To christen your child when you do not attend church a bit showy

(178 Posts)
Illustrationaddict Wed 01-May-13 09:44:09

I struggle with the idea of christening your child if you do not regularly attend church (as in more than Christmas and a friends wedding). Got a few coming up and know the parents don't go. I am not religious, but find it strange when people who do not attend church insist on vowing to raise their child with the christian faith. I have to say I find the whole concept a bit showy, why not just be honest and throw your child a welcome to the world party? AIBU?

LondonBus Fri 14-Jun-13 00:05:02

We did it because the education system discriminates against children who don't have parents who are seen to believe in sky fairies.

Not around here. There non faith schools are apparently better than the faith schools.

And CofE and Catholics don't believe in "sky fairies", and using such terms is offensive (IMO)

Fair play, though, if you want to play the system, and you admit that is what you are doing.
Having married a Catholic, I seem to spend an awful lot of my life jumping through hoops to conform. Along the way, I've realised what a beautiful religion Catholicism is.

treesntrees Thu 13-Jun-13 23:00:24

I agree with the op. At a recent christening in the church I attend many of the guests continued to talk even after the service started. Christenings are generally held as part of the normal Sunday service and we all try to make the visitors welcome but so often disrespect is shown in return. Far better if only immediate family and godparents attend and other guests are invited to a separate celebration.
As for raising money a large number of visitors have no idea what a collection plate is for.

WafflyVersatile Thu 13-Jun-13 21:55:24

how is a welcome to the world party less 'showy'?

Personally I don't really get it, but then I'd gladly kick all religions to the kerb. However my mate had her kids christened - in two different denominations! She sees it as a community thing apparently. She doesn't go to church but rarely but does have bible stories for the kids. You do not have to go to church to worship god, if that's your thing.

LoSiento Thu 13-Jun-13 21:40:47

We did it because the education system discriminates against children who don't have parents who are seen to believe in sky fairies. Not really happy about it tbh.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 13-Jun-13 21:22:46

I don't think it's showy and I'm fairly sure that at this stage in the game all churches really care about is bums on seats but I don't understand the logic of having a religious ceremony promising to raise your child in a particular faith and to love god when you don't intend to do either.

Or of marrying in a church and pledging to be joined before god, taking what is considered by the church to be a sacred vow when you don't believe in any of the religious aspect of it.

It is about religion. The whole of it is nothing at all other than religion. If someone isn't religious, then it makes the whole thing totally and utterly meaningless, surely?

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 13-Jun-13 21:12:37

Ps I don't say the words in the declaration, because I don't believe them. Easy enough at a christening, impossible at your wedding...

DH and the various godparents made their declarations loud enough to make up for my atheism

mumaa Thu 13-Jun-13 21:12:03

I find it all a bit hypocritical. If you practice a religion then fair enough but if you just go at Christmas 'because its nice and festive' yes, actually words from a relative. Or just christening then I find it strange.

Do you go along with your kid and say 'thanks for the blessing, cheerio, you'll never see us again, nice day out though'

I am a catholic and my oh is Christian, neither of us attend church or practice religion. I do believe in god but would find it hypocritical to have what is, to those who are religious, an important ceremony without the follow through. It has been suggested we christen dd (by the Christian side of DD's grandparents of course, who only attend on Christmas Eve) I said we wouldn't do that for exactly this Reason and they said we could have a naming ceremony.

We could, if we wanted to, but we don't. Just sounds like a day out to me, perhaps I am cynical.

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 13-Jun-13 21:09:31

The deal DH and I struck was that we would have a civil ceremony (ie so I didn't need to say vows I don't believe in) but we would christen any children we had (because DH does believe, though is not a church goer; to leave the door open for them in the future; and to assure DGM in particular that we weren't leading a wholly heathen life smile).

I had never thought of it as "showy", what an odd word confused I could understand "hypocritical" but although we had lots of people there both times, that's because we have lots of friends and family, not to "show off"

lurkerspeaks Thu 13-Jun-13 21:03:44

I couldn't agree with OP more.

I was brought up in a strong Christian tradition (across two churches as there is a religious divide in my family) and attended a Christian boarding school. It was there during preparation for confirmation that I decided I did not believe.

I have been to a number of christenings now. One friend was mortally offended that I would not be a god-parent. Other friends have made me a 'non' godparent - I was mentioned at the service/ celebration but did not take any part in it save being physically present in the church.

Every time I sit through the Christening service I reconfirm my belief that I could not in all honesty, respecting those who have christian faith, stand up and make those devout and simple promises as I have no faith. I have no belief and no desire to help any child walk in the way of christ or to take their place in the worship of christ.

I feel similarly but less strongly about weddings.

I feel cross on behalf of friends who are practising and who moved into a popular CofE school catchment area and acquired a new church into the bargain who had to collect tokens from their new vicar before they could arrange a christening for their youngest son.

(For those who aren't familiar with the wording I have attached the baptism service responses for parents/ godparents below, taken from Common Worship)

^Parents and godparents, the Church receives these children with joy. Today we are trusting God for their growth in faith.
Will you pray for them,
draw them by your example into the community of faith
and walk with them in the way of Christ? ^
With the help of God, we will.

^In baptism these children begin their journey in faith. You speak for them today.
Will you care for them,
and help them to take their place
within the life and worship of Christ’s Church?^
With the help of God, we will.

LynetteScavo Thu 13-Jun-13 21:00:25

Well, I'm a traditionalist, and so I think it's nice to carry on the tradition of having babies Christened.

A bit like celebrating Christmas, even if you're an atheist.

It's a way of celebrating a child's arrival into the world.

It's also a great way to make sure they can have a pretty wedding. wink

EstelleGetty Thu 13-Jun-13 20:55:16

Vinegar, in the first instance it was a small C of S church in the highlands and in the second a university memorial chapel which holds protestant services usually but also hosts secular choral concerts and music recitals. I think in both cases the couple had chosen these places because of the beauty of the buildings and because the places in which they were located meant something to them. Which i do understand, but still found the church use quite iffy!

PartyFops Thu 13-Jun-13 20:51:58

Can I ask.......when someone is christened is it registered somewhere. I was never christened, and didnt want to get married in a church anyway. But had I wanted to, could I have lied to the vicar and he/she would be none the wiser (albeit very wrong to do so!) .

But is it recorded anywhere?

VinegarDrinker Thu 13-Jun-13 20:45:38

Estelle that sounds bizarre and I have absolutely no idea why a priest/vicar or their supervisors would allow it. What denomination was it?

treaclesoda Thu 13-Jun-13 20:33:51

Bue, its a Presbyterian church that I attend, and I suppose that's what most of the churches round here are, and I know they use the same criteria. But there are some Church of Ireland, which is similar to CoE (not sure if they are identical though) and afaik they wouldn't christen a non church members child either.

Not sure where the Methodists stand on all this though, don't know any of them grin

chickydoo Thu 13-Jun-13 20:26:12

My DB having his DD aged 3 Baptised so he can get her in to the local Catholic school. No doubt as soon as she has her place at school church attendance will dry up
Cynical me? Never!!!!!!!

Bue Thu 13-Jun-13 20:21:19

treacle what church do you belong to? I just ask because that certainly doesn't sound like the CofE, which is the church that most 'woolly' or non believers would christen their children into.

EstelleGetty Thu 13-Jun-13 20:18:15

I don't mind people getting babies christened in churches if they're not regular attendees, if they're doing it for family, tradition, etc. A lot of my friends and my family are Catholic but don't attend chapel much, and there's definitely a sense of feeling like it's important to have the baby blessed at least, because there's something comforting about it.

What I do find very odd is people who have humanist wedding ceremonies in churches. I went to 2 like that last year and was just thinking "this is a place of worship and you don't agree with what it stands for, so what's the point?"

BegoniaBampot Thu 13-Jun-13 20:13:38

And we got married in the church, it was quite lovely actually and the favourite part of the day strangely.

BegoniaBampot Thu 13-Jun-13 20:12:26

We did it for tradition, for the inlaws, to have a party and to get them into the local good catholic school. And just in case there is a god, though we are atheists.

treaclesoda Thu 13-Jun-13 20:09:00

I can't speak for every church here (obviously) but I know in.my local area (still within UK) none of the churches that I know of would christen a baby unless at least one parent was not just a regular churchgoer, but also eligible to take communion and having made a public declaration of faith as a born again Christian. I am a Christian, raised in a Christian family, drifted away from the church as a teenager but returned through choice as an adult. I have attended church almost every Sunday for years but would not be allowed a christening for my children because I'm not a communicant.

ArtemisiaofCaria Thu 13-Jun-13 19:14:14

I'm not christened and I'm getting married in a church in 2 weeks!

makemineamalibuandpineapple Thu 13-Jun-13 19:12:45

hmm that should be blush

makemineamalibuandpineapple Thu 13-Jun-13 19:11:00

This iso e of my pet hates. If you don't believe in it then it is completely meaningless. I hate it for weddings too. One of my friends got married in a church when for years she had said she though religion was, and I quote "a load of bollocks". When I asked her why she was getting married in church she said it was just for the pictures [sceptical]

cory Thu 13-Jun-13 18:17:44

Another Christian here who doesn't attend church much: I go for prayer meetings in my friend's living room.

To me the christening was a way of leaving options open for dc: to say, "right you do have a right to belong here should you wish to". When I (alone of my family) started to believe, it did make things a lot easier that I felt I already had a right to the church because I was christened. Absolutely no pressure and in fact I was the only one of my family who took it up.

I have also given my dc dual nationality because I could, not because I know whether they will ever want to live in my old country.

Bakingtins Thu 13-Jun-13 17:41:09

Like Giggle as a Christian and regular churchgoer we chose not to make a declaration of faith on behalf of our children, we hope they'll come to that point for themselves one day, but it's not a decision you can make for another person. We had a dedication/ thanksgiving ceremony and a party to celebrate their safe arrival.
I really struggle with christening ceremonies, particularly as the congregation are asked to make promises towards the children who we've often never seen before and will never see again and I don't understand why anyone who doesn't believe would perjure themselves by making promises they clearly have no intention of keeping in front of their family and friends and the congregation.
At least at a wedding the couple usually at that moment intend to keep their vows to each other.

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