26 August 2010

Deus ex machina

My 'Get out of hell free' card
On our way to the supermarket today, Mitchell pointed to the epitome of architectural incongruity that is the St John the Baptist Catholic church in Woy Woy.
"What's that?" he asked.
Suddenly I was flung headlong into my first Atheist Parenting Challenge; something I knew was going to happen eventually, and for me, unchartered territory.
At around Mitchell's age, I started attending a Presbyterian pre-school and Sunday school, and was introduced to God and the Bible in a gentle, unassuming way. With adult hindsight, I'm sure this had more to do with a desire for peace and quiet at home on the part of my parents, rather than any kind of religious conviction. Nevertheless, it left me without a precedent for answering any questions of a churchy kind from my own offspring. I decided to keep it simple and see where the conversation led.
"That's a church", I offered plainly.
"What do churches do?" Mitch asked curiously.*
"Um... a church is a place where people go to talk about God," I replied, hoping it was satisfactory.
"Are there machines in there?" he asked, with growing enthusiasm.
And that was the end of that. No machines, apparently, equals no interest. If things stay that way, this atheist parenting business is going to be a cinch.

* There are SO many possible answers to this question.


  1. I'm SO glad he didn't ask "Is there wine in there?".

  2. So many possible answers to 'are there machines in there?' too.... I have enjoyed when Ivy asked 'who is God?' getting to use the answer 'He's Nanna's imaginary friend,' though.