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.

DazzleU Mon 09-Dec-13 00:08:44

"but all church schools are better so think about their education?"

My unbaptized DC with two atheists parents attending local school which is C of E.

I am/was unbaptized and went to my local school - different location and only school in village - that was also C. of E.

DC school is more vocal about their faith than my school was.

We figured my school inoculated me against region and DC knowing about Christianity and the stories associated with it would be good as it's part of the countries culture.

Not all religious schools require region and one that do often have some places for DC not of their persuasion.

CleopatrasAsp Mon 09-Dec-13 01:13:58

WidowWadman I love Tim Minchin but had never heard that song - it's ridiculously beautiful, thank you for the link.

I find it so hard to understand why my perfectly nice, decent friends have religious beliefs. If your god is one of the many that plans an eternal damnation on anyone who doesn't believe and worship him/her... If your God has the power to prevent disasters yet actively ignores them under the flimsy pretense of "free will"... If your god has actively committed genicide multiple times just to punish the people he created for their sins... What on earth is there to like about that God? He is clearly vain and selfish and at best uninterested in his people. I would prefer to go to hell than worship any being that would enforce Armageddon and end times on people who may even be worshipping him, jus with a different name.

trufflesnuffler Mon 09-Dec-13 01:43:14

A friend of mines PIL are very upset their grandkids are not being raised religious as they truly believe they will 'burn in hell'. It's very upsetting for the atheist mother.

Bogeyface Mon 09-Dec-13 01:54:20

My dad was a victim of Catholic schools in the 50's/60's. He wasnt sexually assaulted, or at least he has never said that he was, but he was physically assaulted. It left him with a hatred of the Catholic church, but he is still in a state over the fact that my 3 youngest havent been baptised. I had the older 3 baptised as I still had my faith then, now I am atheist.

I think he is like the DH of a PP, he is a believer but totally against organised religion. Sadly, he had it beaten into him that if you are not baptised then if you die you will go to Limbo as you havent been cleansed of Original Sin and are therefore unable to enter Heaven. I am sure that deep down he knows it isnt true but he cant shake that fear that my children may suffer an eternity of Limbo sad

Oddly enough, Mum has a true and strong faith. She is an active member of the Methodist church and has never ever pushed baptism with me. In fact she defended my decision to an old friend of mine and member of Mums church when she was saying "You need to make sure Bogey brings the children in for baptism". Mum got quite cross and said "Bogey respects your beliefs, you should respect hers". smile

sanssoleil Mon 09-Dec-13 01:55:26

My mum 'christened' DD's in kitchen sink-I didn't give her the satisfaction of a response when she disclosed.

It felt disrespectful as my partner's family were Muslim and she knew my reasons for not wanting my children baptised,based on my own experience of organised religion.

LittleBabyPigsus Mon 09-Dec-13 03:43:40

volestair plenty of Christians don't believe in Hell, or believe in Hell only for genuinely shitty people, and not people who just don't believe in God.

Re church schools, there are many great non-church schools and I went to one. As a Christian I am actually quite uncomfortable with church schools which exclude non-Christians because to me that seems like a really un-Christian attitude.

LittleBabyPigsus Mon 09-Dec-13 03:48:38

flyingspaghettimonster not really sure why you are treating all religions as the same. I mean, Buddhism doesn't even include a belief in a deity but is more of a philosophy. Hinduism is also quite different to the religions you describe. What if your friends were Buddhist, would you feel the same way?

Eternal damnation and genocide are not part of my beliefs, so why put my faith in with other, more extreme faiths? There are lots of very different religious beliefs, please stop stereotyping.

SatinSandals Mon 09-Dec-13 07:35:43

The attitude that unbelievers will go to hell, volestair, and it is your job to save them! It is hardly 'love your neighbour as yourself', I don't remember any mention of 'love your neighbour as yourself BUT make sure they are Christian'!
I believe in God, I don't believe in hell, unless it is one of your own making.
If there is an afterlife it isn't a cosy little one only on offer to those who who go to a certain branch of religion, like a club!
I can never get my head around people saying 'my child is a Christian', my child is an atheist' etc when they are merely a child of a Christian, a child of an atheist. They all make up their own minds. Lots if children of Christians become atheists, lots of children of atheists become Christians, lots of both become Buddhists, Muslims etc.
That is healthy. Becoming what your mother is, without question, is not healthy when it is the mere luck of birth. We are not our mothers.
I am a Christian, my children are not. It is utter rubbish to fear for them. I fail to see why people get so het up about it. When you look at your newborn baby you can have no idea at all what sort of person they will be, what their belief system will be so why assume it will be the same as yours?

Jenijena Mon 09-Dec-13 07:41:13

"But mum, do you really want me to stand up in church and say vows I don't believe in?"

SatinSandals Mon 09-Dec-13 07:47:02

The huge mistake is thinking you have to discuss and give reasons, you really don't. You are an adult so just say it is a private matter and you have no intention of discussing it. Neither side is likely to change their minds so you will let yourselves in for years of going over and over the same ground.

SatinSandals Mon 09-Dec-13 07:48:04

Probably the parents do, Jenijena, that is why it is pointless discussing.

jamdonut Mon 09-Dec-13 08:01:08

I am the same as you OP. Register Office wedding and unchristened children. My Mum and Grandmother thought it was dreadful,although they tried not to mention it too often!

I was christened, but I do not believe I have the right to " enrol " my children in the Church,as it were,(which is what a christening is,essentially,) that that is something for them to decide when they are older and can make informed decisions. I and my husband are not religious.BUT I do like going to carol services and school nativities!!! Love them!!! fwink

StanleyLambchop Mon 09-Dec-13 08:02:27

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

But Paganism is a religion also, so not something of interest to an atheist either.

PS- I don't really care who celebrates Christmas or why!

SatinSandals Mon 09-Dec-13 08:10:09

I think that anyone can celebrate Christmas, if they want to.

diddl Mon 09-Dec-13 08:14:18

But surely it doesn't matter if the GPs believe that their GC will be in limbo or whatever-it's what the GC themselves believe?

I completely get your issue, *OP (but we have no DC).
My father is an ordained minister, and I am not a christian.

They hate coming to stay here we veer towards the buddhist here and have lots of indian things from our travels. They have very little in their life apart from their faith as their whole life is tied up with it all, so we have very little to stay on 'safe' subjects.

They though are pushing for Xmas with us. I last spent Xmas with them 20 years ago - for them, it's their religious festival (singing Happy Birthday to Jesus, anyone?) For me it's all about presents, drink and crap films with friends and my DH.

Why, why why, can't they just accept that we know what we're doing, that they're not right and take from us what we do have to offer them instead.

StanleyLambchop Mon 09-Dec-13 09:01:06

I think that anyone can celebrate Christmas, if they want to.

I agree Satin, hence my postscript. I was just pointing out that Paganism is a religion, as many people seem to believe that a Pagan festival = an atheist festival.

In terms of having a good opportunity for food, presents & merry making, then who needs an excuse???

LackingEnergy Mon 09-Dec-13 10:03:04

Everyone will go to some form of hell when they die as most religions state than anyone who doesn't believe in their god will go to some version of hell.... Such nice people :-)

specialsubject Mon 09-Dec-13 10:31:03

religious intolerance and the insecurity of believers in full demonstration here. Many believers are very insecure and can't cope with others not believing.

you are quite right not to stand up in church and make promises to a god that you don't believe in. Tell her that. You could even tell her that despite your upbringing, you've learnt to think for yourself.

I will have Xmas tree and decs up, I like pretty lights and to cheer up midwinter until we saw the scots off at Hadrian's wall and stop the time change Doesn't mean I believe in any fairies.

BTW loved the idea of the haunting parents; 'if I'm wrong about ghosts it will be nice to see them!!'

diddl Mon 09-Dec-13 10:35:02

That's the thing, isn't it-the foisting on others.

I don't believe in hell or that I will go there.

You can believe what you want-just don't drag me into it.

I'm not worried for me-ther's no need for anyone else to be!

volestair Mon 09-Dec-13 10:35:58

Which denominations of Christianity preach that there is no hell? I find most actual Christians are like those on this thread and find the idea of Hell distasteful, and are pragmatic and considerate about people who are not Christian.

Most British Christians don't seem to think it's their job to go round converting people. But what I meant was that most denominations and sects of Christianity that I've read about do seem to teach Hell as a tenet of their faith, which is why I'm always slightly (pleasantly) surprised at how tolerant and accepting most Christians are of their family members risking their eternal souls.

Do British churches actually tend to tell their adherents that their atheist family won't suffer the tortures of the damned?

FunkyBoldRibena Mon 09-Dec-13 10:39:54

'Mum, I chose my husband partly because he IS an atheist, so stop trying to divide and rule, now are you putting the kettle on or not?'

LimitedEditionLady Mon 09-Dec-13 10:43:58

Knowing my mil she will probably haunt me and do the washing up....

volestair Mon 09-Dec-13 10:52:53

Ew, she'll get ectoplasm everywhere.

MaidOfStars Mon 09-Dec-13 11:50:29

Perhaps they are worried that you might eat your babies?

LimitedEditionLady Mon 09-Dec-13 12:18:34

Hahahaha!!!ectoplasm!im gonna get me one of dem ghost traps....who ma gonna call?

sashh Mon 09-Dec-13 12:26:55

FortyDoorsToNowhere

No you wouldn't be confused, many many people celebrate Xmas is some way. I know Sikh kids who get a visit from Santa.

I actually don't celebrate it and that really does confuse people.

StanleyLambchop Mon 09-Dec-13 13:25:26

Hahahaha!!!ectoplasm!im gonna get me one of dem ghost traps....who ma gonna call?

It's a positron collider. (Mine of useless information, me)

ShoeWhore Mon 09-Dec-13 13:31:08

I'm wondering, what do you do when she brings this up OP?

My FIL is similar on this topic and many others and we find it works best to just ignore him. We don't get into conversation with him about it actually I try not to get into much conversation with him at all If he does start on I tend to look a bit vague, suddenly realise one of the dcs needs my urgent attention or change the subject. If you completely refuse to engage then eventually the other person has to give up - you must persevere though grin

I should add I spent years trying to reason with my FIL like he was a normal reasonable person before I had this epiphany (pardon the pun) and realised it was never going to work.

LimitedEditionLady Mon 09-Dec-13 17:25:35

Right ill get on ebay now thanks stanleylambchop couldve been searching the incorrect keywords for days!

ElenorRigby Mon 09-Dec-13 18:03:55

My mum and dad are catholic.

I stopped going to church at 16.

My poor old dad asked for years when DD would christened. He's given up now!

LittleBabyPigsus Mon 09-Dec-13 18:18:07

volestair members of X church can disagree with things X church teaches - in most churches at least, the priest/minister/pastor can't make you do anything, it's between you and God. Even for those who go to confession (Catholics and a few Anglicans), it's obviously down to you what you confess, the priest can't read your mind! I'm an Anglican and there's a range of beliefs on Hell. The stereotype of Christians believing that atheists/gay people/people who enjoy sex/other religions go to Hell is just not true for most of us.

Going by what 'most religions state' is a bit of a red herring tbh, in most religions that's written by the clergy or the equivalent and not the ordinary believers. Religious people still have individual human agency to believe or not believe individual tenets of their faith. Most Catholics use birth control, for instance.

volestair Mon 09-Dec-13 18:22:37

Well yes Pigsus, I find it heartening that ordinary British Christians don't take the point of view that many churches seem to. I wonder why churches fail to reflect their members' opinions - or is it that the moderate churches speak out less?

Chiggers Mon 09-Dec-13 18:47:27

My friend is a Christian, I'm and atheist, we get on just fine. Saying that, every now and then she'll ask me if I'll consider becoming a Christian so I can be saved and serve the almighty lord himself. In walks DD saying that if God was so powerful and almighty, why does he need servants? I have to admit that DD had a point. Not only that but my friend was stumped?

LimitedEditionLady Mon 09-Dec-13 19:48:50

Haaaa chiggers,your child is a star fgrin

drudgetrudy Mon 09-Dec-13 19:55:38

Some Christians sincerely believe that if you don't accept Christ you will not be saved and are heading for hell, do your parents fall into this category? If so they are likely to keep trying with both you and their GC. All you can do is say that its nothing to do with your DH its your own opinion and discussing it won't change your mind. On the other hand they may just be angry that you aren't falling in with their way of doing things in which case a more robust approach might be indicated.

somewherewest Mon 09-Dec-13 20:06:39

It cuts both ways. I've got atheist friends who won't get off my case for being a Christian. People who passionately believe in X and think everyone else should believe in it too tend to be like that, to varying degrees. It doesn't really matter if X is Christianity or atheism or feminism or saving the planet or attachment parenting or thinking Princes Diana was bumped off by MI5.

No idea what you do about it grin.

SatinSandals Mon 09-Dec-13 21:01:12

You just ignore it, don't get drawn in, and change the subject.

LittleBabyPigsus Mon 09-Dec-13 22:09:26

volestair I think it is just that moderate churches speak out less, or rather that the media aren't really interested in anything but weird churches. 'You're all going to Hell' gets more headlines than 'nobody goes to Hell'! And like somewherewest says, it cuts both ways and atheists going on about how weird/stupid/deluded religious people are (to our faces even) is really hurtful for people who have a faith but don't harm anyone with it.

PointyChristmasFairyWand Mon 09-Dec-13 22:12:27

I think all of us need to be less judgey about our faith choices. Other than that, I think this means we are all going to hell.

So we might as well do what the hell we feel is right while we're alive.

fatlazymummy Mon 09-Dec-13 22:25:34

I think my Mum may have done the 'christening in the kitchen sink ' thing to one or more of my kids. She did threaten it once. If she did it wouldn't have bothered me. To me (an atheist) all religious rituals are just meaningless words and actions.
I made it clear to her that I wasn't into discussing religion at all, and she accepted that. I think the problem with some religious people is that it's all so real and important to them that they can't really grasp that it's of no consequence to other people.

volestair Mon 09-Dec-13 22:39:31

LittleBabyPigsus, I think you have the wrong end of the stick about what I've been trying to say. I'm saying that, given that their churches may be telling them that their family members are risking their eternal souls, most British Christians are very accepting of their family members not believing in God. If you bothered to read what I'm writing, you'd find out that I'm actually talking about how nice and tolerant and liberal and accepting most Christians are.

If you'd like to admit that that too cuts both ways, and that the huge majority of atheists you meet are similarly tolerant and liberal and accepting, I'd appreciate that. Because most of the atheists you meet will never feel the need to tell you that they're an atheist. Religion doesn't come up that much in conversation if you don't believe in it, unless of course people are discussing how to deal with situations like the OP's.

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 10-Dec-13 00:22:52

My DS(6) recently baptized DN(3mo) in the bath. He poured water over head, said "in the name of the father, son and holy spirit I name you Sara Jane Smith" (not real name) and whispered "you're my sister now". I pointed out that her name was Jones. He said that it was too late and she was a Smith now.

The next day, we returned her to her parents and told them about the baptism, her new name and how she now had a big brother.

Now when my mother asks when DN will be christened, DB points out that she's already been baptized so there's no need.

LittleBabyPigsus Tue 10-Dec-13 06:36:33

volestair I'm confused - I have read what you've written and agree that most British Christians are nice and tolerant. I can't see where I've said that I disagree. Plenty of churches (individual churches as opposed to entire denominations - possibly the source of the confusion) don't tell their members that non-Christians are going to Hell though. Please tell me what I've said that makes you think I don't agree with you, because I do!

I've unfortunately encountered a lot of intolerant and unkind atheists but then that's probably due to the circles I move in (academia and politics). Religion doesn't come up that much in casual conversation even if you do believe in it, I don't talk about it with non-religious friends apart from casually mentioning going to church etc. Surely you can see that people saying that they don't understand how nice normal people can be religious, that's a bit hurtful. I get that the reverse would be equally hurtful, I have just never encountered it before (though I'm a religious person from an atheist family which is perhaps why). Obviously plenty of liberal and kind atheists exist, I just find that a lot of atheists don't really believe that their unkindness towards religious people is really unkindness, because their view is just common sense. I guess some religious people are also like that though re proselytising.

LimitedEditionLady Tue 10-Dec-13 07:09:43

My mil took the kitchen sink to a higher level and said she would take him to church and have him christened behind my back.So yeah i dont believe in the ceremony but the gesture was too big there for me.We could make a movie about the race to the font.Heavenly grandma rushes in time to bless grandchild whilst evil mummy and daddy try to stop his ticket to all things heaven.12,in cinemas now!

Tubemole1 Tue 10-Dec-13 07:51:57

I think you should talk to her.

Like a poster said up thread, I respect your beliefs, respect mine.

Atheists can celebrate Christmas, just the best bits, those directed by tradition not religion ie the food, the crackers, the presents. Atheism is the rejection of theism, or belief in an unproven deity. We can leave that out and use Christmas as an excuse to catch up with loved ones, show how much we appreciate them, and spoil each other.

49â„… of British people are now "nonreligious".

My nice and nephew go to their local CofE school in the village they live in, but there is no selection on the basis of their (lack of) belief. Its the school all the village kids go to.

FriedSprout Tue 10-Dec-13 08:05:39

Maybe your parents don't want to see their daughter in 'eternal hell' anymore than their grandchildren and prefer to lay the blame for your joint decisions on your husband.

As Christians, and loving parents and grandparents, it must be very difficult to see your loved ones 'heading to hell'

Think you need to cut them some slack, and view it as an manifestation of their love for you all.

As others have said, change the subject, perhaps after sitting down once and finally and telling them how it is upsetting you.

It will tail off after a while.

Weegiemum Tue 10-Dec-13 08:11:39

I'm in the bizarre situation that my agnostic parents had me christened, I'm a Christian (independent decision at around 16) and parents went on at me to have our dc christened but we haven't - we go to a baptist church and our dc can make up their own minds about being baptised when they are older.

volestair Tue 10-Dec-13 13:01:32

Sorry, Pigsus - I see we do basically agree. You have a good point on the possible differences between the doctrine of whole denominations vs the teachings of individual churches - not having ever been to a church, I perhaps am missing some of the way denominational beliefs are filtered through clergy to fit local populations.

That must cause some cognitive dissonance. Not having ever been to church, the vast majority of information I am able to get consists of what leaders and representatives of denominations say they teach, which is clearly very different from what actual people believe - it seems from what you're saying that the split may be at individual church level rather than at a personal level, if that makes any sense.

Still, for those who do believe in Hell, it must be a powerful motivator to attempt to save your family. I can't imagine how terrifying it would be to believe in such a place and to see people you love heading there.

AngelaDaviesHair Tue 10-Dec-13 13:19:48

I'm not sure Quakers believe in Hell, do they?

Ephiny Tue 10-Dec-13 13:36:28

I think you just have to keep on persistently 'not engaging', politely changing the subject or saying you'd prefer not to discuss it. Yes it's wearing, but if they won't stop, and you want to maintain contact with them, there's not much else you can do.

My parents are the same, my mum especially. It's a difficult thing, because I can see it is genuinely distressing for her, given the strength of her beliefs. But I can't pretend I believe something I don't. It's really prevented us from having any kind of relationship with each other as adults.

SatinSandals Tue 10-Dec-13 17:35:04

As Christians I really don't see why you would expect your children and grandchildren to be 'heading for hell'. Perhaps they ought to go and talk to their vicar or priest who could explain that places are not doled out according to how often you go to church and whether your children are christened! Unless they are one of the 'bible bashing, hell fire' churches they are not going to believe in it anyway.

firesidechat Tue 10-Dec-13 18:08:47

I'm sure this has already been said, but here goes anyway - lots and lots of Christians don't have their children baptised. If it's ok for them then I'm sure it ok for you OP and perhaps your mum needs a chat with a friendly vicar. Being baptised does not make you a Christian, faith does.

I don't personally know of any churches that believe a child is going to hell if they aren't baptised, but I'm not too sure about Catholics. Do they still believe this?

Snowbility Tue 10-Dec-13 18:32:17

My DM is ashamed that I'm an atheist. My refusal to pretend to be religious is something she finds deeply embarrassing. She made me go to church every week till I was 18, even though she knew I thought the whole thing was a joke, at 18 I said no more...and I bloody meant it, I'd had enough! She mutters about the lack of God in the house, especially since my dad came out as an atheist too.

nooka Tue 10-Dec-13 18:39:50

I'm an atheist from a fairly religious family (two of my siblings are non believers, the other one is a vicar!). My mother is obviously very sad about my decision not to believe but never really complained about us not christening our children. She does proselytise a bit which I find incredibly annoying, but I think she's generally more in the lead them to the water kind of mind frame. So far neither child has been actively resistant, but I suspect the time will come when ds asks her to stop, and she will be very upset. I tend to be generally noncommital and move the conversation on (she likes to recommend things for me to read etc to 'overcome my doubts')

I just don't talk about religion at all with my sister. Our view points are too different and our friendship too precious to risk I think.

On the hell side, I have been to many churches (mostly Catholic occasional CoE), and only recall one priest who did the whole hellfire and brimstone stuff (he was quite fun to listen to!). Mostly I think priests focus more on the heaven is about being with god and hell is about being separate from god. This is still of course upsetting for the true believer, especially I think when you see your child actively reject something that is fundamentally important to you.

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