Thursday, July 2, 2015

The God Gene

secularTv, secular parent, atheist parent
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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Teen Atheists

teen atheists, teen atheist, teen atheist, teen atheist
I've been thinking about experiences of atheist teens, especially on social media. It's no secret that social media is a huge part of the lives of most teenagers these days, and that is interesting. This is the first generation in the history of humankind on this planet to be so connected.

Yet I am wondering how disconnected some teens are also feeling in spite of the online communities. Now that I am a part of the atheist community I know that online resources are important and meaningful ...and I had an idea.

I am now in the beginning stages of working on a project for online teens that I am super excited about. I'm developing a completely unique and exciting show for the youtube channel SecularTv that will be exclusively for skeptical teens. This project will be both for teens and by teens.

To that end, I could use some assistance.
I'm looking for some special people who might be interesting in participating in a weekly show. This person will be between the ages of 12-18, will have parental approval and knowledge of participation, will be willing to be openly atheist online, will have between 2-4 hours a week to spare, and will be interested in exploring a unique vehicle for skeptical advocacy and advancement. 


Also, I fully expect this project will be FUN.

Interested teens can contact me at:  karen.thesecularparent.com


THANKS!
I'm hoping that I can get this project off of the floor soon, so time is ticking!

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Monday, June 29, 2015

#IMGOINGTOHELL

Atheist humor
I know I shouldn't, but I'm passing this along.

Jesus Christ is My Nigga

The funny thing is, if this had been done as satire it wouldn't be as funny. I can't get over the fact that somebody said, I have a great idea and a second person said YES, we can really pull that off.

#Imgoingtohell

Sunday, June 28, 2015

You Deny God Because You Want to Sin

atheist myths
The Sin Factor.
I was reading some stuff tonight about what atheists believe, writings from various Christian websites. 

(I was just doing it for fun...WHAT?! Don't judge me!)
 On Creation.com I learned that many Christians are given extremely disingenuous and misleading information about atheist, so it's no wonder that many believers are actually frightened of freethinkers. It's a sad fact that people who visit these websites are given false information to keep them plugged into the religion.

If you are, now, an atheist, were you a Christian or other believer at some point in your life? I was a Catholic. I ask this question because I remember it very clearly, times when atheists were explained or characterized in an alarming way. I was frightened as hell of atheists when I was a believer so I think I get it, their fear and derision. They are fed these incredible lies.

Creation.com claims that all people, first of all, experience a time in their life when they know that they need God. Second, these scoundrels, the atheists, then, needing God, consciously choose to turn their backs on God in order to choose a sinful lifestyle...probably a sexual lifestyle, as is the insinuation of the website. Other websites even feel sorry for atheists for their sad lack of belief in an afterlife. It is also quite sad that atheists hate God so much. You see, much of the dripping sarcasm of some of these Christian writers is quite comical, though I grant some of the writers some leniency for their honest efforts to try to understand.

Some writer of these Christian sites are fearfully arrogant about their belief in the sin-soaked world in which we live. Evolution seems to be a comical idea for many of the writers on these websites. Some argue that most atheists probably never really give important issues honest thought. Some say that there is no such a thing as a good atheist. And, although I admit to having done very little research in this matter at this point, one webpage I was on claimed that science is making strides in finding evidence for God's existence. Imagine! 

So let's get on to the sin...although the current pope has allowed that atheists would be perfectly fine as long as they follow their conscience, not all Christians are as generous as the leader of the Catholic church in Vatican City. Although I don't have affection for church leaders as a whole, I appreciated Pope Francis's efforts, however late to the game, however little. 


Did you know that Hamartiology is the branch of theology that deals with the study of sin? I noticed that some Christian colleges actually offer Hamartiology as a major. Imagine studying sin...

From my reading I think that some believers would doubt the claim that Atheists Just Want to Sin, so I shall give that caveat. But many Christians and Muslims truly believe that atheists live in fear of and with disdain for the moral certainties of the religions and with a preference for living a life of gluttony, sexual vices, full of deceit and pride, free of the consequences of their actions, disdainful of life, valuing no one and nothing.


I know from my reading that many believers will be disdainful of my next point...yet it is one of my deepest-held truths, it is fundamental to my complete disbelief in any and all religion and all things supernatural: I do not believe in any such a thing as sin...even beyond the moral relativity thing.

Most fundamental definitions of sin refer to rejecting deities and teachings of religions. The concept of sin in religions holds behavior and human goodness secondary to belief in the deity. Yes, the concept of sin in religions is a construct designed to enslave the mind. If I am too fearful of questioning the god of my culture because I don't want to sin, then I will never have the courage to think outside of that box. Fear. The concept of sin is the prison.

And finally, few freethinkers that I have spoken to even mention the concept of sin in their deconversion except for how their fear of sin kept them living in mental torture and discomfort for so long on their journey away from religion. Moving away from the concept of sin, freedom. 

  What do you think?

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You Might Also Enjoy These Posts:
 It Takes More Faith to be an Atheist
Atheists Cannot Experience True Joy
You Were Never a Real Believer
Your Life Has No Meaning
Everything Happens for a Reason

Secular Homeschooling on the Web

atheist homeschool secular


For those of you secular homeschooling parents who are feeling kind of isolated in this non-secular world, tune into this online resource called Secular Homeschooling on the Web. The online publication seeks to make it easier and more fun to locate secular homeschooling stories.

Kind of fun fact, one of my blog posts is included in this edition of the magazine. 

Check it out and tell me what you think because it's new! It's published with an app called Flipboard, which I don't even understand...but I think it's cool. lol.  

The new Secular Homeschooling on the Web mag is a continuously updated, easy-to-navigate, beautifully displayed collection of content from the web that I think you'll want to explore again and again. It's accessible from your favorite mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet as well as from any desktop.. And the best part? It's completely FREE!


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You Might Also Enjoy:
I Wish More Homeschoolers Were Secular
You Are Not Alone
Raising Atheist Children?

Friday, June 26, 2015

An Unexpected Benefit of Deconversion

atheist, deconversion
I've been doing some reading and research tonight for a project that I have started to work on, when a sudden thought came to me: my deconversion from religion actually effects my descendants! Being an open and determined atheist means that my children and my children's children and their children will not have their eyes closed by belief.

I'm absolutely thrilled knowing that my difficult deconversion has set up future generations to have freedom and open minds and most importantly, the absence of mythology that blocks up reason and logic. I am giving the beloved children of my descendants the freedom to choose what makes sense to them instead of having the burden of an inherited belief system. 

They won't know it. These beloved scions won't know that my husband and I have given them this gift. But that's OK, I don't need the recognition. I'm truly moved, though, knowing that our freethinking will positively effect the trajectory of those who come after us. I'm proud to be the transitional generation.

Additionally it makes me think about how essential the internet has been for so many voices to be out there, available for anyone to hear, so that anyone can explore outside-of-the-box thoughts and opinions...what a world where humans can finally learn more about lifestyles (and so many other things) that are outside of the majority.

Think about that! Have you ever thought of that?
What a gift to give to our future.
 

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Other posts you  might enjoy:

Why are there so Few Atheist Parenting Blogs?
I'm a Lover not a Fighter
Science is your God
First-Generation Atheist Parenting
I Guess I'm a Hypocrite

Thursday, June 25, 2015

You Take My Breath Away

the beauty of life, musings,
What takes your breath away?

Last month my daughter was on stage in a very dramatic moment of a scene when I realized that I had actually forgotten to breath! I was sitting up straight with a ridiculous smile on my face and I am sure I looked like a hunting dog...

I couldn't take my eyes off of her.

Similarly, she was recently in a local independent movie and, while watching her scene, I noticed that I was getting light-headed. I had simply forgotten to breath.

Sometimes, when John is looking into my eyes, forehead to forehead, I try to appear calm. But on the inside, I am overcome.

The love. It is so deep.
I've been a parent for over eighteen years now and you would think that I would be used to the overwhelming depth of it all...but I'm not. I'm still moved by the gentle breathing out, breathing in and I'm still filled with wonder at the variations of color of an eye. I'm still amazed at the depth and breadth of compassion I see in them. The depth of thought and understanding that a child displays still has the power to throw me for a loop.  My children. 


Are they perfect?  HELZ to the no.
But their intentions are good, their hearts are sweet, and their determination shows.


Just another sappy I love being a parent post...

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You Might Also Enjoy:
Heart Outside of my Body

Do You Know Who I Am?
One of my Worst Parenting Days: Making Mountains
A Letter to the Parents of a "Difficult" Child
Some Days Suck

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

OY!!! The NEA Has No Respect for Me

homeschooling
SO, apparently the NEA (National Education Association) has come out strongly against homeschooling in their 2014-2015 resolutions. I hope you take a moment and read what the NEA has decided is their public stance toward homeschooling:


Now the National Education Association describes their goals and missions as being one of providing public education for every child in their purview. Which makes me wonder why they have anything at all to say about homeschooling. But it's nice to know how unhappy the organization is toward homeschooling and scary to wonder who is listening to them.

The resolution states: Homeschooling programs based on parental 
 choice cannot provide the student with a comprehensive educational experience. 

THEY SAID THAT.
The unmitigated AUDACITY of this comment is what set me off on this rant to start with. The outright pomposity of the writing notwithstanding, I find it unbelievably conceited and uninformed of this organization to make a statement that is so very false when anyone can find opposing evidence so easily online. Study after study has pronounced homeschooling to be a successful and healthy way to educate our children.


Furthermore, I think it's just unkind and mean-spirited to specifically recommend disallowing homeschooling kids from participating in school activities. It's like saying You are either with or against us. We are immature about this. 

Isn't this kind of...small? Some children in homeschool families get sports, music, tutoring, etc from local schools, as they should! Can we talk about how my taxes support the schools in my district even though we don't get any services there. Without even mentioning my support of the school district, it just seems bullyish to deny our kids access to district activities.

Our family did approach our nearest high school a few years ago, hoping my daughter could participate in after school theater. Although the theater teacher was thrilled to have her there, the teacher ultimately, grudgingly told my daughter couldn't participate in school activities as  homeschooler. Allowing homeschool kids participate in school activities is already an issue dealt with differently from district to district.

The people who give bullies power, are those that stand by and let #bullying happen. #bethechangeThe NEA's position on and recommendation of a homeschooling parent being licensed or overseen by some authoritative body is, to me, another piece of evidence showing that the NEA has no idea what homeschooling is all about. It is not school at home. This lifestyle, homeschooling, is about teaching as they learn, following interests, creating our own unique educational experience for our kids, responding to our children's needs instantly. For some people, it is true, homeschooling is a rejection of public education; the NEA actually thinking that they should offer any guidelines for homeschoolers is the ultimate arrogance.

The idea that someone else should select the materials that we use in our home would push me right over the edge. Again, this is not school at home. I promise you, I would start operating under the table if the State Department of Education would assume to decide materials for my children. NO ONE has the right to tell me what to do. Again, this suggestion of the NEA's most resent resolution shows how little they understand what we are doing and why we are doing it.

I realize that this document that they released has no power, but some political powers might actually look to the NEA for advice regarding homeschooling in their state. In fact, it would seem to me that the failures of the schools in this country would make the word of the NEA no more than powerless drivel.

Regardless, Homeschoolers are not in the purview of the NEA.
And the NEA has no respect from me.
I know quite a few people who are in support of abolishing the public school system in its entirety for its failures and weaknesses and its abuses. I am not one of them; I am simply  a m u s e d  by their contempt.

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More Reasons to Homeschool...In the News
Homeschool Strategies
A Very Damaging List Against Homeschooling
Homeschoolers are Weird

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

RELAX...it's Just God!

atheist parenting, Wendy Thomas Russell, Relax...it's just god
Being a freethinking parent even ten years ago was such a different proposition. Books, public role models, and an openly secular vibe did not exist...anywhere! Those days were so different; what a difference a decade makes. We parents who worked so hard to find our way out way out of religion's grasp back in those days had very little published support. So atheist parent and blogger Wendy Russell Thomas did what so many of us wish we had done: she wrote the book that she would like to have read.

Wendy is the author of an eponymously named blog that I have read for several years now called Wendy Thomas Russell, Relax...It's Just God. Her comforting and informing voice hasn't been on her blog lately though because she has embarked on an exciting new adventure as an author of a book for first gen atheist parents, a book called Relax...it's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids about Religion When You're Not Religious.


Since Wendy and I are driving similar roads, writing and creating projects for secular parenting, it has been my pleasure to have some time in her busy life for a lovely chat about what is going on with her and what is meaningful for her. I'll pass that conversation on to you soon.

I'm reading RELAX... now and I
HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!
 

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Other posts you might enjoy:
It Takes More Faith to be an Atheist

Monday, June 22, 2015

Secular Parenting: Going to "Church"

secular parenting, SecularTv
I'm not going to kid you, I'm so thrilled with my new show The Secular Parents and I'm not going to pretend to be modest about it. I honestly feel like we (the cohosts, Be Asia, Rayven, and myself) are working hard to make the show relevant and interesting and useful. Your feedback would help, honestly!, but I'm proud of our learning curve.

Not only are we learning how to be hosts, we are also learning how to schedule guests, how to contact people to be on the show, how to prepare for a show, how to share the cohosting duties, how to manage the unexpected... We are also learning the technical side of the broadcast. We all find that part quite daunting, yet we have problem-solved some minor disasters!

10 year old Seth and Rayven
Tonight's show was unusual for me for...reasons. 
I am dealing with a quite severe nerve pinch in my lower back, with accompanying painful leg cramps; I'm taking a very strong painkiller and a strong muscle relaxer. Tonight I was pretty stoned during the broadcast. I couldn't think straight and I zoned out quite a bit. So much so, in fact, that when I went back to listen to it, I kept thinking I don't remember that part!  lol

14 year old John
But I consider tonight's broadcast a success! We talked to our kids about their experiences with church, religion, and the religious in this episode called TEC: Teens Encounter Church (Catholics might recognize the reference there). Our kids all had such interesting observations and thoughts on the matter. And the thing that I found the most interesting was their response to the question  
Do you think you could ever believe in a deity?  

Be Asia and 15 year old Essence
I'm not going to ruin it for you by telling you their answers, but I know that some very thoughtful parenting and some very thinking brains went into those answers.
Check it out.


The Secular Parents are planning on moving our live broadcast from our comfy Sunday evenings to Sunday Brunch format. We are hoping that that will be neat and will bring some energy to our show.  Here's a sneak peak at our new meme. It's not the final one because we recently asked Rayven to join us full time as a cohost (Woo hoo!) AND because the time is incorrect.  More on that when we officially announce our time change.

Have you listened to any of our broadcasts?
Your honest feedback is very welcome. We welcome opportunities to improve this project of ours.
In the meantime, we have some very exciting guests scheduled to be on the show...so we hope you stand by!

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Being Out in the South
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Why Compassion is not a Tactical Advantage
25 Ways to Pass "Love" and "Tolerance" on to your Kids