christian-assembli_1556235cRecently, some ‘Pagans’, responding to an old post of mine (follow the link) did a bit of belated jumping up and down. I leave aside the ignorant response that I know nothing of their beliefs, because it is true and untrue. “Paganism’ is a mish-mash, and what one set of folks think they mean by it isn’t what another set say they mean. So, not knowing the women concerned from Eve, I’ve no idea what each of them personally means, but I have had contact with a group of Pagans, and to say it was not a pleasant experience would be under-selling it by a good way. I don’t say these women are like the lot with whom I have had dealings, but in what I write, I can comment only on the shower with whom my family has had dealings.

Inter alia they were rather of the opinion that Christians indoctrinated their children and gor a bit cross if they deviated from what they were taught. Well, again, this may reflect the personal experience of these women, but it is not one I have encountered in more than sixty years of church-going, and bringing up five children, where (follow the link) as I have described, two of my lads stayed with my own church, the eldest lass went Anglican, the youngest lad went very Anglican (by which I mean he occasionally goes to church if it is Christmas, Easter or a wedding or funeral), and the youngest lass, after her own encounter with paganism, goes nowhere outside her bedroom on a Sunday morning.

Now, had we never taken them to Church, would any of them have gone? Who knows?  Were we indoctrinating them? No. Mrs S and I believe Christ’s message, and wanting, as all parents do, the best for their children, we took them off to church. That was no more indoctrinating them than teaching them science at school intdoctrinated them into the theory of evolution; it taught them what the Christian faith was about, and that, amongst other things, it was about an active choice to come to Jesus – or not.

At school the children were given a lot of information about other ‘belief systems’, including humanism and paganism. But what they were not given, was any systematic instruction in what it meant to live a life in any one system. That was the job of Mrs S and myself, and they came with us until they were old enough to make a choice. When they made that choice it was an informed one. Four chose baptism in our way, but two subsequently decided that they preferred another style of worship; they went with our blessing, as indeed did the youngest lass, who decided that none of it was for her.

I am assuming, from what one of the pagans said about children, that she brings her bairns up according to her beliefs. That is good. I hope that if some of them decide to become Christians she will respect their choice as we did the choices of our children. No doubt some folk indoctrinate their children, but I’ve equally little doubt that most such children have in them enough of their parents to survive them – and their attempts to persuade them. I’d simply add, however, that every Christian school I know is oversubscribed – and that isn’t a sign of the fervency of the faith of the parents.