2015

Atheist Parent: Patheos

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The Day I was on Patheos.

Atheist parenting blogger Wendy Thomas Russell 
was kind enough to allow me
to guest post on her blog on Patheos a few months ago.
It was pretty exciting for me to have a blogger such as Wendy
to use my writing on Patheos.
I thought that it was time to share it with you.

I’m not sure why most people start blogging; I assume it has something to do with feeling they have something they need to work out or that they need to say. My own reason for starting my blog was fairly unclear to me in the beginning, though I knew that it had alot to do with my disappointment with Facebook.

On Facebook, I found it impossible to post my real beliefs about our family’s lifestyle. I got so much negative feedback on Facebook and, yet, I felt the need to be honest about my beliefs.

You see, I do not debate. If you have a differing opinion or point of view, I generally reply “Oh, okay.” But that’s not always enough. Some of my Facebook “friends” were putting me in positions where I had to explain what they would never be capable of even considering.

In February of 2010 I started blogging for peace of mind. I needed it, the peace, the accepting white page, the welcoming expanse of freedom on blogspot. As time went on, I realized that I actually did have a larger mission for my blog: to confront the ridiculous stereotypes of atheists in this country. I felt the need to join the few, brave voices with the courage to stand proudly in this atheist lifestyle.

These days I have made it my mission to blog and broadcast about secular parenting. Celebrating the liberating secularity, encouraging those blazing new trails, and exploring the little niches of our lives. It matters to me, and I hope my voice means something to someone out there — both on my blog called My Own Mind blog and on my YouTube show called The Secular Parents.

Being an atheist parent is, in some ways, like blazing a new trail. The Christian parenting books are piled high, while secular parenting websites and reading materials are still in their infancy. In fact, atheist authors are seldom welcomed by larger publishers and are 
self-publishing… support them! Happily, the road is widening and getting easier to find. More and more, secular parenting groups and entities are online. And the content is less and less about debating or insulting believers and more about the wonderful journey of secular parenting.

Atheist Parenting

Atheist and secular families have the exact same struggles as every other family in the world, with an addition of several others.

First, we have no religious stories to feed our children or with which to comfort ourselves in our distress. Instead, we have truth and questions and natural explanations. Very often, we are first-gen freethinkers and have nothing from our past to build on. No wonder we often feel so alone and unsupported. The road is ours to blaze and, in the beginning, that is terrifying. Eventually, that trailblazing is a treasure.

Second, we deal with having our families and our small children being treated with derision, hatefulness, intolerance and anger. I mean, how often have you had to explain cruel “hell” comments to your children… without passing along a similar intolerance to them? Who, among us, hasn’t had to face our sweet children after someone dared tell them that they are “of the devil” or “going to hell”? I don’t know how long this particular battle will be so culturally sanctioned, but I know some wonderful Christian families who openly and courageously fight this intolerance.

And third, atheist and freethinking parents are blazing trails in ethics that make me proud to join them. I have never been a black-and-white thinker. The world is astonishingly complex and fruitful and requires the ability to appreciate all of those lovely smoky oyster shades of grey. Yes, we are free and inspired to view the known and unknown facets of the world with awe and unabashed wonder.

These days, unlike in my old Facebook days, I don’t feel much need to thrash around in frustration about how atheists are treated — though I feel it deeply. Instead, I’m here to celebrate being an atheist and to, hopefully, inspire my viewers and my blog readers to let their own lights shine.

You Might Also Enjoy:

I Meme Well
Atheist Parenting: Talking About Sex
Ten Questions No Atheist Can Answer - LOL

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