Prayer Robot & Atheist Books for Kids

At first I was amused that an Iranian teacher, Akbar Rezaeie built a robot to teach prayer mostly because he applied “some mechanical modifications such as adding two extra engines…to let the robot perform praying movements, such as prostration, more easily.” I figured this would probably be the first robot to rebel once Skynet takes over out of sheer humiliation of being altered for prayer.

However, now I feel bad for the kids who are introduced to the robot because, as Akbar says:

As you see the children’s reaction in their faces, you realize how interesting it is to them to see how the science of robotics has been beautifully used for a religious purpose and I am sure it will be greatly effective in teaching them how to pray.

This got me thinking about atheist resources for parents. A quick google search yielded links to a few sites:

From the recommendations on these sites, I thought the following 5 books looked promising (though I haven’t read any of them):

Parenting Beyond Belief by Dale McGowan – not a children’s book but a guide on how to raise freethinking children. Readers on Goodreads have rated it at 4/5 stars with over 800 ratings. Here is the book description that appears on Goodreads, Amazon & Chapters:

With advice from educators, doctors, psychologists, and philosophers as well as wisdom from everyday parents, the book offers tips and insights on a variety of topics, from “mixed marriages” to coping with death and loss, and from morality and ethics to dealing with holidays. Sensitive and timely, “Parenting Beyond Belief” features reflections from such freethinkers as Mark Twain, Richard Dawkins, Bertrand Russell, and wellness guru Dr. Don Ardell that will empower every parent to raise both caring and independent children without constraints

One World, Many Beliefs: A Family Book for Nonbelievers and their Children by Kelly Mochel. This book describes various religious beliefs as well as non belief. I like the idea that this book puts forward because I’ve always thought it is important to be exposed to other people’s beliefs and to understand world cultures and religions. The book’s description:

The book’s main character narrates as children are guided through a short introduction to three world religions, the concept of afterlife, and on to the character’s parents’ nonbelief/atheism. Religion or belief/nonbelief should never be inherited – the takeaway message is that everyone should educate themselves and form their own opinions whilst respecting those of others

Octavia Boone’s Big Questions about Life, the Universe and Everything by Rebecca Rupp. This seems like a good young adult book that allows its readers to explore different perspectives:

Octavia has much bigger questions on her mind: Why do bad things happen, like Hurricane Katrina and 9/11? What is the meaning of life? Is there a God? Octavia’s artist father, Boone, is convinced that Henry David Thoreau holds the key. Meanwhile, her mother, Ray, has always been seeking the larger meaning of life—until now. Not only have Octavia’s parents come up with different answers to the big questions, but their answers are threatening to tear her family apart. Could it be that some questions are too big to have just one answer?

Just Pretend: A Freethought Book for Children by Dan Barker (of FFRF fame and author of Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists) also wrote a children’s book that helps children examine myths like Santa Claus and compare them with ideas like the existence of God and

….encourages the child to make his or her own decisions about religion, and champions skepticism, atheism, and informed doubt.

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins. I wasn’t at first going to include Richard Dawkins’s book about appreciating the wonder of the real world and teaching children how to recognize that something is true, because I saw it more as a science book. However, I then came upon an article on The Friendly Atheist about how religious parents refused to allow their son to share the book with his younger brother so, I figured it must be a good book for atheist children if religious parents so feared it.

That’s my list! Again, I haven’t read these books but if anyone has or if you have your own list of books for atheist kids, please share in the comments.

Canadian AA Without Religion

Joe C a commenter on Diana’s post “Alcoholics Anonymous, Without the Religion – NYTimes.com” provided information on Canadian AA meetings for agnostics and atheists: AA Agnostica: a “space for AA agnostics, atheists and freethinkers worldwide.” AA Toronto Agnostic: a “site for agnostics, atheists and free thinkers in Alcoholics Anonymous in the … Continue reading

The Christian Re-write of Mediaeval History

It seems that a few years ago a couple of authors (Jaki, Stark) released books declaring that Christianity gave rise to modern science and medicine via the dedicated work of monks (Bacon, Aquinus) during the Middle Ages. This certainly wasn’t the history I was taught. I learned that the ancients, … Continue reading

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