Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting beyond Belief

Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting beyond Belief

Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting beyond Belief

Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting beyond Belief


Praised by Newsweek as "a compelling read" and Library Journal as "accessible and down-to-earth," Dale McGowan's Parenting Beyond Belief offered freethinking parents everywhere a compassionate introduction to raising caring, ethical children without religious guidance. Now, for the more than 40 million people in the United States who identify themselves asnonreligious, Raising Freethinkers offers solutions to the unique challenges secular parents face and provides specific answers to common questions, as well as over 100 activities for both parents and their children. This book covers every important topic nonreligious parents need to know to help their children with their own moral and intellectual development, including advice on religious-extended-family issues, death and life, secular celebrations, wondering and questioning, andmore.

Complete with reviews of books, DVDs, curricula, educational toys, and online resources relevant to each chapter topic, Raising Freethinkers helps parents raise their children with confidence.


In April 2007, Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion was released. The first comprehensive book for nonreligious parents, PBB laid out a basic philosophy for nonreligious parenting in a wide variety of voices. The book fulfilled the promise of its preface to support and encourage nonreligious parents, but (also as promised) included relatively little in the way of practical advice.

The sound you heard upon opening this book was the other shoe dropping. Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief is just that—a practical guide. You’ll find ideas and ponderings in these pages, but also specific answers to common questions and hundreds of activities and resources to make those ideas come alive.

Along the way we will also address some of the larger questions about nonreligious parenting that have surfaced since the release of PBB, including the first and foremost: What exactly is nonreligious parenting?

Vive la Difference—and the Common Ground

Not long after the release of Parenting Beyond Belief, I received an email from a liberal Christian. She was a regular reader of my secular parenting blog, The Meming of Life, and she’d had it with me.

Why, she asked, do I draw a line between “religious parenting” and “nonreligious parenting”? Isn’t the kind of parenting I advocate—unbounded questioning, a scientifically informed, evidence-based worldview, questioning of authority, rejecting the notion of “sinful thoughts,” developing moral judgment instead of simple rule following—isn’t all that just “good parenting”? Am I really saying that religious parents can’t do these things?

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