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10. PBB translated into Arabic!

Well, not yet. But I have been contacted by an Egyptian atheist who is enthusiastic about Parenting Beyond Belief, sees a strong need for an Arabic translation, and offered to do it himself. I declined for the moment, partly because the publisher controls all translations, but mostly because PBB is quite culturally specific, with references to church-state separation, Christmas, baptism… I know that sounds a bit like the question Bertrand Russell once received from an Irish woman when she heard he was an atheist: But is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in which you disbelieve? But it’s true – PBB is about being a nonbeliever in a largely Christian context. What’s needed, I told my Egyptian friend, is an Arabic book by Arab atheists and humanists dealing with the issues of being a nonbeliever in a primarily Islamic context. Plus that way I won’t have to deal with my fatwaphobia.
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amazon
9. The Amazon rank

PBB has been rolling along with very good numbers on Amazon – typically between 2000 and 4000 out of four million (the top one-tenth of one percent). But a recent story about PBB in the Minneapolis Star Tribune caused a phenomenal spike to #721 – the top two-hundredths of a percent.
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8. The UU side of things

As PBB readers know, I love Unitarian Universalists for many reasons. They also drive me crazy, which is OK, since they drive themselves crazy, too. Having redefined religion as…well, as pretty much anything you want it to mean, from the Flying Spaghetti Monster to a swift kick in the pants, some UU fellowships around the country are hesitant about being connected to this book. “I’m not sure that we as a religious community should be involved in promoting a book about raising children without religion!” said one (utterly nontheistic) UU correspondent. Thus am I failing to reach large swaths of the one community most likely to want and need this book, all because of the goofy way we define and redefine and undefine words.

On the other hand, UU World – the outstanding quarterly magazine of the UUs – is publishing a large excerpt of the book in the upcoming Fall issue.
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confused monkey
7. I’m sorry…can you repeat the question?

I did an interview recently with a wonderful, friendly reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. She had read the book, found it fascinating, quoted back large passages to me – and then, ten minutes into the interview, said, “But…you do believe in God, right?”
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6. “Tis 15,000 visitors, I muttered”

The PBB website (including the forums and blog) is getting pretty darn lively:

March 2007: 3783 visitors
April 2007: 7991 visitors
May 2007: 9743 visitors
June 2007 (proj.): 15,000 visitors
[NB: actual visitor count for June: 16,500]
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aai
5. Secular Nation

Secular Nation, the quarterly magazine of Atheist Alliance International, is devoting its entire Summer issue to secular parenting, including a feature by yours truly. Once it’s live, you’ll find it here.
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secweb
4. The Secular Web
The Secular Web — the largest secularist website in the solar system — will also have an article of mine as Featured Article for July. Once it’s live, you’ll find it here.
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lucy
3. Ask Miss Dale
I’m beginning to get a stream of requests for advice. One young mother is feeling the need to set ground rules for her evangelistic father now that her daughter is getting to the questioning stage. Another in my own city has four kids in an evangelical private school (for the academic rigor (in most areas (not science))) but is being driven insane by the overwhelming religious indoctrination and wants nonsectarian options. Others are seeking books on this or that topic, strategies for approaching a public school that’s violating church-state principles, or resources for counseling upon the death of child. I’m deeply moved and increasingly aware of the crying need that PBB has begun to address. There’s so much more to do.
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scales
2. Removing the scales from mine eyes

Friendly and well-meaning Christians continue to invite me to “dialogue” or to “have a cup of coffee” because they find me “intriguing” and want to “understand better” where I’m “coming from.” This is a lovely idea in principle, and something I enjoyed for many years. But even if it doesn’t begin as a conversion attempt (and it usually does), these people each enter the conversation convinced that I just haven’t sat my silly self down with the right Christian. They are also convinced, without exception, that they, at last, will be that right Christian. They’ve heard this heroic narrative so many times – the blinded atheist from whose eyes the scales can be made to drop by the right turn of phrase – and just can’t wait to be the one standing all in white, hearing those scales tinkling on the tile between us.

If I consent, they give me the same, tired seven or eight or nine or twelve unconvincing things that convinced them. Once I heard the same seven or eight or nine or twelve things for the twentieth time, I gave myself permission to start declining these invitations. At which point I am inevitably accused of an unwillingness to listen to God’s Truth.
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harvard
1. PBB is going to Harvard!

After years of hard work and countless all-nighters, PBB has finally made it to Harvard! Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein has just informed me that Parenting Beyond Belief will be included in his course on Humanism and Atheism next year at the Harvard Divinity School.

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.