© Glendon Mellow, The Flying Trilobite

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(I just love that gif.)

L’Actualité received over 100 letters and emails—far more than usual—after their November 1 cover story “Growing Up Without God,” which featured an interview with the editor/co-author of Parenting Beyond Belief, one Dale McGowan. Senior writer Louise Gendron gathered and translated a sampling of the comments for me. “Remember that angry people write in far more often than happy ones,” she said. “It is clear from the sales numbers for this issue that interest was very, very high.” The book itself topped out at #285 on Amazon Canada.

The previous post can give you an indication of the tone of the article. Here’s a sampler of reader responses:

I find this guy interesting. He helps us to feel more accepted.

Faith is god-given. Children raised without god will always lack a certain life-dimension. It makes me very sad to think of his children.

The media are very good at brainwashing us to push their way of thinking on us. The last century has shown the fruits of falling away from religion, such as atheistic communism. Happily, Europe kept its faith as a barrier against those enemies.

Atheism is very bad for Québec. It will make us disappear into the English-speaking majority.

I found this article very interesting – I am a mother, trying to explain the world reasonably to my children, and this is helpful.

I am very sad for Dr. McGowan.

Dr. McGowan as a devout nonbeliever has the same narrow faith as some fanatic priest. The big mistake is to be convinced of your own ideas and to stop thinking about them.

I am an atheist and I feel comfortable among the 360 million Buddhists in the world who are also atheists.

Very good article – my great grandparents were Catholic, and I am an atheist.

Very nice article – I am a father of two-year-old who asks why the sun sets. This is a very difficult question to answer in a way that a two-year-old will understand!

Very interesting article – it follows the same philosophy as “Spirituality without God” by Möller de la Rouvière.

I am writing from prison where I am serving time for killing someone. Say hello to Dr. McGowan from me. I don’t understand or have knowledge to sort out whether God exists, but I am open to all ways of thinking. I chose to believe in God because it works for me. My life was a fiasco, a complete mess, and religion helped me sort it out. But I keep thinking, and who knows about what I will believe tomorrow?

The title of McGowan’s book should have been “How to Fool Your Kids.”

I want my tax money devoted to ethics in schools. I will keep that money to go toward religious education.

I don’t want to spoil Dr. McGowan’s party, but I am a Catholic whose husband died two years ago, and I am still struggling to find a way to explain it to our two young children. It is not easy for people of faith to provide answers either.

I was an atheist, and though now outside of all churches, I am a believer.

Cancel my subscription!

I am very sad for all those kids that this man’s non-beliefs will spoil things for them. This man and his bullshit are going to do a lot of harm.

Dr McGowan is too self-confident. I think his knowledge of religion dates from the Stone Age.

That was absolutely fascinating. Another book should be developed for what to tell your teenagers as they reach more advanced levels of questioning.

Your article made me fall off my chair! Think about Pascal’s wisdom when he wrote, [Pascal quotation.]

To the Editor in Chief – who let pass this terrible article?

I am a believer who found this article completely fascinating! You should now allow a believer to answer it.

Dale McGowan makes me think of Dale Carnegie. He will be a millionnaire with his ideas!

Reason justified terrible crimes in the 20th century. [Chesterton quotation. Plato quotation. Kant quotation.]

Dr. McGowan provides very satisfying answers regarding war and suffering and death. What would he answer about the origin of life, the existence of beauty, and generosity? For those he has no answers.

This is crap. I’m fed up with you using my money to bury me in shit. Cancel my subscription.

There are no wars, no hatred, no problems in the world, Dr. McGowan. Everything is just wonderful in the world, so we apparently do not need religion. Isn’t that nice.

I am a teacher in Senegal Africa. I fell off my chair, astonished at your article about children with no religion. In my classroom of 72 kids, I have Muslims and Christians, and it is out of the question to teach each one their religion without a separate teacher for each. I am astonished to find that there are people who don’t believe and are parents!

I am happy to see that I am not the only one to think like that. My daughter now has a child of her own and has decided to raise him without religion, and I am very happy about it.

I taught ethics in public school and let me tell you: It is so much easier to do without the idea of god.


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This was written on Thursday, 08. November 2007 at 21:06 and was filed under belief and believers, critical thinking, nonbelief and nonbelievers, Parenting, PBB, schools. You can keep up with the comments to this article by using the RSS-Feed.

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Comments »

  1. The prisoner and the African teacher are both scary. The prisoner for obvious reasons. The teacher – I just feel teachers should know better. But, then again, I am naive about such things.

    And to be compared to Dale Carnegie – Aren’t you just waiting for the money to roll in?

    I am not sad for you or your children. Au contraire (keeping with the theme), I wish I could move in with y’all.

    Comment: Kshack536 – 08. November 2007 @ 10:05 pm

  2. We’d be happy to have you move in, but the spare bedroom is where we keep all the money. 🙂

    Comment: Dale – 09. November 2007 @ 8:02 am

  3. It was a very good article and I think that it resonated with people here a lot more than those letters let on. In Quebec, about 45% of all couples are unmarried (and as a funny aside, it has meant a big adjustment for the catholic church: many of these unmarried couples still wish to baptize their children for tradition’s sake so the priests now accept to perform baptisms on children born ‘out of wedlock’. How shocking – they are desperate for the cash that the baptisms bring).

    Still, we are in the midst of a big debate here concerning ways to accomodate other religions in our society and there has been a lot of hostility towards the ‘others’, making many people feel that the catholic religion is part of our identity, a way to distinguish between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

    Plus, a big change is coming to schools next year: instead of offering the choice of ‘religious (catholic) education’ or ‘morals’, all schools will now have a class on history of religions coupled with an ethics course. it’s got people talking, once again mostly about what part of Quebec’s identity is linked to religion…

    Comment: Lobelia – 09. November 2007 @ 11:24 am

  4. Yes, I’ve been following the school transition very carefully. Most fascinating of all is that interweaving of cultural identity, language, and religion as it unfolds in Quebec.

    Comment: Dale – 09. November 2007 @ 12:17 pm

  5. Well, better than having generated zero response, is my philosophy.

    I’m surprised your website has not generated hostile views. You’re participating in a big way in one of the most controversial topics ever — religion. Good for you for having the spine to advocate the way you are.

    I am not atheist, but I’m not one of those “Christians” who hates or judges others. They are walking oxymorons.

    Comment: ybonesy – 09. November 2007 @ 1:25 pm

  6. Oh I quite agree. The reader response doesn’t trouble me a bit, especially since it’s the same old stuff.

    And yes, I continue in baffled gratitude that the website doesn’t draw more hostility, even after several high-profile media moments. My approach is more conciliatory than many, but that doesn’t usually keep the “walking oxymorons” from firing away. And I’m very glad for the presence of representatives such as yourself from the Church of Love! XOXO

    Comment: Dale – 09. November 2007 @ 3:31 pm

  7. Fascinating responses-I’m sad for them that they feel sad for you. The response that made me laugh the most had to be this one:
    “This is crap. I’m fed up with you using my money to bury me in shit. Cancel my subscription.”
    His life must suck.

    Comment: matsonwaggs – 10. November 2007 @ 1:17 pm

  8. That’s my favorite too — in part because I can still hear Louise reading it to me over the phone in her elegant French-accented English.

    Comment: Dale – 10. November 2007 @ 2:07 pm

  9. Love you Dale.

    Comment: leslie – 10. November 2007 @ 10:18 pm

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