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..to not have a christening?

(62 Posts)
BabyCub Wed 08-Jun-11 14:28:56

(My first thread, so please be gentle with me!)

I am pregnant with DC number one (due in August) and during banter with friends a few have said ?Oooh, I hope I get to be godparent?. Their response to ?we?re not going to have DC christened? was shock ?but you must!?

Must I? I don?t believe in God. I don?t go to church. I am uncomfortable with organised religion. DH shares my views, and we didn?t get married in a church for those very reasons. I personally feel hypocritical taking vows in front of, or making promises to a God I don?t believe in.

DH & I are very much in agreement that we won?t be having a christening. We are looking into other options ? a secular / humanist naming ceremony, or a welcoming party of some sort. With ?mentors? rather than godparents. Something informal & relaxed, in our garden perhaps. We want our family & friends to be able to celebrate the arrival of our DC, and to feel involved, but without the religious stamp.

If DC feels the need to explore religion when they are older (and able to make their own, informed decision about it) then I have no problem with that. In fact, it is exactly what I did ? I wasn?t christened as a baby. My best friend whilst I was growing up went to church every Sunday with her parents, quite often I went with her. I explored Christianity for a fair few years, I was christened and confirmed. I eventually realised it wasn?t for me.

AIBU? Or did my friends & family react that way because it is ingrained in our society that christening your child is the ?done thing? (even if you are not a churchgoer).

BabyCub Wed 08-Jun-11 14:30:25

(sorry, all my apostrophes have changed into question marks!)

AngelbitchtheChaoticone Wed 08-Jun-11 14:34:57

YANBU You and your DH have to do what feels right for you. I have 2 DC and haven't had them christened.

Btw if you typed this in word (or equivalent) first then copied and pasted for some reason it turns ' into ?.

fatlazymummy Wed 08-Jun-11 14:36:54

It's entirely up to you and your partner. None of my children have been christened and I never felt the need to explain our decision either. Lots of people don't have their children christened nowadays.

TallulahBetty Wed 08-Jun-11 14:38:19

Babycub - I could have written your post, how spooky.

We also had a civil wedding ceremony as are in no way religious. All of our friends and family accepted this, but now our baby is due in November, lots of people can't understand why we don't want to get s/he christened.

Erm, can anyone spell hypocritical??!!

Missgaga Wed 08-Jun-11 14:38:23

You've answered your own question, do as you wish with your dc, and don't succumb to your friends' and families' expectations, you'll be a far happier parent knowing you are raising your dc your way.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 08-Jun-11 14:38:35

My DS hasnt been christened.............I am not an atheist but not overly religious anyway and didnt want to decide something for him which I consider a personal choice. If he wants to be christened when he is older fair enough but it's his choice. I sometimes think a christening a just an ocassion for a massive piss up and show off your baby......not all but sometimes!

BabyCub Wed 08-Jun-11 14:38:36

Ooh, top tip, thanks!

It's nice to know that others haven't gone down the christening route either. Did anyone comment on your choice?

eurochick Wed 08-Jun-11 14:38:48

YANBU at all. Why do something completely out of kilter with you beliefs? If I can get upduffed, we won't be christening any of them. We are both atheists (although I am baptised CofE and he is Catholic and went to a Jesuit boarding school). We both explored religion and rejected it. We had a civil wedding ceremony. I doubt we will bother with any kind of naming ceremony for the sproglet if it ever arrives. I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable standing up in church in front of my family and friends and lying about bringing the child up to believe in x, y and z.

eurochick Wed 08-Jun-11 14:39:32

I can't type today. Meh.

BeerTricksPotter Wed 08-Jun-11 14:40:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 08-Jun-11 14:42:01

My parents and IL's were a bit shock at the time when we said we wouldnt be getting him christened but they soon got over it.

Stangirl Wed 08-Jun-11 14:43:54

YANBU at all. DP and I had a party for our DD where we welcomed her to the world and named some "supporting adults". One of whom is actually very religious but we clarified with her beforehand that the role was not to take care of DD's spiritual wellbeing (we are both atheists and consider all God-bothering complete nonsense) but to be the person Dd calls rather than us when she gets arrested for drunk and disorderly at 16......

When older DD can choose to be any religion she wants to be and be anointed into that if she chooses.

Probably only about 10% of my friends have had christenings for their kids - everyone else has just had a party.

BabyCub Wed 08-Jun-11 14:46:11

erm, can anyone spell hypocritical??!! Ummm, I can!

TallulahBetty - that's the thing, no-one questioned our civil marriage ceremony, but can't get their heads round us not wanting a christening. Baffling!

I explain our reasons for not wanting one, and 'they can make their own mind up when they are older' is one of them BeerTricks. Still met with 'oh, but i would definitely have a chirstening, it just wouldn't be right not to'.

Really? Even though you never go to church?

mrsravelstein Wed 08-Jun-11 14:46:26

yanbu. i find it bizarre when non religious people get their kids christened (or get married in a church for that matter).

having said that, my MIL asked me if i would get the dc christened, despite her knowing full well that nobody on either side of the family is religious, that we got married in a registry office, and that in fact i am racially jewish!

BabyCub Wed 08-Jun-11 14:49:50

but to be the person Dd calls rather than us when she gets arrested for drunk and disorderly at 16...... haha, precisely!

ALL of my friends & family who have recently had children have had them christened. One did it just so DD would be accepted at the local shcool. None of them are at all religious. It seems we are the anomaly amongst our peers!

Nice to be different though right? wink

BabyCub Wed 08-Jun-11 14:51:36

(I may be able to spell hypocritical, but apparently I can't spell school...)

sarahtigh Wed 08-Jun-11 14:52:08

lots of christians baptists for example do not believe in infant batism (christening) on the basis that a commitment to God can only be made by someone old enopugh to understand what that means, I am a christian and have not had my DD christened nor do we intend to, some other christians believe that baptism is essential to gettting to heaven hence babies were baptised in the first few days of life ( when infeant mortality was a big risk) and so if you have relatives friends with this belief they may be a bit upset that you are not baptising, so even among christians several viewpoints and i would not be dogmatic about it, go with what you feel is right DC can always be baptised later.

I think you are being sensible how can you promise to bring up a child as a christian if you do not believe yourself or are unsure, while marriage vows are before god and the congregation they are not specifically religious love respect etc but baptismal vows are very religious so I think baptising yuor child is far more hypocritical than getting married in church. though i think for some heavily subscribed church schools if child is not baptised before age 1 they think you have had them baptised in order to gain a place!

I think a naming ceremony at home is a great idea and get mentors, but also write a will appointing guardians for your child as though it can be overridden it is given considerable weight

MetalSian Wed 08-Jun-11 15:02:05

I didn't have my son christened, he is now 2 and my Nan and Mum will still comment on it.
We didn't have a naming ceremony or anything, didn't see the need.

If he wants to be religious in the future by all means. But it is his choice, not ours as to what religion, if any, he wants to follow.

Stick to your guns, it is your choice and not anyone else's.

GrimmaTheNome Wed 08-Jun-11 15:12:08

In your position it would be entirely unreasonable to have a christening. Stand up and lie in front of all your family and friends? hmm

We didn't have DD christened - the only person who asked when we'd be having it done was my mother. At which point I had to out myself as now being an atheist, so she was upset about that but totally dropped any mention of christening.

I wish we'd had a humanist naming/welcome ceremony now; do look into that. Probably quite a lot of your not-really-religious friends would see it as entirely equivalent - a nice party and a few 'special' adults nominated.

wineisfine Wed 08-Jun-11 15:13:13

This is interesting, christenings are very much not the norm amongst the families we know - everyone was shocked when DH and I said we were considering it for ours (they are older so could make the responses themselves).

FWIW godparents have no automatic guardianship over children in the event of their parents dying. I don't know why so many people think they do.

Insomnia11 Wed 08-Jun-11 15:15:30

I thought long and hard about having DDs christened. My parents had me christened but I think due to social convention rather than any religious convictions.

I looked at the words of the christening ceremony and couldn't honestly stand up in my local church and say I believe Jesus is the son of God and that we will bring them up as Christians to believe in God. We don't have any friends who are religious either so I wouldn't be comfortable asking them to be religious godparents or asking them to come to church to make the required affirmations. Plus the fact one of the people I would probably ask is gay, and one of the problems I have with Anglicans is (among other things) their failure to wholeheartedly welcome homosexuals into the church, or indeed quite the reverse in some quarters...

We did get married in a church - again after a lot of thought, on my part anyway as to whether it was important to have a religious ceremony and whether I could truthfully say the vows, and I could, but a Christening is quite different.

BugsAndButterflies Wed 08-Jun-11 15:18:42

I wasn't baptised, and was brought up to make my own mind up about things. That stood me in good stead when I ended up at a Catholic senior school and our RE teacher told us at age 13 that baptism cleansed us of the original sin of the world. I still remember her look of extreme discomfort when I put my hand up to tell her that I hadn't been baptised, and to ask her if that meant that I still had all that sin on my shoulders. Priceless!

onepieceofcremeegg Wed 08-Jun-11 15:21:25

I am a Christian and as a family we attend our local CofE church which of course practises infant baptism. (and baptism of older children/adults too)

Dh and I felt quite strongly that baptism would be something that our dcs would decide for themselves when older. We had a very low key thanksgiving for them (but as part of a "normal" service") We didn't have party or celebration afterwards as for us that wasn't what it was about.

Our minister was accepting of our choice, in fact very supportive and understood our reasons.

Fil who considers himself "religious" made some quite unpleasant comments about our young baby going to hell if she died. sad.

I feel that if you have no beliefs, and do not wish to have your children baptised into a faith that you do not respect/believe in, then why on earth would you consider baptism? It is odd (imo) that some relatives/friends can't seem to grasp this.

whackamole Wed 08-Jun-11 15:41:09

I was asked by my MIL if we were going to have a Christening. She is religious, Church twice on a Sunday and a couple of times during the week.

I said no, it's not really our thing. And left it at that. Likewise, when I was asked to be Godmother I (politely!) declined, as I felt it would be hypocritical to say yes.

Has never yet been an issue!

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