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to take DS to church even though I'm not a Christian?

(16 Posts)

Briefly.. DS2 is 14, he has autism and learning difficulties. He also, through the special needs youth club, finally has a friend smile. His friend is from a Christian family and has asked DS if he goes to church. DS doesn't.. I am an atheist not from lack of interest but from sincere consideration; I was brought up in a strict Christian household and rejected my belief in my 30s.

However just because I don't believe in Jesus I don't feel that DS should be denied the chance of making his own mind up..such as he can.. he probably has the reasoning skills of a 6 year old. I also think that given he will never be an independent adult due to his degree of learning disability, attending church might give him a place in the community and the chance to be accepted?

Do you think it would be ok for me to take him? I genuinely don't want to offend Christians and he couldn't go alone. I have wondered about it a few times over the years but him finally having a friend of sorts, has brought it back to the fore. Obviously I wouldn't be waving a banner saying ' sorry I lean towards Buddhism' but if questioned I would have to be honest and say that I don't accept Jesus as my personal saviour but want my son to have a chance to choose...

MsHighwater Sat 08-Oct-11 00:03:38

If your son is amenable to the idea of going and you don't mind taking him, just go. You will be welcome. They will hope that you will have a change of heart yourself but you'll be welcome either way (and if you're not, go elsewhere).

Anyway, you never know...

squeakytoy Sat 08-Oct-11 00:04:34

I think it would probably be a good idea, and beneficial for him socially too. Would your son be able to go with his friend rather than with you? It might help him feel more independent and I agree that he will probably be accepted with a lot more kindness and understanding than at some other places.

PomBearAtTheGatesOfDawn Sat 08-Oct-11 00:05:13

Why not pop round and see the vicar? Most vicarages or the church itself will have a notice board with a time on when the vicar has an open house and you can just call round. If not, there will be a phone number and you can call and ask when it's convienient to go round, or just explain over the phone. As long as you're not planning to storm the altar shouting Bullshit or shit in the font or anything, you and DS should be made welcome.
The vicar will be able to tell you about any youth groups or sunday schools and things they run too and you can see if any would suit your DS maybe.
(I always found the Baptists to be more welcoming than the "traditional Christians" but that's just my experience)

Hardgoing Sat 08-Oct-11 00:08:57

Yes, but don't be upset if they mention Jesus.

Seriously, I would give him the opportunity if he likes doing things with this one friend. I wouldn't really care what the group was, as long as he had a friend (and I can tell this is a really big deal for you). My own personal experience is that churches are incredibly welcoming to new members, even if they are just popping in to check things out and see whether it would suit them.

Roseflower Sat 08-Oct-11 00:10:29

Yes this is very good; "but want my son to have a chance to choose...". This is not really about your beliefs but your son's.This is his chance to explore.

The church normally (unless they are rubbish) welcomes anyone with open arms.They are there to provide for the community and this excludes no-one. I imagine the church would be delighted.

Besides not everyone who attends church or meetings in church is a Christian- some do it just to get married, baptised or a school place! Others are exploring faith, might just enjoy the chance to reflect or simply enjoy the music!

Others just like you will go for community and friendship.

The church knows this.

GrimmaTheNome Sat 08-Oct-11 00:12:46

YANBU. If he would like to go, take him. He has special needs, he will need friends and support beyond you and maybe this church can help provide them. I'm an ex-christian myself - don't believe it but have very fond memories of the church I was raised in, it was like an extended family.

Its a pity that its hard to find a secular substitute. But anyway, its also reasonable that your son gets an opportunity to choose. And I can't imagine anyone objecting to your taking him - if they do then that's the wrong sort of church surely.

AgentZigzag Sat 08-Oct-11 00:14:22

No christian would be offended.

You should take what you need from the church, it's what it's there for.

Your thoughts and beliefs are your own affair.

TastyMuffins Sat 08-Oct-11 00:22:24

I'm not a Christian but take my son to church each year for the Christmas Carol service because I like it! It's good for children to have some understanding of religious services, far less awkward if they get invited to a wedding or funeral and have never been in a church before.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 08-Oct-11 00:30:30

I am with you belief-wise and was ready to say 'no way'. But, I have worked with a lot of people with ASD/LD etc. and the churches, temples, mosques and the like are FANTASTIC at creating a community, accepting people's differences and welcoming people who wouldn't necessarily be welcomed elsewhere. I have seen some people, who would have been very isolated otherwise, make friends, sing in choir, have something to do every week...

Also, I have friends from a lot of different faiths. I have always been made welcome at their events (at churches and so on) even though they are aware of my very fanatical rejection of religious belief

izzywhizzyletsgetbusy Sat 08-Oct-11 00:31:20

If you're simply going to be attending Sunday services, which are open to all, it's highly unlikely that your faith, or lack of, is going to be questioned by anyone.

Your ds will undoubtedly benefit from spending time with his friend in, what for him will be, a new venue and, regardless of belief in any man-made religion, childrens' bible stories are as good a way as any of introducing the concept of moral choice..

If your DS shows an interest in the Nativity, perhaps you could buy him a set for Christmas?

Rhinestone Sat 08-Oct-11 04:05:32

YANBU at all, you are going for your DS. Good for you for NOT imposing your beliefs on him.

marriedinwhite Sat 08-Oct-11 08:51:30

You are going to be accompanying your son into a community that may open up a new world for him, provide caring support for him (and probably you too regardless of your beliefs) and support a blossoming friendship. Who could possible criticise that? Fantastic I say and I wish you both the very best of luck on your mutual journey to find a supportive life for your son.

BetsyBoop Sat 08-Oct-11 09:06:32

Just try it & see, what have you got to lose?

I know my church would welcome you with open arms. I also suspect if there was a how-strong-is-your-faith-today-o-meter on the door then quite a few people wouldn't get in grin - as has already been said people go to church for a variety of reasons & are in difference places on their faith journey. I would be very suprised too if anyone questioned your beliefs, I've never known anyone do this in a church service.

In our congregation we have quite a few (adults and children) with LDs & disabilities & they do all sorts, serving, reading lessons etc & are a full part of our church family.

toddlerama Sat 08-Oct-11 09:13:10

The key is that you are allowing your son to see something and choose for himself. No-one could criticise that or resent you being there! YADNBU.

TBH, even if you were an atheist who just wanted to watch the service for your own reasons, I don't think any church would prefer you not to be there. Unless you were heckling...

weevilswobble Sat 08-Oct-11 09:25:07

You might be surprised at how well received a comment like 'i lean towards buddism' is received in a Christian church. You will find people will utterly accept your point of view! Christians who really accept christianity, and arent just going through the religious/ churchy motions will welcome you and your DS. X

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