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To not understand why Godparents exist?

(50 Posts)
giddypig Thu 11-May-17 22:31:51

What is the point of them? Especially if you're not religious?

I have a friend who is an atheist, but has two godchildren. I don't understand!

hibbledobble Thu 11-May-17 22:35:00

Traditionally they commit to raising the godchildren should the parents die.

giddypig Thu 11-May-17 22:36:23

But usually that would be another family member, surely? Also it isn't a commitment as they're no legal document etc.

PurpleDaisies Thu 11-May-17 22:36:43

That's not the case any more though hibble.

We as religious but I can understand that it gives the child a responsible adult to talk to outside their parents if they need someone.

Wolfiefan Thu 11-May-17 22:37:29

If you're not religious then it means very little. If you are then it's about being an extra guide in matters of faith etc.

chastenedButStillSmiling Thu 11-May-17 22:38:31

Surely everyone knows this.... Your fairy one conjurors up a coach from a pumpkin and footmen who used to be mice and wonderful glass slippers so that you CAN go to the ball....

We've all got one.

giddypig Thu 11-May-17 22:38:52

Is it only Christians that do it?

Gingernaut Thu 11-May-17 22:39:07

As above.

In the days when life was nasty, brutish and short and nearly everyone was illiterate, godparents stepped in to raise your kids and look after your stuff until your children were 'of age' to use it themselves.

It was a way of publicly proclaiming to the world your dying wishes, should you cark it and not leave a will.

LivininaBox Thu 11-May-17 22:39:25

If you're not religious then you might like it as a way to give a special role to a close friend, especially if you don't have much family. And some people appoint godparents without having an actual christening, for that reason.

Years ago, it was about getting connections for your child, so you would ask someone with money/status to do it.

2014newme Thu 11-May-17 22:39:38

It's not a commitment to raise the children if their parents die. That's a guardianship which is usually stated in the parents wills.

Godparents is a religious commitment only.
Yes it's ridiculous for an Atheist to be a godparent.

giddypig Thu 11-May-17 22:39:52

My friend couldn't do that with a pumpkin. She's a microwave meal kinda Godmother.

user1493759849 Thu 11-May-17 22:40:59

Agree with the OP. I don't know a single person over the age of 10 who has anything to do with their Godparents. confused

Some of my friends/work colleagues etc, and even some extended family members don't even know who theirs are!

giddypig Thu 11-May-17 22:41:56

I wonder why that has to be a public thing that goes on when the LO's a baby? If the child develops a bond with an adult - teacher, neighbour, Brown Owl, whomever, surely that's how they find someone to talk to?

2014newme Thu 11-May-17 22:42:13

"appoint godparents" without a christening just means sayin that Tom, Dick or Harry are the godparents. There is no official godparents process other than a christening and no "appointing".
The role is purely religious.

2014newme Thu 11-May-17 22:43:38

You may want your friends who are godparents to look after your child in the event of your death but unless it's in the will, it counts for nothing regardless of godparents status

Ameliablue Thu 11-May-17 22:43:57

Well the clue is in the name so yes it's pretty pointless if you are an atheist. A sponsor would perhaps be a better term. The point is supposed to be help parents bring the child up to know right from wrong.

Babyroobs Thu 11-May-17 22:43:57

It is odd but they must realise their commitment as a god parent surely. Aren't they meant to guide the child in their faith?
I have 3 godchildren. At the time of becoming their godmother I was a Christian but have somewhat gone away form it now.
I only see my goddaughter now and very infrequently.
The other two I have lost touch with and they are grown men now. However they came form a very chaotic dysfunctional family ( abuse, born to a very young mum, both parents mentally ill etc). In their very early years I took my repsonsibilities very seriously in a practical wayrather than spititual, buying them things they needed ( they lived in poverty), taking them for days out, taking them for weekends to give their mentally ill dad a break when their parents split and their dad was bringing them up alone, arranging one of them a fifth birthday party when his dad was too depressed to bother etc. Even though I don't see them now I like to think I made a bit of difference to their early lives as much as I could. I lost touch with them when I met my dh and we moved abroad for a few years. I do still often think of them and know about their lives even though I don't see them anymore.

Steamgirl Thu 11-May-17 22:44:20

We appointed 'godparents' for our children as a way of acknowledging the special role of close friends in their lives. One of them in particular was a brilliant support to me and my dc when exH and I split and gave a very important sense of support and continuity to the dc when things were very tricky with exH' side of the family

PaperdollCartoon Thu 11-May-17 22:44:50

Godparents support the parents and the child, pray for them and guide them spritually. I have some and I am one, this involved religious ceremonies. Yes I am religious. But just 'appointing' godparents with no Christening is ridiculous and a bugbear of mine. It's a real thing not just an extra title to use as you wish.

Silvertap Thu 11-May-17 22:47:02

I have a great relationship with my godparents. One was very good at just being another adult I could talk too.

I take my responsibilities as godparent seriously - I pray for them and I try to support them. As they're young that means taking them to my church at Xmas or inviting them for a summer BBQ. As they get older there'll always be a place at my table if they need it

LadySalmakia Thu 11-May-17 22:47:20

I'm a guide-parent to a wonderful little girl, which is a secular version of godparent. We see the responsibility as being more like a trusted special non-related aunt and uncle - we're there for her to confide in us and be another trusted set of adults to help her noodle things out as she grows up. So we're not friends exactly, but we are positive outside influences who understand how her parents wish to raise her and will act in her best interests whilst bearing that in mind.

I suspect this is going to involve at least one late night rescue starting "please don't tell mum but..." once she hits 16 or so! But we've got her parents as our child's guide parents and so trust them to do the same for ours.

2014newme Thu 11-May-17 22:47:37

@steamgirl would your friend not have offered the same support if he wasn't a godparent?

giddypig Thu 11-May-17 22:47:53

I'll 'fess up. I do have a friend who's an atheist but has two god children, but I suppose the reason I'm asking is because a good friend (different friend) has asked me and DH to be Godparents to her newborn.

I'm as atheist as they come. Even the thought of going to a Christening seems silly to me. I have VERY little respect for religion and my friend knows this. She's not particularly religious herself.

So, I don't know what to say. I would help and support the baby if needed anyway, which all goes without saying. However, we don't even live in the same part of the country, so again, it all seems a bit unnecessary.

I just wondered if there was something that I was missing.

elephantscansing Thu 11-May-17 22:49:06

You have to be Christian to appoint godparents. Otherwise, what's the
Point?

Godparents help to guide. A child to make the right decisions as they are growing up - they are someone else to talk to, for the child, apart from its parents.

The clue is in the word 'God' - only people who believe in God will have godparents for their DC.

LadySalmakia Thu 11-May-17 22:49:35

Oh and I have been asked to be a godparent to friends' children and have refused because I'm an atheist.

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