'My daughter is a Christian and I'm not.' Atheist mom shares her story
A 'committed atheist' mother has shared about her positive experience of sending her child to a Christian school, where her daughter could challenge the 'atheist indoctrination' from her mother.
Siobhan O'Neil, who describes herself and husband Ian as 'happy atheists', wrote her story for The Independent. She describes their disposition towards religion: 'some strong negative feelings regarding organised religions, coupled with a cheery tolerance of people with faith'.
Now though, her twelve-year-old daughter has 'increasingly embraced religion' through attending a Church of England primary and secondary schools.
When deciding where to first send her daughter for education, O'Neil, baptised as a Catholic, said she had 'seen enough Catholicism to know I didn't want that for her'. Though they both feared the 'religious indoctrination of our four-year-old', they knew had also both grown up at CofE schools and 'survived the experience sans faith'.
Since joining a CofE primary school, and then getting into a CofE secondary school, O'Neil writes that her daughter Una 'loves it. She gets a lot out of her faith and the community she's joined'.
She adds: 'we've been clear that the choice is hers to find her own way, and that we will support her in that...We've felt our role is to open them up to opportunities and experiences so they can learn for themselves what they like, what they're good at and where they fit'.
Now Una is soon to be baptised. The increased 'progressively weird' immersion into the Christian world is unexpected for the parents, and they haven't changed their views, but O'Neil says she simply has 'Una's best interests at heart'.
She quotes a Muslim friend of hers who said: 'If a child wanted to explore a religion other than their own I don't know too many families who would support that.'
O'Neil concludes: 'Since childhood indoctrination is one of the things I like least about religion, I'm proud of Una for challenging my own atheist indoctrination of her.'