Raising compassionate, curious kids without religion.


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About the podcast

A podcast about raising compassionate, curious kids without religion. Hosted by Dale McGowan, editor and co-author of Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers.

Raising Freethinkers
host Dale McGowan

Episodes

The science you will never know

The science you will never know can kill you, and it can save your life. Getting scientific answers right is more important at this point in history in countless ways than it has ever been. You and I cannot be productive contributors to every scientific conversation, except in one way: by pointing, on a given…

Let’s get normal

For as long as religion has dominated culture, opting out of religion, saying “I don’t believe it,” has been seen as abnormal to the point of unthinkable. Tolerance has usually meant accepting the rights of others to worship a different god, or to worship god in a different way. Many paths to god, that sort…

The Devil You Know: Religious literacy done right

Shortly after the release of Parenting Beyond Belief, I mentioned in a secular parenting discussion forum that I think religious literacy is an important thing for our kids (and ourselves) to have. Many agreed, as did most of the contributors to the book. But I received a message from one parent who asked, Why should I fill my…

From God fight to Georgia Tech

“I kind of got into a God fight in the cafeteria today,” said Delaney, six. “What’s a ‘God fight’?” “Well I asked Courtney if she could come over on Sunday, and she said, ‘No, my family will be in church of course.’  And I said oh, what church do you go to? And she said…

Of ant-squishing, and crystal meth, and Jesus

A few years ago I had an interview with a radio station in California. The topic was raising ethical kids. The guests were a minister at a private junior high school, and me, the author of books on nonreligious parenting. I can usually do these interviews in my sleep. But in this case, I was…

Santa Claus: The ultimate dry run

Our culture has constructed a silly and temporary myth alongside its silly and permanent one. It’s an unmissable opportunity.

Pants-on-fire parenting

Germ theory was a huge advance in human health—but we’ve overlearned the lesson. Thanks to air filters, airtight homes, and antibacterial everything, our environments have been so thoroughly scrubbed that our systems are losing the ability to deal with the germs and irritants that abound in the world outside our doors. The result has been…

The problem with unthinking obedience

Examining the most common words in a parenting book can offer insights into the book’s values. Included in the 100 most common words in ‘What the Bible Says About Parenting’ are OBEDIENCE, OBEY, SIN, DUTY, EVIL, FEAR, AUTHORITY, DISCIPLINE, COMMAND, COMMANDMENT, SUBMIT, and LAW—many of them variations on the theme of obedience.  Not one of…

Snip and Dip

One morning in August 1995, I stood in a recovery room of our local hospital, exhausted from watching my wife give birth. She was also tired for some reason—maybe from watching me watch her—and was drifting in and out of sleep. A nurse approached me through the fog and asked if we wanted our son…

The Big Reveal: Is a difference in beliefs the end?

We’d been friends for years, but my atheism had never come up. Six months into dating, it still hadn’t. I knew it needed to before I proposed. I’d been sitting next to her in church every Sunday, so there was no reason for her to assume I wasn’t a Christian believer as well. But I…

Different out loud

When my daughter Erin was in eighth grade, she came home with a story I’ve never forgotten. “I was at a lunch table,” she said. “One girl asked another one where she went to church. She said ‘We don’t go to church,’ and the first girl’s eyes got all big, and this other guy leaned…

The first really hard goodbye

“Daddy!!  Something’s wrong with Max!!”  Erin’s face was a mask of anguish.  “He’s making sounds I’ve never heard before…and he’s laying wrong!” Erin’s guinea pig Max, the first pet that was all her own, was clearly not okay. The vet confirmed an upper respiratory infection the next morning, dispensing a little medicine and not much hope. …

Spare the rod—and spare me the rest

Every time a parent raises a hand to a child, the child learns that force is an acceptable substitute for reason, and that mom and dad have more confidence in force than in reason. Corporal punishment also doesn’t work. In fact, it makes things worse. The research on this is compelling. A meta-analysis of 50…

The conflict avoiders

Part 3 of 3, When science goes south | Part 1 | Part 2 We wanted the assistant principal’s head on a platter. But some things mattered more.

The Word

[Part 2 in the three-part series “When science goes south.” Part 1 here] Quick recap. My 9-year-old daughter won a national Evolution and Art contest. Her school’s assistant principal, Ms. Warner, said the principal would interview her about it on the school’s morning news program. But they wouldn’t be calling it an Evolution and Art…

When science goes south

Even the best science standards in US public schools can be undercut by one misguided educator on a mission. When Charlie’s Playhouse, a company that made evolution toys and games, announced an Evolution & Art Contest that fall, Delaney was all over it. Imagine an island with a unique environment. Choose an existing animal to…

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