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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?

Crinkle77 Wed 01-May-13 10:18:03

yeah I agree. I also hate the way people have these big tacky parties in pubs or social houses afterwards and everyone gets pissed.

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Wed 01-May-13 10:19:55

make title doesn't your sense

Illustrationaddict Wed 01-May-13 10:21:43

I don't think churches are as strict anymore, my mums vicar said I could have the local church for my wedding because she goes, but chose against as felt hypocritical.

My DN is being christened soon, IL's do not attend church though. My DC is nearly one, I told MIL ( who is very pro christening) that I was thinking of throwing her a party with say 30ish close friends and family. She said DC would not remember, so why bother?

Have to say I was seething, as shortly after DC was born I had a family bereavement, so it felt wrong to celebrate, and we won't be christening DC unless they want it when they can decide for themselves. Feel like as I don't use the church for my own end DC is missing out. Gonna throw DC a birthday party though, they deserve some fuss!

Umlauf Wed 01-May-13 10:23:48

YABU and quite judgy. People choose to christen their children for all sorts of reasons.

I will be Christening my baby for the following reasons:

-although I don´t regularly attend church (no anglican church in the country I live in anyway) I dont not believe in God and wouldn't want to risk my child´s soul no matter how small the risk.
-lots of people have been asking about the Christening as they want to meet the baby and it is assumed there will be one
- I find naming ceremonies a little pointless - registry office weddings OK because being married can have a legal effect on your life but being 'named' can't.
- I love looking in old church records, finding Shakespeare's name in the Stratford-U-A church record for example, and think it's lovely to be part of a long, long tradition and history.

DH isn't religious but would always opt for a religious ceremony over a naming one. We only have one godparent though as we don't want anyone lying through their teeth at the font.


valiumredhead Wed 01-May-13 10:25:21

I was prepared to christen ds just so he could get into a C of E school if need be - get yourself worked up in knots about THAT wink

Illustrationaddict Wed 01-May-13 10:25:26

Sorry wtfisabooywhoisbooywho, but most people got what I meant!

aldiwhore Wed 01-May-13 10:26:38

YABU but only because you haven't considered all the various reasons for Christening a child.

I got my eldest son Christened because my Granny was on her last legs, and it was THE thing to do... I didn't want to cause her upset so late in her life and tbh, it was no skin off my nose either way.

I didn't Christen my youngest because by then Granny was playing scrabble in heaven so there was no need, no risk of upsetting anyone, and I really didn't see the point seeing as I'm not a paid up member of the Church. Had I been still living in my childhood village, I suspect that although I wouldn't attend church all the time both children would have been Christened purely because it was part of the fabric of the local community, believer or not.

Iwantmybed Wed 01-May-13 10:29:13

It depends on whether you have a faith. I don't agree that to be a Christian you must attend church regularly. If you don't have a faith then christening your child is very odd. I don't understand how you can make vows to bring up the child with God if you don't believe it. For some its about the party, for some its about getting into the school.

PlasticLentilWeaver Wed 01-May-13 10:29:14

My point was that we got married in church a) because I was still on the fence about christianity, and had attended my family church on most trips home, so it felt right and b) it kept my parents happy (much like christenings!). Because DH had not been christened, the vicar was extremely reluctant to marry us, and we had to jump all sorts of hoops and extra grovels to be allowed to marry in that church. For the sake of a brief ceremony when my kids were babies, it avoids them having to jump those same hurdles should they want to get married in church.

Neither was what I would call showy. A bunch of good friends and close family, half an hour of church and home for lunch. There probably ended up being about 40-50 at each, but by the time you account for parents, stepparents, grandparents, godparents and partners, siblings and their partners, everyone's children, it's quite easy to end up with quite a lot of people without intending to.

Pootles2010 Wed 01-May-13 10:29:17

Umlauf one of the points of a naming ceremony is the point you made before - lots of people want to meet the baby! Or are we heathens not allowed celebrations?

aldiwhore Wed 01-May-13 10:29:29

Illustrationaddict I should add that your reasons ANU!

And for our youngest, instead of a Christening, we had a 'welcome to the world' BBQ for friends and family... nothing wrong with celebration after all is there? smile

likeitorlumpit Wed 01-May-13 10:29:36

i got my 2 christened / baptised to get into a school ,i regret it now and wish i let them choose when they were older , they say they choose not to be and dont go to church , it wasnt their choice so to them they are not christened .

loofet Wed 01-May-13 10:32:12

Hmm bit of both really. Yabu for assuming a person has to regularly attend church to be a Christian but yanbu with regards to those who actually don't have a belief and still do it- that's just a bit weird imo. I'm sure some do it for the 'party' and the presents.. Some I guess its just 'family tradition' but I wouldn't be able to be so hypocritical as to Christen my kids a faith I have no belief in myself.

VoiceofUnreason Wed 01-May-13 10:33:53


AnAirOfHope Wed 01-May-13 10:37:34

I dont go to church, im not chriszened, im wiccan, i got both my kids christened.

My reason are
1) my husband is christen and he is christened
2) if my child died i want them to be looked after
3) It was a nice day with family
4) so they could get married in church when an adult if they want or be a godparent themselves
5) if they wanted to go to a faith high school
6) Its the tradition: Christened, married and bueried in the same church.

Bue Wed 01-May-13 10:38:53

On Mumsnet you are not allowed to have anything to do with church or religion unless you are a weekly attender and a fervent believer. It's one of those strange MN attitudes that doesn't reflect reality at all. Many people have lukewarm faith or are a bit wishy washy about religion or are attached to the cultural aspects of religion. And it has been ever thus!

No one on here ever seems to have an issue with Jews who rarely attend synagogue having bar and bat mitzvahs for their teenagers, so why should you have to be the World's Best Christian in order to baptise your children?

Illustrationaddict Wed 01-May-13 10:39:23

Missymooandherbeaverofsteel, just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss.

likeitorlumpit Wed 01-May-13 10:40:17

anairofhope can you not get married in a church if you are not christened ?

L8tlyK8tly Wed 01-May-13 10:40:44

I christened both of mine because my paretns expected it and it was easier to go with the flow. DH really didn't want to as he professes not to believe in God. I have not regularly attended church since I was a teenager and for a while I did feel a bit bad as I don't bring them to church but if fact I do. I bring them TO the church and we light a candle and say a prayer I just don't bring them to formal services unless it's specifically for children. I have reaffirmed my own belief in God and am now trying to encourage my childrens beliefs without shoving it down their throats in a hellfire and brimstone way as was done in my childhood. I am at ease with this form of christianity and the God I believe in thinks this is just fine too! What I really really object to is communions and christenings and marriages where it's all about appearances and barely, if at all, a nod to the spiritual side of things.

NinaHeart Wed 01-May-13 10:41:20

I'm a Christian and regular church goer and I do find this odd.

BTW, churches (C of E) don't make any money out of weddings or Christenings bar what is in the collection plate. The rest is payable in various fees and legal costs.

livinginwonderland Wed 01-May-13 10:42:26

i just think it's unfair to baptise an innnocent child into a religion! they're babies, they can't choose, so why force them into a religion that they might not want to be a part of?

i'm not religious and i would be pretty pissed off if my parents had baptised me as a child. my religion should be my choice, not theirs.

cleoowen Wed 01-May-13 10:45:27

I find it strange too if people have christenings when they don't go to church. We have been to a few of them recently. These people got married in church so I guess they feel it's right to have ds christened too.

flowery Wed 01-May-13 10:48:31

Don't know about showy, or about attendance at church.

But christening a child when you are not a Christian is hypocritical imo. It's a very significant thing for practicing Christians so people doing it because family want it or because they want a 'do' for their baby are undermining the ceremony and making promises they have no intention of keeping, which is disrespectful.

Also what livinginwonderland said, about letting a child choose it's own religion, or not to be religious at all, when they are old enough to do so.

Weegiemum Wed 01-May-13 10:48:34

I'm a Christian (weekly attender) and we havent had our dc baptised.

Dh and I were "christened" as babies and actually on independently developing faith when older, it made things more complicated than if it hadn't happened.

Eventually we had all 3 dc dedicated in a Sunday morning service in our new church, and in the same service dh and I were baptised by full immersion - it was a fabulous occasion.

Then we had a party. There were no presents (though the dcs "sponsor" - bil and sil - gave them each a bible, and our sponsors - good friends from church - gave us a lovely prayer book.

Unsurprisingly, we are members of he Baptist church!

craftycottontail Wed 01-May-13 10:48:55

YANBU though faith / belief / superstition / needing to please family are complicated issues

I find the whole thing odd, christenings originated from high infant mortality rates and the resulting superstition that a child wouldn't go to heaven without being baptised.

The Bible IMO actually advocates 'believe and be baptised' ie as a person able to articulate a preference, so I think it's totally ridiculous that the CofE still extorts money from people to perform a ceremony rooted in superstition rather than belief. (Oh I have a lot of CofE issues though!!)

I was dedicated as a baby, it was a really informal thing done in the usual church service of the church my family attended. It's a simple way of the parents introducing the baby to the church and the church promising to support the family. I prefer that because it's usually done within the church family ie with people you already know and love and to whom those promises mean something. There wouldn't have been a charge. Then I had an adult baptism (full dunking) at 14 when I was ready to commit for myself.

I got married in a CofE church and don't remember there being any discussion about whether we had been christened or not - this must vary from vicar to vicar?? We did however attend the church so maybe it only comes up if you have a more tenuous link?

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