1 of 2
1
Child Baptism - Should I Go?
Posted: 16 December 2008 05:39 PM   [ Ignore ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2008-07-28

Hello all - I did a quick search and didn’t see a topic devoted to this, so here goes…

I’m not sure this will happen, but I believe a friend may ask me to a child’s baptism in the near future. I don’t know if my friend believes in all the tenets of the church (more liberal, mostly bible based), some of them, or which are discarded. I do know that I would not be comfortable with this aspect of my friend’s child rearing.

It also brings to light a conversation we had earlier this year where I said that I had to stop hanging out with some of my Xian friends due to my non-belief (I’m a soft agnostic). It was my choice because I couldn’t deal with their viewpoints and that they’re indoctrinating their children. I don’t agree with indoctrination of one religion and not giving a child a real choice or educating them about *everything* that’s out there and letting them decide for themselves. My friend knows I don’t believe in anything and that I’m still a bit angry about being indoctrinated for years myself, and expressed concern that I would drop a friendship based on this.

Is there a way to politely decline (if I’m invited) without making anyone feel badly? I know I won’t feel like a bad friend if I don’t go - I don’t support it, so going is like lying to them. I don’t know how my friend and family would feel. And I know if the religious teaching of the child is continued that I can’t support that either.

This really sucks. :(

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 December 2008 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4444
Joined  2008-08-14

You’re right it does suck.Be true to your values,or suck it up and go.After all there is no reverse blasphemy.You being there isn’t going to harm you,or lessen your spirit.Just quietly stand there,and think to yourself,what a sham!
I won’t take part in church oriented funerals or weddings or baptisms.I won’t enter a church myself.But there are always the secular parts of these rites…ie the wake or the reception.Good times too,usually.
As for a baptism,who knows,they already had the shower.Who are you insulting-the baby?No.The parents-maybe,just tell ‘em you don’t want to take part in ancient rituals that you don’t believe in.Give them an envelope with some dough,and your best wishes.They’ll understand if they are your friends.

You have to break the ice about your feelings towards religion.I did awhile ago,now it’s easy for me.My mother,who’s a christian,knows I wont be going to any church to say goodbye to her.She understands,I told her,what will you care,you’ll be dead.It was harder when her mother died,my grandma,I wouldn’t go.They wanted me to be a pall-bearer too.I refused.There was no big stink.Afterward,I spent time with my family,and we mourned and celebrated at the wake.
Again though,go to these functions if you feel obligated.Some people could get very frazzled over it.It might not be worth a friendship,to skip out on something that is totally meaningless.After all-it means something to your friends.

[ Edited: 16 December 2008 06:32 PM by VYAZMA ]
 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 December 2008 06:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2008-07-28

Since it’s mostly looming in the future, I am fretting too far in advance, I think. But I really don’t think I could go if asked. My friend knows I don’t believe and don’t go to church anymore (other than a funeral or wedding now and again). I just never gave a lot of thought about a baby entering the picture and religion being a possible issue as a result. I didn’t think religion was that important to her and am not even sure what she believes since we don’t discuss her beliefs in depth. She’s aware of how I feel about religion, so might not invite me anyway.

This also makes me more aware of my grand-nephew and what my sister is teaching him at her local church. And my other friends who have kids who go to church and are being indoctrinated. It wrenches my guts to think that innocent children would learn about a system that says they are flawed and a sinner who deserves hell just by being born. (Depending upon what beliefs are being taught, of course.)

We’ll see what happens. Thanks for the thoughts and suggestions!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 December 2008 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

I’m a strong atheist, and most of my friends know this.  However, I’ve been invited to weddings of their children, funerals, etc.  In fact, I gave the eulogy at the memorial service for my closest friend, who happened to be a mild christian.  I’m always willing to go even though I think the whole religious thing is dumb.  However, I respect my friends.  I don’t give a damn about all the religious crap, but I feel I have to support my friends.  Going is a demonstration of one’s caring for the friend, not going is not a put-down to the religion, but to the friend. 

Just because you still have anger issues with the churches, don’t take it out on your friends.  Going to the baptism doesn’t mean you are supporting the church or religion, just that you care for you friend.  If you are really pissed at the church, while you are sitting in a pew, you can take out the bible, hymnal, or prayer book from the rack in front of you, and surreptitiously stick a few pages together with nasal mucus.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2008 01:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  23
Joined  2008-12-01

Bittersweet,

The action of not going sounds a bit fanatical!  Not clear what your moral and belief systems are? Soft agnostic?

Normally is it he hardcore religious nutcases that seclude themselves for the rest society and then end up committing some stupid violent act.

I guess it is possible to take atheism to the same level of nuttiness.

Where will this action of not taking part lead to?  Will to start to avoid weddings and funerals? 

Active engagement with a good open dialog is the best way forward. 

As long as your friend knows you are their because of your friendship and that you are a soft agnostic (or hardcore something else) it should be OK.  You have to accept your friends and they have to accept you.  It is lack of tolerance that make the religious nutcases so scary!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2008 01:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7664
Joined  2008-04-11

Not going because you don’t share their beliefs makes you no different than evangelicals who won’t set foot in a catholic church, jewish synagogue, temple etc, because they are all going to burn in hell. When I am invited to a baptism, wedding, funeral etc, I am there as a friend, not to espouse my beliefs upon them and to enlighten them in the way of truth and rational thinking. I go and have a good time, and I am happy for them, or supportive as the event dictates. It is about them, not about you, and this is not an appropriate venue if you want to continue to have ANY friends.

 Signature 

Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2008 06:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2008-07-28

Ah, perspective is good. As is, apparently, a kick in the ass. This is all helpful. I didn’t realize I was twisting this up and making it about me so much. I do love and support my friend in other aspects, so I will try to get unbent about this. Love the mucus suggestion, but I’d probably not go that far!

The anger isn’t always this strong, but when it comes to kids, it’s hard to imagine yet another little one being taught superstition of one type or another. I try not to participate in that with my niece, nephew and grand-nephew.

Again, thanks for the perspective. smile

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2008 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4071
Joined  2006-11-28

I solidly second Occam, TomTom, and Asanta. I a “hard agnostic” if you like, but I don’t think the battle against religious ideas should require cutting ties with the religious or avoiding social occassions with a religious theme.

 Signature 

The SkeptVet
The SkeptVet Blog
Militant Agnostic: I don’t know, and neither do you!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2008 07:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15354
Joined  2006-02-14
mckenzievmd - 17 December 2008 07:42 AM

I solidly second Occam, TomTom, and Asanta. I a “hard agnostic” if you like, but I don’t think the battle against religious ideas should require cutting ties with the religious or avoiding social occassions with a religious theme.

... particularly if they already know that you do not share their religious views.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2008 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  350
Joined  2008-12-11

I too am a strong atheist sometimes invited to friends’ or family’s religious events.

I usually dread them, but am always relieved afterward.  They’re boringly long, and are usually more about the ritual itself instead of about the friend or relative.  Yet they’re occasionally interesting as a soc-anthro field trip.  Most attendees are not very religious themselves, and are just going through the motions, and aren’t theistic ideologues.  We freethinkers may know more about the roots of their religion than they do.

I’ve chosen to go to one kind of everyday religious service at least once, when I’m invited, to learn more about religious culture.  I’ve yet to find a reason to go back, so I’ve always declined second invitations.

Would I go to a ritual circumcision, which inflicts needless physical harm on a child?  At least once, to see what it’s like in person.

On the other hand, I’d also like someday to try hunting, which inflicts delicious physical harm on an animal.

[ Edited: 17 December 2008 11:32 AM by josh_karpf ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2008 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1995
Joined  2008-09-18

I think you’re doing the calculation in intellectual terms, not emotional terms. The important thing about these rituals is that attending them demonstrates emotional attachment. Your friend is not asking you to validate their beliefs—the invitation would be an opportunity to demonstrate by your attendance that you are devoted to your friend and place that friendship above issues of personal belief.

Here’s another way of putting it:

Would you refuse to attend the baptism if your friend were of the opposite political party?
What if your friend worked for a competitor of your employee?
What if your friend rooted for a football team opposed to your own?

And when the priest finishes and the group says, “Amen”, go ahead and join in. It’s primary meaning is, “I’m with you as a friend” not “I accept your beliefs”.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2008 02:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  350
Joined  2008-12-11

I see a somewhat related discussion, on whether an atheist should attend church with his in-law’s family, at:

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/3538/P30/

with some good feedback and a pleasant, manageable resolution.

Is there an discussion in these forums about how secularists should cope with even “just” culturally religious weddings, and/or the rearing of their own children?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 December 2008 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2457
Joined  2008-06-03

I’m honored to attend ceremonies for various friends, and allow my child to attend holidays and social events of many different religions. I’m showing my support for our friendship, and not my acceptance of their belief. I’d have missed the weddings of all my dear friends, and a couple of funerals as well, if I objected.

And my son is learning so much about varied cultures. He’s been to the Diwali festival of lights, Purim carnivals, and this year in 2nd grade he - voluntarily and his own idea - gave up lunches to sit in the library with a little 7-year-old friend who celebrated ramadan, for like a month, so he wouldn’t feel alone. (I talked him into sneaking a granola bar and a piece of fruit at 10:00 and 2:00 in lieu of lunch. Worried mother that I am!) I wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s growing up to be respectful of other cultures and other people. And hopefully those little children will grow up being respectful of agnostics (or whatever my son chooses to believe when he gets older), based on their experience of friendship with my son.

If anyone at the church gets pushy about joining while you’re there (which I doubt will happen), just politely say “No thank you, I’m just here to show support my friends.” And enjoy the fact that your friends and family have included you in their ceremonies. It means they care about you.

 Signature 

Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.    - Lex Luthor

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 December 2008 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4444
Joined  2008-08-14

Yes I suppose it really doesn’t matter attending these religous functions.Even though as a non-believer you are perpetuating the madness and absolute craziness of christian rites.
There can be no arguing this:for whatever it’s worth,your attendance at these functions is giving some semblance of validity.
Awww what the heck,you can always log into this forum and be a closet atheist/agnostic.Anonymously(sp?)rendering your most practiced and honed responses concerning real world issues.
Before anyone jumps,read through my initial response to bittersweet,which contained the same “bending response"as others proffered.Albeit less cloyingly and righteously.Peace out!! LOL

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 December 2008 01:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7664
Joined  2008-04-11

I just returned from the Lutheran funeral of my dear sweet favorite aunt. I would not have missed the funeral to support my cousins and uncle for the world. Yes, it was Lutheran, and yes, I am a-theist, but it was far more important to support my loved ones in their moments of grief, than to push my own dogma. As for MY funeral, it will be TOTALLY secular, and I expect that family members who are religious will attend to support my family members as well.

 Signature 

Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 20 December 2008 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1995
Joined  2008-09-18

I’m such a dedicated atheist, I wouldn’t even go to my OWN funeral!  LOL

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1