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When my baby is born - baptism question

20 replies

ZiaMaria · 04/09/2012 10:17

I am due to have my baby at the end of October, and the question of baptism has come up. To set the scene - I am athiest, as is my DH. MIL is a practising Catholic, FIL is (not sure how active) Anglican, SIL is athiest though will still go to church with MIL. My parents were raised Christian but are lapsed save when they feel particularly mortal.

DH thinks that the PILs will expect the baby to be baptised, and I don't know about my parents. DH therefore thinks we should get it done to keep the peace and avoid questions later.

Personally, I think it would be hypocritical and the idea of having a 'christening' with all the white gown and gifts (which always end up lost in the attic) and godparent malarkey is really not right. I am, however a hypocrite (sp?) because if the baby came and there was a problem, I would want her to be emergency baptised (not really sure why, other than that I am willing to entertain the idea that I could be wrong and there wouldn't be time to debate the finer points). The only difference I can really see between the two situations is that emergency baptism does not include godparents so I wouldn't be sucking anyone else into the hypocrisy.

So - WWYD? Have the baby baptised or not?

OP posts:
picnicbasketcase · 04/09/2012 10:22

You and your DH are the child's parents, do what YOU think is best, don't be pressured into doing something you don't agree with just to keep the peace. In my opinion, If you have no intention of bringing the child up as a Catholic or Christian or whatever, why would you get him or her baptised?

scaevola · 04/09/2012 10:23

Get it done, but without the ceremony/fuss/robe. Quick private service as PILs church, only parents and siblings there (have a selection from them as Godparents).

JammySplodger · 04/09/2012 10:30

Well I wouldn't / didn't just to keep various grandparents happy. Do it, or not, for your own reasons.

pumpkinsweetie · 04/09/2012 10:34

It all depends on you & your dhs beliefs.
If you are atheists and don't believe in the reasons behind it, it's entirely up to you what you do with your own baby.

Don't get your baby christened to please others x

GoldPlatedNineDoors · 04/09/2012 10:35

As an Atheist, I wouldnt baptise my child even if my father was the Pope.

I was given the freedom to decide if and what religion to like my dc to have the same choice.

Plus, I couldn't agree to what the priest would ask of me as the parent of a Catholic child and it would be hypocroticl of me to agree with what he would ask in a baptism.

Just me, of course, each to their own.

TheProvincialLady · 04/09/2012 10:37

I wouldn't even consider it if I was you. I am christian, my parents are atheist - I wouldn't not have christened my children out of respect for them. I honestly don't know how anyone can stand in church (or anywhere) and publically make a load of statements and promises that they don't believe in and don't intend to carry out.

scurryfunge · 04/09/2012 10:39

The issue for me would be lying about bringing the child up as a Christian during the ceremony. Why would you do that?

ZiaMaria · 04/09/2012 10:57

As an Atheist, I wouldnt baptise my child even if my father was the Pope. Grin And he'd be facing some very difficult questions...

I think it is the promises that really get me. I can't bring a child up as a Christian, because I am very much not one. I can understand that DH does not want to make waves, and I do love my PIL, but I can't help but feel that I should just let the baby grow up and decide for herself.

OP posts:
Startailoforangeandgold · 04/09/2012 11:09

The Cof E vicar who married DH and I was well aware that I don't believe in God. Even though he used to see me in church when we were visiting my PIL.

The church was an important part of my PILs lives and had always been part of DHs too.

This vicar had a particular bug bear about christenings as an excuse for a party for people he never saw in church again.

He knew I couldn't make baptism promises. So when DD came along he suggested we had a blessing for her instead.

He did it on Easter Sunday along side an adult baptism and it was beautiful. It fulfilled my DH and his parents wish to thank God for her safe arrival and asked him to care for her. It fulfilled my desire not to to make any promises for what she might choose to believe when she was older.

Link to a similar idea, but dated almost 18 months after DD's

ZiaMaria · 04/09/2012 11:12

Thanks startail. That might be a good compromise - I will investigate whether the local churches/vicars will offer it.

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nicki1978 · 04/09/2012 19:32

We had a similar conversation; i'm sure most of our families expected us to have our DS christened, particularly as were both christened and we'd married c of e.

I would like to have him christened but my DH was happy to go along with it but had said that he would rather wait until DS was old enough to decide for himself. After discussions about it i have agreed with DH.

You could always have a naming ceremony now at c of e and see if your DC wants this wen their older. Xx

EvenIfYouSeeAPoppy · 04/09/2012 19:38

I should think most C of E churches would offer a service of welcome/blessing for a child.

I really wouldn't have him/her baptised, certainly not just for the ILs. I am a practising Anglican, dh an atheist/agnostic, baptism was important to me. But we wouldn't have done it if I hadn't had an active faith.

IIWY I'd say ILs are welcome to take the child to church later on so he/she can discover faith for him/herself (and it has the bonus of a Sunday lie-in for you :) ). Then the child can make a decision for baptism if he/she so wishes. Ours were baptised as babies, but I very much get the arguments for believers' baptism.

TitsalinaBumSquash · 04/09/2012 19:43

I have this problem to come! DP and his family are Catholic ( although mostly lapsed ) but want this baby baptised. I am a non believer as it were. Does anyone know if the Catholic church would offer a blessing without the whole proper baptism? I'm not going to stand in a place of worship and agree to things I don't believe in!

StormGlass · 05/09/2012 07:56

I wouldn't have a child baptised unless I intended to follow through on the baptismal promises.

I also know practicing Christians, who attend church every week with their DCs, who have chosen not to have their DCs baptised as infants, because they want their DCs to make the decision themselves once old enough.

Having a blessing instead of a christening sounds like a good idea, if the churches near you will do this.

stripes1 · 05/09/2012 08:01

There is a liturgy in the C of E for a thanksgiving/welcome service. You don't have to make any promises and you can have sponsors rather than godparents who don't have to be Christians.

BikeRunSki · 05/09/2012 08:41

In a very, very similar situation we had a Humanist Welcoming (Naming) ceremony for DS. DH and I wanted to celebrate our baby but neither of is at all religious and I am.completely atheist. We had a civil wedding, so would have been particularly bizarre to have a christening. My bbc Catholic mother said it was the most lovely, personal and apt 'service' she'd ever attended. We are currently planning a similar ceremony for baby DD. I am on my phone right now, but I'd sugguest googling 'British Humanist Association' and having a bit of an explore.

ceeveebee · 05/09/2012 09:10

I am atheist as is DH. My PILs are practising methodists and were very keen for us to have a church wedding and to have our DCs baptised, but I think it would be very hypocritical of us to do so.

By the way I think if you are not sure (so would want an emergency baptism) you are probably agnostic not atheist.

BikeRunSki · 05/09/2012 09:32

Have a little read of this, it what we did (see my previous post) and are plannig to do again. Everybody happy and no hypocrisy.

I mean, if I'd had DS and DD baptised to pacify DM, then raised them without God and active disbelief, what credibility does that give me as a parent.

ZiaMaria · 05/09/2012 18:41

So...I sat DH down and explained that I really really don't want to have the baby baptised, due to the hypocrisy. I suggested that we could have a blessing or some alternative, but he didn't like the idea of that. After much deliberation he said that we should just tell grandparents that we are leaving it to our child to decide and that they can take her to church to find out about it all.


Thanks all

OP posts:
notcitrus · 05/09/2012 22:53

Was going to ask how the Catholic vs Anglican sides of the family feel about each other's religion - I was deliberately not baptised as if I were, one set of my Catholic/Methodist grandparents would be convinced I was going to hell. So they all agreed not to, on the grounds that I could then get out of limbo on my own merits - sounds like a hugely dodgy version of both theologies to me, but at least it kept the family happy...

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