Our press release says: “How does the raising of upstanding, moral children work without prayers at mealtimes and morality lessons at Sunday school? Quite well, it seems. Far from being dysfunctional, nihilistic and rudderless without the security and rectitude of religion, secular households provide a sound and solid foundation for children, according to Vern Bengston, a USC professor of gerontology and sociology. Bergston;s studies show that high levels of family solidarity and emotional closeness between parents and nonreligious youth, and strong ethical standards and moral values that had been clearly articulated as they were imparted to the next generation. “Many nonreligious parents were more coherent and passionate about their ethical principles than some of the ‘religious’ parents in our study,” Bengston told me. “The vast majority appeared to live goal-filled lives characterized by moral direction and sense of life having a purpose.
Sociologist Phil Zuckerman from Pitzer College agrees, Secular parent are more likely to teach their children “rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independence of thought, avoidance of corporal punishment, a spirit of “questioning everything” and, far above all, empathy. He adds: “Studies have found that secular teenagers are far less likely to care what the “cool kids” think, or express a need to fit in with them, than their religious peers. When these teens mature into “godless” adults, they exhibit less racism than their religious counterparts, according to a 2010 Duke University study. Many psychological studies show that secular grownups tend to be less vengeful, less nationalistic, less militaristic, less authoritarian and more tolerant, on average, than religious adults.”
Gleason says that the spread of atheism is rising, and more parents are taking a secular approach in raising their children. “Non-religious Americans are a growing segment in America, now standing at 24% of all Americans, 35% for Millennials.” Gleason adds “Many non-believers and the ‘nones’, those who have no religious affiliation, can freely discuss religious and political issues at the Backyard Skeptics’ monthly meetings. The Meetup group is now eleven years old and has over 1500 members, the largest secular group in Orange County. They have just finished their annual conference called the Freethought Alliance conference on April 30th.