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.

 

 

Tags: Baptism

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I agree wholeheartedly with Reggie. I find the comments from others about symbolic rebirth, comparisons with circumcision, all too religiously atheist. The beauty about being an atheist is that it should free you up - it is all in the name "Free Thinker". I have just a couple of friends who are Christian and it never interferes with our friendship. We never discuss religion because the discussion has nowhere to go. If they were to hold a baptism I would go without hesitation.

Obviously baptism and genital mutilation are not equally harmful in the physical sense. I was simply illustrating that there shouldn't be an issue not to attend an event if you view the act as wrong. They way I read your argument, it felt as though I should also accept the invitation from the friend performing the genital mutilation simply because it's important to them and you are friends. True, the mutilation can't be overcome like baptism can be. But for me, it's the principle that a child is entered into a religion (which it can't understand) without any consent. To me, this is wrong. If the child were allowed to make up his own mind and wished to be baptized of his own wishes at a later age, then I would likely go if invited. You see, it's not the baptism itself, it's the forcing into a belief system. You may say that the baptism alone doesn't stick a child in that religion, but in some families it does. My mother-in-law claims that once baptized you are Catholic for like. No ifs ands or buts. Officially, that's not the meaning of the ceremony, but that's the way it tends to be viewed by families by my experience.

 

Why associate with the family at all if indoctrination is so bad? Because we are still friends or family. Plus you can always help educate the child. But to call the baptism into question during the ceremony would be an ass thing to do. I can still try to make a difference, without supporting the symbolic act that represents a child not having a choice what to believe in. Again, if it was the child's call, I'd have no problem going if they cared enough to want me there. It's like kids that are forced to play a certain sport to fulfill a parents former dream. Thing is, the kid doesn't want to play the sport, but isn't really given much of a choice in the matter. It's wrong to force things on a child like that for your own personal gratification. Some decisions shouldn't be made for you, and baptism is one of them. That's all I'm really saying if you want to condense it that far.

 

As I said before, it all seems to depend on how the individual views baptism. We obviously disagree, but that is fine. You can go and I'll politely decline. But in the end of the day, I'm sure we both do what we can to be good honest friends with those we care for.

 

Cheers!

Yeah, I realized my argument may have been coming across as "go, even if you still feel the way you do about it". I was trying more for changing how people might feel about it. If they were unpersuaded, then they should not attend merely out of guilt about the friendship.

But, that goes back to the point about the "wrongness" of the Baptism ceremony itself. I still don't see the harm in it. And while it is pointed out that it is a symbolic beginning to a path of indoctrination, that still leaves the ceremony itself as the least harmful of all that is to come. Which is why I made the point that if religious indoctrination is something so disagreeable with our moral fabric that we would boycott this symbolic gesture, then why would we attend the rest of it? Sure, you didn't go to the torture sessions, but you gladly have pints with the torturers?

As you said, it comes down to personal tastes. For me, the Baptism is nothing. It may convince some relative that so and so is something for life, but it does no direct harm to the child in and of itself. If we argue that religious indoctrination is the abuse worth objecting to, then why do we sit idly by during the years following when the real harm is being done?

Again, just for clarity sake, I am not trying to say there is only one correct way. I'm only arguing my perspective on it and it is okay that we disagree....(even though you are wrong and I am right) ;-)

I can agree with that. It may just be that I take the ceremony too seriously. As you said, it does no irreparable harm. Personally I can't get past the feeling that they shouldn't be doing it and that my presence condones it in a way. But that's just me, and I can definitely see where you are coming from and agree that that it is also okay to go. Like we've said, it's down to the individual. Depending on all the particulars, both going and not going can be okay. Like everything else in life, there's no single correct way. We may disagree, but that's okay. You're still cool in my book. :)

 

Cheers!

James,

Absolutely!!!  And on this topic I do completely agree with everything you have said.  It's not the baptism itself I find harmful.  It's the fact that the child doesn't even have a notion of what a diety is, what religion is or should be. 

Thanks James..

I used this argument with my mother, and it actually helped her understand my point of view much better.  As she had asked me why I would still attend a wedding or funeral at a church, and not a baptism.

Glad I could help! :)

By not going you are actually doing the opposite of what you're intending. Keeping your distance tells people that you believe there is something really powerful and important going on there. As long as they don't ask you to recite a prayer or something, go - support your friend. It means nothing beyond that.

Hey Mike.  I would have to respectfully disagree. I guess I just have a different perspective on it.  I feel like, if it means nothing to me, then why bother going??  That being said, I do understand your point.

I went to baptisms for family members. I draw the line at participating in any rituals though

I would have gone to support my friend. We all have different beliefs. 

Being you want to make a stand, what difference does it make what your mom thinks. Just tell her that your sorry she doesn't get it, end of story. I think we waste a lot of time worrying about what people think.

Do you really need her approval in this matter?

Okay, so I have decided NOT to attend the baptism.  Thank you all for you comments, suggestions, and advice.  I personally cannot condone this ritual.  I am already a part of the day-to-day of this child's life, and I think that says a lot more about me, and my intentions for her.

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