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Atheist godmother?

9 replies

MrsWembley · 06/08/2011 06:48

One of my best friends has asked me to be godmum to her second child. I was honoured but also surprised as I lost any belief I had several years ago. I explained this to her and she was surprised too - she hadn't realised, but then it's not something you go on about unless you're a bit of a Dawkins, eh! She still wanted me and said it didn't matter to her if it didn't matter to me.

The other day she asked me again if I was sure about being her DS's godmum - I think she realised I was a little unsure/uncomfortable about it. I told her if she was ok with me not doing the god stuff with her son then that was fine, still honoured, etc. She said if I didn't want to then I would be DS's 'special friend'. I still said, no, happy to do it, so pleased you want me.

But I don't know how comfortable I feel about standing up and lying in front of a whole bunch if people. She's effectively given me a back-out and I'm wondering whether to take it.

OP posts:
moonbells · 06/08/2011 07:02

Simply stand there. When I became Godmother to twins a few years back, I was the only practicing Christian in the lot. One chap just stood there not saying anything, one mouthed along and I can't remember what the 4th one did.

You aren't lying if you say nothing.

I suspect most of DS's Godparents were just mouthing along, too! Not that they told me they had a problem...

MrsShrekTheThird · 06/08/2011 07:08

Having asked friends to be godparents to my dc only this week myself, I thought I'd put my pennyworth in... IMHO it kinda depends a bit who the other godparents are, along with whether you and the dcs mum think that the role is mainly for support with the child's faith. For mine, I have chosen one with a particularly strong faith, and one who is less so but still a good role model for my child in every other way and who will support their journey into the church family and explore their faith but not particularly participate in it iyswim - it's my job as their mum to take them to church and stuff. The one who's not hugely into church will always be someone who is there for them to refer to and will promote their 'growth' in so many ways, personally I think that's important too. Bottom line is, if you feel you'd be lying in the baptism itself, then don't put yourself through it. But if you think you could support the child and parents then you're not lying! Be kinder to yourself and have another conversation with your friend. Someone who's going to stick around through thick and thin is better than someone who says the right stuff in church but then vanishes.

Donki · 06/08/2011 07:11

It may depend on the rector - I am godparent to 2 children. One vicar was only concerned that I should have been baptised CofE. The other didn't care about whether I was baptised, but interviewed me at length to make sure I was a 'proper' Christian... (whatever that is, but I passed his test of acceptability!)

BikeRunSki · 06/08/2011 07:13

I have turned down requests to be a Godmother twice on the basis of my atheism. Not that I was not flattered. To be a Godmother you are being asked to guide the child's religious and spitritual delevlopment, which is something that I did not feel I could to without being hyprocritical, which rather defeated the point. I think you are lying if you don't say anything, because of the situation you are in. I was raised Catholic, so the the significance of Godparents is important to me, mine were certainly not token figures and I did not think I could rightly replicate this role.

In the end, with both children, they were given my first name as a middle name (luckily both girls!) to give them a bond to me.

EldonAve · 06/08/2011 07:46

I'd speak to your friend again
If you are both happy go ahead

exoticfruits · 06/08/2011 08:20

I wouldn't do it. We couldn't have people that we really wanted as godparents-we knew they couldn't make the vows and didn't put them on the spot by asking them. Just say that you will be happy to regard yourself, informally, in the role-will go to the christening but not be official.
Have you read the vows recently-they are very specific.

MrsWembley · 06/08/2011 09:45

Thanks for the responses - lots to consider.

I have read the stuff before, standing in front of the font to my two other godchildren. The first was years ago when I didn't even think about the whole 'is there a god?' thing. The second was not so long ago and I was beginning to question then. I remember feeling a little odd about the things I was saying, which is probably why I'm seriously wondering what to do now.

The parents of my godchildren don't really worry about it now, they know I'm perfectly capable of looking after the moral/ethical etc. even if I won't do the religious side. Yes, as someone said, they have other godparents to do that stuff. I have thought about not saying anything and just standing there, but won't people be a bit Hmm about that?

OP posts:
exoticfruits · 06/08/2011 12:29

The vicar might be!

EldonAve · 14/08/2011 12:41

Just seen an opinion piece on this in the guardian

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