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Christenings for agnostics and 'social Christians'

(15 Posts)
ninah Mon 16-May-05 11:46:48

We have been invited to a christening at the weekend by dp's friend and partner (who also happens to be one of dp's exes). Dp would really like ds christened but I have held out for a number of reasons, the main one being my lack of Christian conviction. Also we are not married and it seems a bit hypocritical. dp however thinks it unfair on ds to miss out. Dp is not church going and I would not immediately take him for a Christian, but in his social set do these kind of gatherings are the norm, and I am beginning to feel like a weirdo. What does anyone else think?

WigWamBam Mon 16-May-05 11:48:48

What about a humanist naming ceremony? You get the special day without feeling a hypocrite. You can have a humanist celebrant conduct the service, your own poems, readings if you want them, and it can be held almost anywhere you like.

WigWamBam Mon 16-May-05 11:49:59

More info here

Frizbe Mon 16-May-05 11:52:32

Ah my friends had this situation, her dp wanted dd christned and his good lady was not bothered as didn't practice a religion, but to suit his family they got dd christened.....this would be a totally irrelevant story, were it not for them moving house 6 years later and the only thing that got their dd into the local CofE very good school was her being christened and new to the area! (they had to appeal again people who already had some kids in the school and managed to get in) Her dp now has to do the church thing once or twice a month, as it's 'expected' by the village (ARGHHHHHHH IMO, but their choice! his parnter still doesn't go )

ninah Mon 16-May-05 11:58:24

thanks WWB very much indeed I will check that out although I suspect dp will look askance, we'll see. At least it gives room for compromise!
Frizbe it really makes me squirm though, people signing up for stuff they don't believe in whatever the reasons, and benefitting from it only seems to make it feel more distasteful.

popmum Mon 16-May-05 12:03:19

Where do you live?
In know in Hertfordshire (& am sure other places) they do civil naming ceremonies - which we considered for our one. They look lovely - are similar to civil weddings. They carry no legal weight but you can have the whole ceremony with readings etc and a party

starlover Mon 16-May-05 12:06:22

i agree with you ninah that it is totally hypocritical.
Your ds won't "miss out"!
I don't think you can stand up in church and make a whole load of promises to bring your DS up as a christian etc when neither of you have any intention of doing so! This is precisely the reason why my ds will not be christened.

I think the humanist naming ceremony is a nice idea though!

ninah Mon 16-May-05 12:12:58

Thank goodness starlover I am not alone. I can't see past the principle, however bendy we agnostics are meant to be! I have sent dp wigwamb's link with a suggestion we include this in 3rd birthday party (yes, this debate's been raging on a while)

starlover Mon 16-May-05 13:36:41

also, there is nothing to stop your ds getting baptised or whatever when he is old enough to choose to do so himself!

we are having a naming day for DS as I wanted to have a party

ninah Mon 16-May-05 13:46:04

that it true, too
Would be mortified if he did tho LOL!

vkone Mon 16-May-05 14:37:22

I'm fortunate in not having this problem as my DH is very agnostic but have you checked with your partner that he's not worrying about the whole "purgatory" thing and not telling you.

Whilst many people can eschew any faith they are raised with, the rather nasty (IMO) idea that your child won't got to heaven if the unthinkable happens can be a strong motivator - maybe you should discuss this with him.

I agree with others that I think it's hypocritical to go ahead, but the whole social element is important these days. Maybe you could get everyone going for a few months (if you can bear it) and if your parnter still wants to go ahead then have a rethink (people may think you're just doing it for the presents otherwise! )


starlover Mon 16-May-05 15:41:11

just because you are christened does not guarantee you a place in heaven!
do you think murderers who were christened won't go to hell?

so that's no argument for it IMO

vkone Mon 16-May-05 20:23:34

True, but some doctrines believe that unless you are baptised, you can't get into heaven however good you are! Personnally I find this one of the most offputting bits of christianity

wysiwyg Mon 16-May-05 20:57:36

A friend of mine was not christened as a child, but had to do so in order to get married at the local church.
I feel that if you don't practise a religion then it's hypocritcal to have your children christened (same as getting married in a church because it's "nicer" than a registry office).
However lots of people would describe themselves as Christians but never set foot in a church except for christening, weddings, funerals.
The christening ceremony has quite strong language - about renouncing the devil etc - and, as an atheist, I would not be prepared to say such things, or pray etc in church although I would attend ceremonies in support of family and friends.
(I do however spend time with DD discussing/ learning about all world religions so she will be able to make her choice..)

Gem13 Mon 16-May-05 21:19:14

Christenings are the norm in my family (and DHs) but we didn't want one for our two.

We had Naming Ceremonies conducted by the registrar. We had exactly what we wanted - a welcome party for the children and we chose 'Supporting Adults' who will hopefully have a special relationship with 'their' children.

We could chose the words, our readings, etc. and had to promise to love them and guide them. The supporting adults (one of whom wants to be called a godfather) promised to help us look after them.

Good fun and special.

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