Post # 1
Darling Husband and I were at lunch today with one of our co-workers when the topic came up. Darling Husband, an atheist, feels that it’s important to expose children to religion at a young age. He feels that even though we’re both atheist, we should baptize our hypothetical children so that they have the option to be a member of the church if that’s the path they choose to take. I personally disagree. Allowing my children to be baptized means that’s I’m vowing to raise those kids in the church and teach them about god, both of which I cannot do. I don’t think I would ever be able to teach my children something that I don’t believe to be the truth. The whole thing just seems pretty hypocritical to me. Now, if my future kids were old enough to really form their own opinion and decided that they were believers and wanted to join an organized religion then I would happily support them. I just don’t see myself providing the tools for them to reach those opinions at such a young and impressionable age.
Both Darling Husband and I were raised Catholic yet we’re both atheist now. We were Catholic at one time because we were forced to be. We didn’t make the decision to believe in god or go to church, our parents did that for us. Now we’re both staunch atheists who won’t step foot inside of a church unless it’s for a special occasion. I feel that religion is one of those things that should really be determined individually. Just because someone is raised in a certain denomination, doesn’t mean that it’s the best fit for them. On the boards alone there are tons of members who were raised in one religion yet consider themselves to be something completely different now that they’re adults and were able to form their own opinions. I don’t think that being exposed to all of these religious theories at such a young age is necessary. For those who plan to raise their children in the church (or the equivalent to), sure, but for those of us who are non-believers, I guess it just doesn’t really make a ton of sense to me. There’s nothing stopping our future kids from believing whatever they choose to believe. I just think that they should be able to fully grasp their religion of choice and make the decision for themselves when they reach a point in their lives when they are mature enough to do so.
So I ask my fellow atheists/agnostics, how do you plan on (or, how are you currently) raising your children regarding religion?
Post # 3
I agree that baptizing a child when you don’t plan on raising him/her in a church seems odd.
My mom is very religious, and I grew up in a church, but my fiance and I don’t like organized religion. On the other hand, my moral code does seem to align with Judeo-Christian morality (not necessarily everything they believe, but a lot of it). I also want my son to be free to choose whether he’d like to follow an organized religion or not.
I chose not to baptize him or to take him to church weekly, but, if my mom wants to take him to church on occasion, I let her. I don’t see the harm in exposing him to it, and I think there are some lessons to be learned from the closeness and community of a church. Sometimes, I will go with my mom & sister to church services (say, on a holiday) if I am invited, because I think it is good to support my family & their beliefs, even if I don’t agree.
When he gets to the age that he can understand what is going on (he is only 2 now), I may explain to him why I don’ t agree with some things that are taught in the church, or tell him the things I do agree with. But I will support his decision to believe whatever he chooses.
Post # 4
Why not let the kids decide if they want to be baptized/if they want to join a church on their own? You guys don’t have to baptize them to allow them to join a church later in life – they are always free to do that on their own. Pre-Baptizing also runs the risk of implying to the child that Christianity is the only “acceptable” religion since it’s the only one you are considering preparing them for. (And for the record, I’m athiest, too!). While we will definitely be teaching our children about all the different religions, it’s up to our future kids to decide on their own what they want to do with their spiritual beliefs. I think that allowing children to choose their own path is the best choice for us. It really bothers me when religious people raise their kids/brainwash them into believing things from birth. I’d rather let my kids learn about everything, and then choose for themsekves!
Post # 5
Not to be melodramatic, but my daughter had a very turbulent infancy, and there was a point where we weren’t sure if she’d make it. So my Catholic parents had kind of a freakout where they were really upset at the thought of her not being baptized. When she was a few months old we baptized her and had a huge party after (we joke that it was like a wedding, it was that big). I was happy to do it for my parents/grandmother, and it ended up being a great occasion.
But beyond that, we are not actively introducing religion, nor do we attend church. I was forced to go to church as a child and it was just not a good experience. I would like her to come to her own conclusions, find her own path. So whatever she’s open to and makes her happy is just fine with us. If she chooses to follow my husband in being an Atheist that’s fine too.
I do think that personal accountability and charity is very important so that will never be left out of the equation. I just don’t think it necessarily has to come from religion. Religious fanaticism does scare me somewhat.
Post # 6
I am raising my son to believe in god even though i don’t. Although I don’t believe in it personally i would love for my son to. I recognize religion as being very important, and to many people a comfort. If religion will help hold my children more accountable for their actions and be a comfort for them during grief or anything else then I am for it. I did not choose to not believe in god, I just don’t, I can’t help it. What my son figures out later will be up to him but I would like to bring him up with faith in god.
Post # 7
I’m very curious to hear the responses. Fiance and I were talking about this the other day. We are not planning on taking our kids to church or baptizing them.
I do like the aspect of going to church regularly that reminds you to be a good person, so I think we will plan to volunteer weekly (doesn’t necessarily have to be on Sunday) to give back and instill discipline and goodwill in our children.
I have mixed opinions on when to introduce religion to our future children. I think a child’s capacity to understand religion is very low when they are young, so I think we will wait until they are at least in pre-school. I plan on getting “Religion of the world” type books appropriate for their age at the time. Our families are religious, so I’m sure we will have to answer questions that come up.
As they get older, I would take them to various churches/temples/places of worship if they show an interest. I would also allow their grandparents to take them to church – if they wanted to go.
I got a lot out of the youth group I was part of in Jr. High and High school. I was drawn most to the volunteering and fellowship from it – not the religious aspect, so we plan to look for similar groups our kids could participate in if they want to.
Post # 8
i am an atheist, my ex and my fi are both catholics, although they do not educate him in the slightest about their beliefs, he is well aware that i do not believe in god. although he’s only 5 he has decided he does believe in God and i am happy to allow him to feel this way. after the loss of my baby and my nana, he needed some way of connecting to them both. although i do not believe in God and Heaven it is ok for him to, after all the belief that our baby and nana are both in heaven is a much more comforting belief than the one i have. i am against taking him to the cemetary/graveyard, instead we set off balloons to heaven for them with pictures. if his belief progresses i will support him, have him baptised if he so wishes (in a few years) and will never dampen his beliefs to match mine. i no i sound hypocritical but whether i believe or not i can see the comfort in faith.
Post # 9
@stokieGal: You aren’t being hypocritical! You are doing what’s best for you son and helping him grieve in a healthy manor. Like you said, religion can be comforting. Loss is complicated, especially for children – so if this is what he wants to believe, it is fine!
Post # 10
@KatyElle: I was baptized as soon as I was born, because the doc’s were convinced I was going to die. I was raised Christian, but hubs and I are both Atheists.
We aren’t having kids, but if we were, I would plan to baptize them when they were babies. While I don’t believe, everyone in my family does, and I feel like, if my child were to pass while still too young to understand religion and make choices, I would want them to go to Heaven, if there is such a place. My husband doesn’t understand it, but he would back me up.(Its kind of hard to really put into words my feelings for this, but its just the way I feel)
Other than that, I would wait until they were old enough to ask about religion, and then allow them to explore as they see fit. I would reach out to people in whatever religion they wanted to learn about, and hopefully allow them to discover how each religion is different (got to church or the equivalent with them, particpate in certain things, learn the basics – but not personal preference). I would have absolutely no problem if they wanted to choose a religion, and/or wanted to go to church or the equivalent.
I would never want to force my beliefs on my children. I would want them to come to a conclusion on their own, based on their experiences. my parents allowed me to do that, and I think it was a great thing for them to do
Post # 11
Fiance and I actually just had this discussion.
I don’t know if we’d call ourselves outright atheists (though I certainly lean that way more than he does), but we believe in something that’s more complicated than I’d like to get into on the WB boards.
That being said, we definitely aren’t Christian and will not be partaking in baptisms/raising our kids in any particular faith. I’m sure my family will throw the world’s biggest fit (raised Catholic) but they don’t really get a say. Should be fun (sarcasm).
Post # 12
@stokieGal: I think you are doing what is best for your child, and applaud you for not pushing your views on him, and letting him believe and experience what he wants. I think that every parent should allow their child the option. You are not being a hypocrite in any way. You are helping your son realize his own path in the best way you can 🙂
Post # 13
@MrsSl82be: I guess that was my attitude at the time as well. I didn’t really see the harm in her being baptized. It made my family feel better at a really emotional time and was really for them, plus it was a really great day with my grandmother who recently passed. One of her favorite memories! She is smiling in every picture and my daughter looked adorable and was surrounded by all our friends and family.
Post # 14
SO and I have discussed this a number of times. I was raised Roman Catholic, and come from a very italian family<religion is very important to all of them>…I was forced to make my confirmation against my will, and feel religion was shoved down my throat, and to be totally blunt, at 10 yrs old I was thinking it was a huge crock of shit. SO and I both refuse to marry or have anything to do with the catholic church. Even though it upsets my parents, I’ve warned them a bunch of times already they we will not baptise our children and we will not be involved at all with religion.
The purpose of baptism is to cleanse the baby of original sin…How ridiculous is that? That otherwise, they’d go to hell? I feel like religion was created as a way to control mass amounts of people, and as a way to instill morals. I think that instilling morals can be done w/o religion. I’d feel like a fake if I gave in and baptised my baby, since it’s something I’m staunchly against.
Post # 15
@KatyElle: Yup, I totally understand. Hubs and I are Godparents to our youngest nephew, I was honestly surprised first, then honored. His sister understands where we stand, but she knows my background, and knows I will help educate him in whatever direction he goes, no matter where it may take him. Regardless of our beliefs, I would never hinder a child’s exploration, or push my beliefs on them
Post # 16
I honestly don’t know what I believe in. I was raised catholic (did the whole CCD classes until I was 16 and confirmation), and my Fiance was raised christian but never attended church or went to any type of religious classes. I 100% disagree with the church on many topics, but I do believe in some type of higher power. We don’t attend church other than for weddings and funerals.
With that said, we plan to baptize our future children in the Episcopal Church and send them to religious classes. What they choose after that is completely their decision, and I honestly don’t care either way. Religion is such a personal choice and I don’t want to make that decision for them, but I do want to give them some type of start.