Atheists: Less Crime, Less Vengeance, Less Racism

Check out this article in the LA Times about Secular Family Values and how great they are. It’s a few months old, but worth reading and relevant to many conversations held here. The conclusion will reassure many MSP readers:

Being a secular parent and something of an expert on secular culture, I know well the angst many secular Americans experience when they can’t help but wonder: Could I possibly be making a mistake by raising my children without religion? The unequivocal answer is no. Children raised without religion have no shortage of positive traits and virtues, and they ought to be warmly welcomed as a growing American demographic.

8 thoughts on “Atheists: Less Crime, Less Vengeance, Less Racism

  1. I’ve raised 3 kids in a completely secular home. We approached their moral education using what boils down to The Golden Rule. We invited them — encouraged them — to learn about religion from their friends’ families. And we expected them to be respectful of those beliefs.

    Every one of my kids and the secular partners they’ve made their lives with are fine, productive, constructive members of society. My single grandchild who is a third generation non-believer appears to be headed in the same direction as a healthy, happy, compassionate human being.

    I don’t get the anxiety about not being able to raise kids outside of some conventional religion.

  2. @1: Awesome! That’s really cool that your experience backs up the article and vice versa.

    Though I”m a bit confused by this:

    I don’t get the anxiety about not being able to raise kids outside of some conventional religion.

    If someone was unable to raise kids outside of conventional religion–in other words, if they had to give their kids a religion–you wouldn’t understand why that made them unhappy and anxious?

    That’s what your statement actually says. Do you mean something else?

  3. No, I mean quite the opposite.

    I have heard many people who are walking away from religion express that they won’t be able to raise their kids without religion as their backup partner in parenting. But I think that’s an unnecessary anxiety. I understand that they appreciate where their own values came from but I think they should push through their discomfort about having to come up with their own resources and rely on the authenticity of core values and their kids natural empathy.

    It works and it’s not all that difficult if you believe and live what you’re trying to inculcate.

    IF someone could force a non-believing parent to give their kids a religious education that certainly would be an awful situation. And I understand that there are marriages where a believing spouse tries to get a non-believing other to keep going through the motions and keep their own views from their kids. I think that’s a form of abuse (to both the non-believing spouse AND the kids). I’m not referring to that situation if that’s where you thought I was going.

  4. No, I mean quite the opposite.

    OK, good. Thanks for clarifying. That makes more sense.

    I think that’s a form of abuse (to both the non-believing spouse AND the kids). I’m not referring to that situation if that’s where you thought I was going.

    I paraphrased your final comment not because it’s what I thought you meant but because, given how thoroughly it contracted what preceded it, I was pretty sure it wasn’t what you meant at all, and I wanted to make the source of the confusion clear.

  5. Very cool!

    The CoJCoL-dS teaches so many values that are the opposite of what I want my kids to learn (conformity, unquestioning obedience, sexism, shame regarding sexuality, etc.) that it always struck me as odd when exmos would claim that one of the positives about the church is that it teaches kids morals…

    That said, I admit I sometimes worry that maybe I should have done more to give my kids formal instructions on ethics. OTOH, I sometimes hear them discussing ethics among themselves, such as whether a given character was being selfish. So maybe the informal system isn’t so bad.

    With respect to that taboo subject of sex, I’ve read them It’s Perfectly Normal — to ensure that they get age-appropriate, fact-based, shame-free information about sex.

    Now, the unfolding Duggar scandal is making me feel like I should go over the parts about consent with them again, especially since we’ll be visiting family (including young cousins). I don’t want to be paranoid — I expect that they understand and there won’t be any problems — but I want to be sure there’s no confusion about boundaries.

  6. The thing is, parents and talk and talk and talk about values and morality but it’s what they see in practice that really influences them. That’s the encouraging and the scary truth.

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