Friday, December 12, 2008

Atheist daughter, Reverend mother

Story from the (ahem) Mail about an atheist daughter whose mum has just been ordained here in Somerset, and how she feels about it all. It's a very honest piece, and fascinating to read about her reactions, and how they deal with having their children at a church school, after moving back to the UK from France:

In September, they started at a Church of England school in Cornwall. I had initially liked the fact that French state schools are completely secular, but, as the years went by, I found myself rather jealous of friends whose children were in Nativity plays.

Religion was never mentioned at school, to the point where I began to notice the children taking their cue from us, their atheist parents, and declaring that 'God doesn't exist'. Following my gentle reminders that, 'You can believe whatever you like. Lots of people believe in him', they'd exclaim, 'but they're wrong, aren't they, Mum?'

St Francis, the primary school the children go to now, has made me question all my previous assumptions. I ticked the 'no religion' box on every form we were given, but they let us in anyway. And the school felt like the right environment from the moment we walked through the door.

At school, the children have absorbed the fact that they can believe whatever they want to believe. Seb, my second son, currently has a 'God' who has a lot in common with Superman, but with the added power of invisibility.

Gabe, the eldest, is not interested, but is more tolerant than he used to be. Now that I am older and less trenchant, and now that we have a vicar in the family, I can see a grounding in religion as a positive thing.

Apart from anything else, they will know the Bible stories that will help them appreciate their literary and artistic heritage. How do you read Milton (or even Dan Brown), or understand the Sistine Chapel, unless you have an idea of what is behind it? Seb is going to be in a Nativity play this year, and I have the camera ready.

Ht Madpriest, of all people. The piece is also encouraging in that here are two people in the same family, with opposite religious viewpoints, who haven't let it come between them.

I'm also wondering whether to copy this from his blog, as it's very funny and was written by the patients themselves, but was a tad controversial at the time.


  1. This is typical mad humour. The sort of thing that gets you through the day on the ward. The only people you are going to offend are the paranoid schizophrenics and let's face it, pretty much everything offends them.