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Why did you christen DC if non religious?

(22 Posts)
MamaPingu Wed 05-Feb-14 17:38:27

I am wanting to christen my son but I don't know why. I just have an urge to do it, it's not for the party or anything it just feels the right thing to do!

I'm not religious at all either so I don't understand why I feel the need to christen my DS.
I just do confused

I know a lot of people christen their children despite not being particularly religious. Did you feel similar to me or was it for the celebration side?

CuteLittleToes Wed 05-Feb-14 17:58:24

You are not religious, but what if your DC will be? I think it's worth it so that they have that option in future IYSWIM

radiatormesh Wed 05-Feb-14 18:02:35

Why do you want to get them christened if you don't believe?

The whole purpose of a christening is to welcome the child into the family of God/the Church, and you will have to stand up and make promises about your belief and how you'll raise the child in accordance with those beliefs.

If you want to celebrate your child, then have a party. But don't get him or her baptised unless you can make those promises.

sneakyday Wed 05-Feb-14 18:09:35

I think for non religious people Christenings are either simply the done thing, or represent welcoming a child into the world, family and community.

I disagree that a child should be christened incase they wish to be religious in the future. If a child becomes religious they can be christenedater if they so wish.

Personally I find the idea of non christian God parents making promises they cant, or wont keep, in church a little hipocritical.

sneakyday Wed 05-Feb-14 18:11:29

* christened later

starlight1234 Wed 05-Feb-14 18:13:38

I am not religious so didn't christen my Ds...However at school he learnt about religion..wanted to go to church then wanted to get christened...so was christened at 6...

It does feel nice it was his choice and something he can remember

Indith Wed 05-Feb-14 18:14:45

A post on a local FB group I'm on the other day was from a mum wanting to have her child christened and asking if there were any churches near her house and if so which was the nearest.

I pulled a hmm face and refrained from replying because I'd probably have ended up saying something I shouldn't and getting told off.

Why MamaPingu? A Christening is bringing your child into the family of the church and promising to bring them up in the ways of God until such a time as they are able to make a decision over their faith themselves (confirmation).

If it is the traditional celebration, making a name all official and that sort of thing then why not have a naming ceremony?

msrisotto Wed 05-Feb-14 18:16:47

I don't have children yet but I am atheist and got married in a church. Some things are cultural... I grew up in a christian culture which includes all these family bound traditions. I don't consider myself hypocritical for not distancing myself from all aspects of my upbringing. Maybe it is similar for you?

WhoNickedMyName Wed 05-Feb-14 18:17:02

We got DS christened when he was 3, to give him a chance of getting into the best school in our area.

DH and I were both brought up as Catholics, DH is now atheist, I'm a Christmas and Easter attendee at church.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Wed 05-Feb-14 18:17:39

I had my two christened because we were. And it's the done thing. And it was the perfect excuse for a big proper family get together. God was perfectly welcome to come to the piss up if it liked.

Anothermrssmith Wed 05-Feb-14 18:29:31

I'm not religious at all and neither is my husband,we were married in a nice hotel and won't be having our daughter christened, to me its hypocritical to stand in a church and make vows i know i wont keep (for the same reason if a religious friend asked me to be a god parent im not sure i could do it). However we have been looking into a humanist naming ceremony,a friend of ours had a humanist wedding and it was lovely,the celebrant really got to know them which really made it personal and special. And instead of having god parents you have odd parents which sums us up perfectly! I can't link to the humanist society website as on phone but google them if you want to celebrate your new arrival. I think most registrars will do them as well.

My guess is that people expect a baby to be christened and that's why you feel like you should do it,there are alternatives though so look into all your options.

DipMeInChocolate Wed 05-Feb-14 18:34:53

Some do it to get their kids into the local primary school. I considered it briefly as we are opposite the school and didn't want to have to travel to the non dom school. We didn't in the end and got in on distance.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 05-Feb-14 18:47:19

MamaPingu, maybe it's the calling of God! grin

It's simplistic to say "if you don't believe, you're a hypocrite to have your child christened" as some posters have suggested.

If you don't believe WHAT, exactly? After all the churches and an army of theologians have been arguing for over 2000 years about how to describe the christian faith. How can the transcendent be adequately described in human words by humans anyway?

Faith and belief is a journey of discovering during which your faith and beliefs evolve. It's not a tick box questionnaire that says "if you can tick all these boxes, you're in!". The Church ought to be much better at making that clear.

St Thomas and several others of the pillars of our church found it difficult to believe without physical evidence. So do we. If difficult believing is a bar to taking part, then you are in good company.

I would say, OP, if you have an "urge" to have your DS christened, then go with that. It's far from hypocritical, it is meaningful and perhaps a significant point on your own spiritual journey, wherever that might lead.

nldm1 Wed 05-Feb-14 19:21:45

I was about to post something similar to what bumpsadaisie has said, but she's worded it so well, there's not a lot more I can add other than to tell you than my dad was a supeintendant methodist minister until his retirement a couple of years ago. Over the years he performed a lot of weddings and baptisms for people he knew to not hold religious beliefs. He took the service for my own wedding and DH is agnostic rather than Christian. His view, which I've personally found to be shared by, although not all, many religious leaders, was that all are welcome. He believes the God loves us all, whether we believe or not and he felt that it was his job to put this welcome and care in to practice.
I think that you should go with what you feel is right, whether you understand the reasons for this urge yet or not.
All the best x

Willthisworknow Wed 05-Feb-14 20:58:42

The alternative is a naming ceremony - non religious equivalent and most registry offices do it. I was brought up going to Sunday school blah, but felt its up to my children in they want to be religious or not! Plus it meant being responsible adults sat a bit better with my mixed cultural friends to be kinda godparents.

However, my brother who was brought up Protestant was baptised and confirmed and could only have the blessing of the polish catholic to marry his then fiancee because my parents had done all these things! So.... But religion is changing and I think it's more important to teach right from wrong than worry about what form of marking the occasion you decide.

Willthisworknow Wed 05-Feb-14 21:06:43

Ps we had a naming ceremony for my 2 children. Everyone thought it was lovely despite religious denominations as the responsible adults decided how they wanted to,address my children thru stories and reading. Was a great dat tho I've had another child since then so will do the same. I was married in church but being a scientist, I'm really questioning what it's all about!

MamaPingu Wed 05-Feb-14 21:12:07

Thankyou for all your replies I have just read through them all now!

I think like some posters said I think it's because all my family are christened I feel this need to christen my own son.

I do feel like I have the values and morals of a Christian in a community sense. And if I'm perfectly honest I wished I did believe in god. I have recently been talking to a lady who comes delivering leaflets about god and faith and it keeps reminding me of this feeling I have.
I just don't have a reason to believe, I am a bit of a science lover and seem to go with facts and figures. But I do wish I had a faith.

So it isn't like I am completely against religion it's just I'm struggling to find myself within it really! That's the only way I can explain how I feel!

I'm still not entirely convinced entirely as to why I want him christening. I think it might be to do with joining the family and that a naming ceremony wouldn't be the same.

It's nice to know that those who actually do the ceremonies are understanding that many people today are not religious and they accept god loves them equally.

radiatormesh Wed 05-Feb-14 21:19:09

bumps - it's not hypocritical! During a baptism parents are asked questions like "Do you believe and trust in God and Jesus?" (paraphrasing). They are specific questions about your faith not just a 'do you have faith in something but you're not quite sure what'???!

cosmos239 Wed 05-Feb-14 22:23:30

Speak to your local vicar there are usually options for having a blessing service or similar to thank God for the child but where no promises are needed by the parents. For baptism parents are answering specific questions, chat to the vicar and see what these would be in that church and take it from there. You might even find there's something more in the way of faith in toy than you think.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 05-Feb-14 22:55:54

"Do you believe and trust in God"?

I answer yes to that question. But I know my believing and trusting may well be quite different to others'.

Some people answer that question in the affirmative because they think there is a god up there in heaven with whom they have a real interactive relationship. Other people will say they believe an trust in God not because they hear god talking to them in a personal relationship kind of way but because for example they trust in the teaching of Christ as the truth as revealed through the Gospels.

Others like the OP may have very little idea about what they believe but feel that there is something important worth exploring - they trust in that sense.

In any event when baptism was done by Jesus, people weren't required to use the form of words now used as these were written much later by (human) church fathers. So I personally wouldn't get too hung up on the form of words and see it more as maintaining a link with the traditions of the church. For example I agreed to reject the devil when I was baptised and when I stood godparent - I don't believe literally in the Devil and I interpret that statement as an commitment to try and reject all that keeps us from being truly and wholly what we were created and called to be as humans.

To "qualify" for baptism it's enough to want to be baptised. Most clergy share that view.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 05-Feb-14 23:12:51

They are specific questions about your faith not just a 'do you have faith in something but you're not quite sure what'???!

@ Radiator - God is the name or label we humans give to, or the conceptualisation we have of, the transcendent and the divine. Of course we "aren't sure what"! Given our humanity, how can we be anything but unsure?

Blessings smile

teaandbiscuits2012 Fri 07-Feb-14 02:54:57

How about a thanksgiving service if you aren't sure about a baptism at the moment? I think this may be similar to what Cosmos239 mentioned. The CofE website has some info on it

http://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/texts/initiation/thanksgiftchild.aspx

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