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.



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If I had been given the choice, I would have chosen against it. If I have kids (I'm 24, and I still don't know if I want kids), I will not have them circumcised. They'll know about it, of course. When they're old enough (which I think will be obvious by what they start asking and in what context), I'll teach them all about religion and the God Hypothesis and so on (if they want to learn about it).


However, I don't hate my parents for the circumcision, or the baptism, or the first communion, and, as I chose to have a Bar Mitzvah, I certainly don't hate them for that. These are what they believe in, and I can't hold that against them. Hell... I myself only took a stance against it all in the last few years, when I "deconverted". I was all for all of it before then.

Only you can decide whether to go or not. There is no wrong decision, just your decision. If you don’t go then tell you’re your mother that she is doing the very thing she accuses you of doing. She is being judgemental and disrespectful to you and she should be supporting her daughter and not pandering to her own beliefs. If you do decide to go, which is what I would do given that she is a very good friend of yours, then you don’t have to take part in any praying, singing etc. Explain to your friend that you would be there to support her and share her moment, not for the service at all, and would that be OK with her.

I agree with your mother.
Your second mistake was listing to your mother. Your first mistake was not realizing that sharing in your friends celebration of the ability of parents to impose their will on ther offspring is not something that is EVER going to change. Your friend says she is OK with it, but she secretly thinks less of you for having no sense of humor and lack of flexibility, a common trait among many atheist.


I know it's not for everybody, but you have to show your parents at some time that you are your own person and that you have arrived. I would say in your case and you have to find the right words for your situation.

"Kiss my ass mom. It's my decision and ok with my friend. You raised me to be able to navigate life and I make my own decisions". You're response would not have to be at all similar to this but she needs to respect you as an adult and quit expecting your perspective of reality, what is right and wrong, and your values to be the same as hers.

Wow!  Thanks everyone!!  Definitely some great advice here, and much to think about.

It may be judgmental, as is looking down on people for other ignorant activities. That is not a bad thing. If anything it was an act of respect for her daughter. Now, regarding your mother I've encountered the same hostile views from my own family. I've found that the best way of dealing with it is just to be blunt about it. Religious belief is delusional and that indoctrination is a very real threat to the child's well being. Religious people are very much aware of and afraid of the truth. If you are blunt they are forced to confront that fear, and rather than confronting it, they will just avoid discussing the subject from then on.


At first I was more of a tolerant or even apologetic atheist, but that only seemed to fuel my family's hostility. When I got tired of it, I spoke more candidly about how delusional religion is and now they avoid the subject entirely. If anything, we get along better now. And as a side benefit, my confidence in my views seems to have inspired other members of my family to explore their own doubts.

Just tell her that you do not believe in fairy tales or superstition so you are respecting your friend by not attending. Just explain to her why you don't believe in baptism.

I'm with those who say you're taking it too seriously. Baptism means nothing except to get a baby's head wet. So what. Your friend believes something magical happens. By staying away, you're telling your friend, "you're good magic is my bad magic. I want to stay away 'cause maybe some of that holy water might touch me and get Christian magic into me."

Look at it as something your friend is into and you're not. Maybe she performs and you do not. If she asked you to come to one of her performances, would you stay away because you don't perform?

Baptism means absolutely nothing to you. Why go out of your way to avoid it?

It's not just pouring water on a kid's head; it's the symbolic rebirth and most important, the beginning of their life in the church.  It's a celebration of their path towards religious indoctrination. 

When people, with whom I wish to continue to have a relationship, say inane and incredibly tactless things to me, I practice the Zen of listening: Smile, allow their words to flow into one ear, through the head unimpeded and out the other ear.

It's harder in practice than in theory...but I try to do the same.  And I have to assume they attempt the same with me, I am not immune to tactless statements either.


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