Recently, a friend of mine invited me to the baptism of her daughter, which I politely declined to attend. I should mention that when I was invited I did tell my friend that I do not 'celebrate' baptisms. And she (being a good friend) had no problem with that, and was not mad in the least that I would not be there because she understood, and respected me (as I was respecting her in my own way by NOT attending).
I do not believe in baptising babies as they have no consent in the 'brain washing' and should be free to choose it (or not) of their own accord. (This was not mentioned to my friend, although she knows me well enough to know it.)
Anyway, I mentioned this to my mother who proceeded to call me judgemental and disrespectful. What I am confused about is how would ATTENDING something for which I have no respect nor a belief in be MORE respectful?? Wouldn't it be more of an insult to my friend's particular beliefs (which I do not share) to have a non-believer be in attendance?
Can someone please tell me what the hell I should do about my mother. What can I tell her to make her chill out and understand my perspective.
I think you are taking it too serious.
go the to the baptism, it's not like you believe in it...
go for fun.. you will enjoy seeing people praying and doing some weird spiritual acts... you don't have to make fun of them.. not even comment on it. it's going to make your friend happy and get your mother off your back :)
They have all the right to believe whatever they want.. the same right you have to deny the existence of gods.
Could I by any chance meet your mother. I mean just to talk about her.... uh... about her point of view with this situation. Really... just talk:)
I would personally go... here's why:
You aren't going to change anything by not going. If anything, you are going to come off as judgmental if you abstain from going, even if that's not what you intend. My experience is that people don't invite you to events because they want you to implicitly sanction them... If she knows you're an atheist and still invited you, then she probably wants you there because she likes you as a friend and wants you to experience a big event in her life.
Going to a religious event (wedding, baptism, funeral) doesn't necessarily mean you support the actual activity itself -- it means that you are there to support your friend. Would you pass on a Hindu wedding because you didn't believe in reincarnation? I really don't think it's disrespectful to attend an event that you don't 'believe' in, as long as you don't tell everyone there that you think it's a vehicle for brainwashing kids into Christianity. ;)
You don't need to participate in prayers or pretend to be religious to be supportive. I would just go, smile and be polite, and tell her that her daughter is beautiful.
I have been to a few baptisms (and first communions and so on) in my life (my mom's dad is an RCC Deacon). I myself was baptized and even got my first communion (I was also circumcised, had a Mikvah, and a Bar Mitzvah). Here's my thoughts:
I join you in your disdain for baptism. While I don't think it's fair to call a baby an atheist (one can't be either atheist or theist when one is blissfully unaware that god concepts even exist), I think it's less fair to call a baby a theist. Baptism, circumcision, first communion, bar/bat mitzvahs... these should all be up to an individual after they are old enough to make a decision as to whether or not they want to be religious, and what religion they wish to join. I will say that I do not know what age that should be, and I think 18 may be too high as I feel like I had a proper understanding of all this and could have made a decision by the time I was 13 had I wanted to (of course, I wasn't thinking about these things at 13... I was more interested in sports, girls, and music).
On the flipside, what is there to be gained by refusing to go? You are, I have to say, very lucky that your friend is so understanding. But that, I also have to say, is a rare event. My mom's family knows that I'm an atheist, and, except for her Dad (who's clergy, remember), they just don't care in general. But I know that if I refused to show up for a baptism or first communion or whatnot, it would hurt someone, and as outspoken as I am about my atheism, I try not to hurt people who I don't think deserve it.
That you have an understanding friend is incredible. Because of that, you are safe in, basically, ignoring your mom in this case. Her hurt is personal, even though she has no actual stake in it, so you don't have to worry about it. If anything, it shows a failing in her rather than you. So relax and let it pass is what I say. She'll get over it. She may or may not recognize that your friend just doesn't care, but that's her problem, not yours.
I would, however, say that, if your mom ever invites you to a baptism or something similar, I'd think a little more carefully about it, because, obviously, it would hurt her much more directly if you didn't attend, and the question you'd have to ask yourself is, would it be worth-it?
Nathan, thank you. I agree with everything you said. If someone WANTS to get baptized and is old enough, to have properly made the decision (ie researching multiple religions and the rites of passage and what not etc.) then by all means they should go for it!! I just won't be there. Hehe.
As for circumcision, I don't see why any person (male or female) would consciously choose it. It's a barbaric ritual that serves no purpose for the real world, and has nothing to do with helping to make someone a better person. They used to make the excuse that it was medically necessary, and cleaner than not having it done. But that is just not true any more (if it ever was).