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to wish my mum would accept I'm an atheist?

(81 Posts)
WidowWadman Sun 08-Dec-13 20:39:12

I'm not rubbing it in her face or anything, but she's not happy my kids aren't christened, I only had a registry wedding, etc. She seems to believe (or at least makes comments suggesting) that I'm just going along with my husband's wishes.
I find this insulting to both me and him - as if I was just following someone else's lead (I'm not) and as if he orders me about (he doesn't).

I've no problem with my parents' faith, and don't ever attack or criticise them. Our decision not to christen our children is not a criticism on them having christened me. They did what they believed was right, and that's cool. Doesn't mean that I have to believe that that's the right course of action for my parenting.

Our kids learn about Christianity just like about any other religion. We even asked for a kid's bible as a first christmas present for our eldest - knowing the stories which influenced our culture so much, is important.

I don't want to discuss religion with them, as I accept that they believe and don't feel the need to upset them, so why raise it with me? Again and again and again?

I would say you are right to do exactly as you are. Your kids should be raised the way you and your partner agree.

You are completely reasonable to wish for acceptance, but I think it is also reasonable for your parents to be concerned. After all, from their point of view, they see you not following the path in life they believe in and anxiety and concern is natural.

However, if the issue is damaging your relationship then you need to set it straight somehow. How you achieve that isn't something I think I can help with, but maybe another here can?

SatinSandals Sun 08-Dec-13 21:00:11

I don't know why anyone gets upset about these things. You bring up your children how you wish but ultimately they will make up their own minds. Your own DCs may have a faith when they grow up.
If you don't want to discuss it, don't- just say 'sorry, I don't intend discussing it' and change the subject. Never get drawn in past that sentence.

LittleBabyPigsus Sun 08-Dec-13 21:44:19

My parents had a registry office wedding and neither me nor my sister were christened. I now am a Christian, my sister isn't. I don't think there's anything wrong with how you're choosing to bring your kids up and there was nothing damaging about my atheist upbringing. It's not what I would choose for my kids but equally it's not wrong.

Agree with what SatinSandals says, just refuse to discuss it. I have to do that with my parents on other subjects.

PointyChristmasFairyWand Sun 08-Dec-13 21:56:12

YANBU, I think christening is meaningless - no-one has the right to raise a child in any faith. Belief has to come from the person themselves and from the path their life takes, anything else is indoctrination.

DH believes but is vehemently opposed to organised religion, I am an atheist. At the moment my DD1 believes in the Greek/Roman gods and DD2 is an agnostic. It is all fine.

We had them christened because it would have broken the IL's hearts if we had not - they were very traditionally American churchgoers and not having our DDs christened over there would have felt like kicking them in the teeth - but we made it very clear that whatever faith choices our girls made in later life would be up to them and we would not force anything.

LimitedEditionLady Sun 08-Dec-13 22:03:06

I am amongst friends here.
my in laws threatened to haunt us when they die for not having ds christened.

LimitedEditionLady Sun 08-Dec-13 22:08:54

Fortunately i dont believe in ghosts and if im wrong itll be nice to see them.

SatinSandals Sun 08-Dec-13 22:29:00

People are too polite- you really don't have to explain or justify- just tell them it is a personal matter, not up for discussion. There is no need to be rude or confrontational.

Mumsyblouse Sun 08-Dec-13 22:35:06

smile LimitedEditionLady

Mim78 Sun 08-Dec-13 22:36:04

Haunt you as ghosts is brilliant. But I didn't think christians actually believed in ghosts? Assuming they are saying this lightheartedly?

To the OP - YANBU

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 08-Dec-13 22:37:46

If you are an atheist why are you celebrating Christmas.

If I was your mum i would be confused too.

rpitchfo Sun 08-Dec-13 22:40:04

Depends how religious they are. I think you are being a bit unreasonable in the sense that as a christian she must feel that if you don't accept jesus as your "lord and saviour" then you will spend eternity in hell. If that isn't motivation to try and get you to change your mind then what else is?

p.s i'm an atheist.

volestair Sun 08-Dec-13 22:43:54

I'm always privately slightly surprised that so many Christians are accepting of their family members' atheism. As far as I can tell, most types of Christianity will tell them that atheists suffer eternally in Hell. I wouldn't want that for someone I loved and I would do anything I could that I thought would prevent that.

Having said that, I do think they should respect you and your lack of belief, and your unwillingness to raise your children as Christians. I've come across people who don't have religious belief but who try to encourage it in their children. It seems an odd thing to do.

SatinSandals Sun 08-Dec-13 22:44:38

Christmas has always been a festival. I believe in God and will go to church. My children won't- it doesn't mean they can't celebrate Christmas. They are adults, they have the same freedom of choice that I have. Why should I make up my mind and expect them to agree? -confused
My mother can think whatever she likes, she can't decide what I think!

Meow75 Sun 08-Dec-13 22:45:37

Forty

Surely you know about the Pagan celebrations pre-dating Christian celebrations. Don't make this into one of those threads!!

OP - Not much help to you but I've had grief from my very devout grandmother because DH and I have decided not to have children and that is contrary to God's word. As others have said, don't engage." Gosh Mum, did you see the cheap ...... that was at Tesco/Sainsbo's/market yesterday?! What a bargain!!!" And if she persists, leave the room, talk to your DH or play with your DC.

SatinSandals Sun 08-Dec-13 22:45:56

Good grief, volestair, I can't see that that attitude is remotely Christian!!

volestair Sun 08-Dec-13 22:48:21

Which attitude, SatinSandals?

CailinDana Sun 08-Dec-13 22:50:33

My mother is itching to have a go at me for not baptising my children. She doesn't because she knows I can outargue her any day.

Agree with others that you should just cut them.off every time.
Oh and LEL that's bloody hilarious smile

From your mum's point of view, you and your kids immortal souls might be at stake. Given her worldview, it's reasonably easy to understand the intensity of her concerns even if you violently disagree with them.

Mind you, if she really is that concerned, I wonder why she doesn't performed the baptism herself by the kitchen sink of an afternoon?

LimitedEditionLady Sun 08-Dec-13 23:02:23

Ha yes,the logic of angry in laws fgrin
I couldve easily chosen to do it,they even offered to pay for the big party after (because thats soooo religiously necessary) but no I cannot do things just to please others it wouldnt be right.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Sun 08-Dec-13 23:18:39

sorry didn't mean to blush

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 08-Dec-13 23:24:38

Widow, YANBU. You say that you don't wish to discuss religion with your parents and that's fine. However I think that you do need to discuss your atheism with them.

Tell them that you do not believe and you cannot live a life of hypocrisy because they raised you better than that. Tell them that you will not pretend and ask them to accept this.

Good luck.fsmile

WidowWadman Sun 08-Dec-13 23:35:32

Forty - I didn't even mention Christmas, did I? As it is, I do celebrate Christmas - as a time to spend time with people I love. Tim Minchin sums up my feelings about Christmas very well. But no, let's not make this thread about this, as the stupid argument today didn't have anything with Christmas, it was just brought up randomly again. And what annoys me most about is that she keeps implying that it's just my husband's say-so which deprives her poor grand children from being christened.

LimitedEditionLady Sun 08-Dec-13 23:48:10

Oh oh oh who has had the......"but all church schools are better so think about their education?"
Oh yes!me!me!me!I have!
Apparently I am also selfish and should stop thinking of myself and " doing things in a different way"
(Im selfish yet they want ds christened into a religion just for them....)
Shit,I do feel like saying "look can we all just chillax here and not have such prude disgusted faces that we have got seperate minds?" And also inform them that yes,a son of yours CAN not believe in god and it doesnt have to be anything to do with being over your dead body....NOW LETS ALL SMILE AND HAVE A NICE CUP OF TEA.

DazzleU Sun 08-Dec-13 23:58:27

She seems to believe (or at least makes comments suggesting) that I'm just going along with my husband's wishes.

Every decision my DH has made or we have made together if IL dislike it is blamed on me despite all conversations by DH or me or evidence to the contrary fhmm.

Just refuse to discuss it.

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