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Religious names when parents are atheists?

(39 Posts)
Screamer Mon 03-Sep-12 11:17:41

We have DS1 who is Samuel and are expecting DS2 soon. We are really struggling for boys names (had loads of girls names!). I like the name Isaac but am concerned about having two overtly religious (Hebrew) names when both DH and I are atheists. Do you think this would be strange and would people make assumptions about us (when hearing our DS names) or am I overthinking it?

Badgerina Mon 03-Sep-12 11:21:17

Definitely over-thinking it IMO grin

Bunbaker Mon 03-Sep-12 11:24:18

It doesn't matter. My sister's children both have biblical names and BIL is a fully paid up atheist (and a bigot to boot).

Frontpaw Mon 03-Sep-12 11:25:27

It doesn't really matter. My mum was religious and none of us have biblical names!

FalseStartered Mon 03-Sep-12 11:29:28

all 3 of my DCs have 'biblical' names - by this i mean they were adopted by whomever wrote the bible as names for the characters in their stories wink

the names are an extension of the chicken vs egg scenario IMO

caz05 Mon 03-Sep-12 12:32:20

I have an Isaac and are not religious at all. In fact I didn't even know it was a religious name until after we had named him when my gran told me. I would worry in the slightest and think you are over thinking it.

Go for Issa it's a lovely Name and still unusual in our area

Teapot13 Mon 03-Sep-12 13:12:55

I think the vast majority of the names currently in use originally relate back to a religious figure, saint, or qualities that religious people find desirable (i.e., virtue names). It would seem to me that you would really be narrowing your choices by excluding on this basis!

squoosh Mon 03-Sep-12 13:22:00

I certainly wouldn't assume that parents of an Isaac and a Samuel were religious. They're mainstream names these days. I would assume that the parents of Ezekiel and Hephzibah were religious and also the parents of Feargod or Repentance.

weaselm4 Mon 03-Sep-12 13:23:58

My children have biblical names, and we are Christians, but the two have no relation to each other. DS is (sortof) named after an actor and DD is named after a TV character.

I do get asked if we're religious, but personally think they're just names, and if you like them you should use them!

ProudNeathGirl Mon 03-Sep-12 13:25:47

My DDs have biblical names. We chose them for what they mean though, not because they are biblical.

Ham69 Mon 03-Sep-12 13:26:41

Don't worry about it. I'm not religious in the slightest and I chose my son's first name because I liked the sound of it and his middle name after my brother. It's Theo Christopher, very religious meanings, but I don't care!

Ploom Mon 03-Sep-12 13:26:56

2 of my 3 dc have Russian names and I've never been to Russia! Just choose the name you like and stick with it. smile

ShatnersBassoon Mon 03-Sep-12 13:27:32

Those names just happen to be the same as some characters' from the bible, they're not set aside for people who think the bible is the truth etc.

susiegrapevine Mon 03-Sep-12 13:36:43

Both me and dh are atheists and our boys are called Eli and Jacob both bibical names but we chose them cos we like them it did not occur to us that people might think we are relgious because of them and if they did who cares? Plus when I chose Eli I did not know it was in the bible till my dad told me I also got the name from an american tv show lol!

minipie Mon 03-Sep-12 15:04:34

I'm clearly in the minority but I probably would assume the parents of Samuel and Isaac were Christian or (more likely) Jewish. I don't think that means you shouldn't use the names though - so what if people make wrong assumptions.

chipmonkey Mon 03-Sep-12 15:22:47

I might think Jewish too. If gave it any thought at all!

AlwaysHoldingOnToStars Mon 03-Sep-12 16:02:18

I have Caleb and Reuben and we are not remotely religious. We just loved the names. My aunt and a friend did wonder if we'd found religion, but most people have never mentioned it.

AWomanCalledHorse Mon 03-Sep-12 16:24:55

If they were called Jebadiah & Salome I would assume you were religious. But Sam & Isaac are so mainstream now it doesn't matter.

MolatovBomb Mon 03-Sep-12 16:32:06

It doesn't matter. All the best boys names are Hebrew (in my humble opinion!). My DH is an atheist also (I'm pantheist - God is nature and all that) and even he has okayed the name Gabriel if we ever have a son (we have 2 DDs).

mrsbugsywugsy Mon 03-Sep-12 16:42:11

Go for it. They are names from the myths and legends that form part of our culture. No one would assume that you worship the ancient norse gods if you called your baby Freya, would they?

strugglingwiththepreteenbit Mon 03-Sep-12 16:43:09

Interesting. Within my church community you would get a lot of approving nods if you introduced your children as Samuel and Isaac. As the kids got older there would also be a strong expectation that the children would know their namesake's stories well, before they came up in Sunday school. All of the children who had church-attending parents at the time of their birth have at last one name from the Bible that I can think of.
Depends on the circles you move insmile

mrsbugsywugsy Mon 03-Sep-12 16:46:58

I should add I have a biblical name, despite being an atheist and having atheist parents. When I was a little girl I had a book with her story in it, which I loved.

AnnieLobeseder Mon 03-Sep-12 16:49:00

You are absolutely overthinking it! We are two atheist Jews who ended up with Greek names for the DDs. It never occurred to me that anyone would notice or care.

Lovely names, BTW. Good strong Hebrew names! grin

All three of mine have saints names (deliberately) and we're raging atheists smile Nobody will think deeply into your choice of names except you.

StormGlass Mon 03-Sep-12 18:27:26

You're overthinking it.

A lot of commonly used names in Britain are originally from the Bible, or were saints names - not surprising given that Christianity's historically been part of British culture.

I think that a lot of children with a biblical / saint's name have that name because it sounds familiar / traditional / fairly normal within our culture (as well as a name the parents like, of course) - not because they're from a religious family.

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