When a child of atheists embraces faith

Looking back, we realised we had regularly discussed our differing beliefs. Our daughter brought us Genesis. We gave her the Michael Bay-friendly Big Bang. She brought us the Nativity and peace and goodwill at Christmas. We gave her family, friends and good food. She brought us the crucifixion. We gave her the Easter Bunny. She brought us heaven, god and an afterlife. We gave her 21st-century life and a brief future as worm fodder.

After all that – and in spite of our gentle antipathy to god and creation – she still had the courage of her convictions to say to both of us, to our faces and again in front of the priest, that our world view isn’t enough for her. She believes. She wants to be baptised and she wants to be Catholic.

For me, it means regular trips to the presbytery for extra “Catholic lessons”. It means going to church for family mass on Sundays and not knowing when to sit or stand; and hoping that the priest doesn’t come at me with the microphone when he delivers his Jerry Springer-style sermon (he probably won’t).

It means a little extra effort on my part and no small amount of frustration for my wife, who tries – and often fails – to understand the attraction of all this. But it means everything to my daughter.