Our Choice

When we had our daughter we decided that we wouldn't have her baptized into any religion.  I was christened into the Church of England and my husband was raised Roman Catholic.  Neither of us are churchgoers nor supporters of organised religion at all now.  We decided that we would let our daughter decide for herself what she wanted to believe when she was old enough.

Interestingly, although I don't regret my decision, my daughter has said that when she was smaller (say around 8 or 9) she felt left out among her friends who all knew the answer to the question "What religion are you?".  Most of them were Muslim or Christian.  My daughter had no answer and she felt odd about it then. 

The question of religion really raised its head when we were looking for a secondary school for her in London when she was 11.  All the decent non-feepaying schools were church-based but there was no way of getting her into a church school of any kind without some proof that she had attended church regularly.  Many parents resorted to having priests and Imams falsify letters to get their children into the school of their choice, but I decided not to go that route for what I feel are obvious reasons.

Anyway, eventually we left England and came to Ireland.  My daughter now goes to an all-girls Catholic Convent school.  Religion is taught as a subject like history or geography and all faiths are covered.  She has never been pressured to go to church, nor to take part in any rituals.  Nor was any issue made of the fact that she had not been baptized, nor even set foot inside a church.   

I asked her recently (she is now nearly 16) how she felt being practically the odd one out of her whole year, i.e. the only non-Catholic.  She said she is quite happy, enjoys religion as a taught subject and has no regrets about not being baptized or not having attended church.  She is well-balanced, good hearted and kind with a very strong sense of morality. 

Would I change the way I handled this issue if I could go back in time?  No,  I don't believe I would.  When I see the mess of the church in this country I certainly don't regret having kept my daughter out of it.  There is a sense of community here which comes with church membership and I do sometimes feel that is missing for all of us.  But there are other ways of being part of the community without the church. 

womaninbliss womaninbliss
51-55, F
3 Responses Feb 9, 2010

I never had that problem with my son , he has never been to church in his life, except for cultural visits.
My view of religion is that they are another form of power and politics. You only have to consider how many millions of people have been killed and tortured in the name of religion. That is all religions

Cheers to you.

Thanks Destry. In the UK we lived in a very mixed environment - there were families from just about every nationality, religion and race you could imagine. It was easier to remain independent and to stand alone in that environment. In Ireland it's not really an issue for us as we came here when my daughter was already grown ... if she had been a lot smaller and the only one not going through communion and confirmation (which are still HUGE rituals here) it might have felt a little different for us all and pressures may have been greater.