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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I didn't go to my my nephews baptism. My mother-in-law's one friend was there when I declined to go and she asked why. I told her that I am apposed to paedobaptism. She then said to go for my nephew, to whech
I told her that this ceremony is being performed without his consent and that he is too young to even make such choices if the option were actually presented to him. Because of this, my not going was for his sake. I was not about to support an act I am against (even if it is meaningless) or support the drafting of children into a faith they did not choose.


She never said another word about it, and nor did anyone else.

Most of what I would say on this matter has already been said, but I wanted to bring up an excellent point that Christopher Hitchens said in one of his talks/debates (not sure which). He was talking about women being more active in men in religious ceremonies which he believes is for this reason:

It may sound harsh or misogynistic, but I think it is true that a woman would suffer more at the death of their child than the father, mainly from the 9mths during pregnancy, the connection during feeding etc.. This would lead a woman to do everything possible to keep the chances of suvival/wellbeing for her child high, which may entail even superstitious behaviour to which they normal would ignore. If this is true, it may be the reason for why even some Atheists/Agnostics would still go through the tradition of baptism, for example, just in case that ridiculously slim chance that it may help their child comes about.

Even though purgatory was abolished so reasons for baptism of a child has been diminished; I would join a friend, Atheist or Theist, in their superstitious rite of passage to protect their child, and support them no matter what my own view is (and maybe just call them a dork in the afterparty).

Anyways, I just wanted to add that point. Oh and to second an earlier point that non-attendance may make you look inflexible. Cya!

Thanks Phil!!  I totally see where you are coming from.  As a mother I too would do anything to protect my kids.  I would give my life for them.  But I would not force them to participate in something they first don't understand (as they are too young) and something that is pointless, and frankly a waste of time.  I do have people who have promised to take care of the kids in the event of my death.  Call them godparents if you will... but atheist ones at that :)

I totally agree with you Jackie, I see no point in a Baptism either and wouldn't want to put my child through it. However, a past partner, who is an atheist, suggested she would still want to Baptise her child because what if she's wrong? It won't harm the baby and would mean nothing to it. It doesn't mean the baby is then forced into church or Sunday-school. I get her point and though I don't agree, maybe it is because I am male (as Hitchens suggested) and I simply wanted to play Devil's advocate on the topic. (BTW I'm also not a father yet, so maybe that will change things? Doubtful but anything is possible).

I am also my Nephew's Godfather, and see it as a chance to teach him the truth about God and religion (being a member of this site I'm sure you know what I feel the truth is ;) ) and his parents know this. Maybe thats why they chose me?

About how to talk to your mother about this; my mother was an easier nut to crack than my father, who will still parrot that the bible is a 'good book' and a source of morality. What I found was a slow, continual demonstration of your point of view with small arguments and discussions. No one, even if you demonstrated logically your view and have forced them into a corner, will admit straight away that they and their life's beliefs are wrong. It needs time to grow in their minds. (Check out The Atheist Experience on youtube. Particularily the Matt Dilahunty owns a christian one. Matt had him in a point where he had to admit the Biblical God was immoral but he wouldn't).

My dad hasn't admitted it yet, but he is now on my side of the argument more than against it now. Yay for small victories!

lol I just realised I didn't finish a sentence in my last message. I found a slow and continual discussion to be the best way to win them over. Slowly slowly catching monkey :D

Your approach sounds respectful and I think that's the key; whether you go or not.  If you go, go to support your friend and ignore the rest.  Of course this will depend on how obnoxious the ceremony is.

It's between you and your friend. Your mother comes from a different generation and that means she has a very different perspective on the situation. The culture has changed and the only opinions that matter are those of you and your friend.


It is judgmental to think of her baptism that way but who cares? We all have opinions and we make judgments based on the facts and observations. The culture is changing and we are much more able to express ourselves and our opinions. We make judgments all the time but we only get called judgmental when someone doesn't like the opinion we have expressed.

I agree with some of the other responses. I would go. I recently went to a funeral of the wife of a friend of mine. It was creepy open casket church thing. Having said that, I went for my friend. To support him. In my opinion your decision to attend religious events should be based on the event and the role you are to have. If you are asked to actively take part then saying no is appropriate. Just there as a guest, a friend and a support does not seem like something I would say no to. Just because you attend, does not mean you condone religion. It seems she respects your non-belief and that is huge for a person of faith and rare. Just my opinion. 


Precisely.  When I attended a Baptism for a family member recently, it was not to endorse religion or make political statements.  It was solely to support my family members.  If my nephew were playing in an important (for him) baseball game, I wouldn't refuse to attend because I think sports is overemphasized and over valued much to the detriment of society.

I would start out asking her why she feels that you are being in any way disrespectful. If she is able to be coherent then explain your side. If there is no understanding then there is no place to start.


I am allowing my own child to be baptized even though both myself and my spouse are atheists. It is for the GP and I really don't care about water. (Baptism is the water ritual, right?)


I go to christian weddings to show support for the union, not the religion. I am a godparent though for the life of me I don't know what that means.


When I do anything which is associated with a religion it isn't MY religion and I don't join in. For example, christmas to me is family togetherness. This includes with the creationists who think of it as "CHRISTMAS". My family is more important to me than my making an issue or argument of it. (BTW I am not implying anything here). I just don't care for the hassle. They know where I stand and they know I'm only politely sitting there while they talk to invisible genies. My family and friends are more to me than their ignorance.


Now when they ask me I tell them. Yes, I'm the irritating calm one who never raises his voice. Pisses them off to no end.

I am a godparent as well, though I was shocked that the priest agreed to it.  It is my understanding that a godparent is the one who agrees to raise the child in the religion if the parents die.  The priest knew I was an atheist.  My guess is that someone in the family wrote a check to mollify his feelings.  That seems to work wonders.  I almost got a church wedding as a result of such a gesture, but by then we had already gone to the courthouse.
I think they changed it at some point to only requiring one of the god-parents had to belong to that religion.


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