I am an atheist from a Catholic background with a 'mostly' lapsed Catholic husband and two small kids.
I will follow my Catholic roots first and make a confession... on the birth of my firstborn child I allowed myself to be swayed by my husband and mother into having my son baptised.
Those close to me are very much aware of my atheist standpoint and by and large we have been able to 'agree to disagree' without too much conflict but on this point my mother and my husband actually agree for the first time in their lives and stood united in their determination to have our darling babe safe in the arms of their beloved Father.
I was swayed by the temptation of throwing a party for what was obviously the most gorgeous and intelligent baby boy ever to grace the earth, and had some vaque ideas about possible future enrollments in the really good Catholic schools in the area (one of which I went to). I made a deal that my boy could be Christened as long as I didnt actually have to do anything with regards to the organising, and felt fairly safe that this would prove impossible for them to organise due to the fact that we were not married in a church, I had not been confirmed in the catholic church, and we never actually attended mass.
They were not to be put off however, and accomplished the feat by bribing a notoriously liberal priest in a small parish nearby with a 'donation' of $300!
The ceremony was performed quietly after the Saturday morning mass. I, slightly red-faced, mumbled the appropriate phrases under the watchful and approving eye of my Mother, went home and had a big party, and have regretted the whole thing ever since.
I now found myself under increasing pressure to baptise our second baby, and using various kinds of delaying tactics have managed to stall the final confrontation thus far... no east feat as she has just turned 2!
It is beginning to cause serious tension in my family and wondered on other's standpoints in this area. Am I being unreasonable in not pandering to my Mother's sincere belief that her granddaughter is going to burn in hell if she dies before being baptised?
I have tried broaching this subject on several occasions in a non-confrontational way with my husband, trying to determine his real motives for wanting the baptism.
He has long ago stopped talking religion with me as he finds it uncomfortable, but does admit to disagreeing with almost all catholic beliefs (with regards to things like contraception, homosexuality etc). Having said that he certainly believes 'something', prays occasionally, and usually attends church at easter and christmas, mostly for the social aspect as he gets to see all of his very large extended family and a wide range of friends.
It is actually MY mother who is the main driving force. My mother-in-law is a former anglican who converted to catholicism on marriage, I would define her as more of a spiritual agnostic than religious at all and whilst she has expressed that she would like to see Maia baptised I am sure she wouldnt really be bothered if she was not. My husbands father was a fairly staunch catholic but passed away several years ago, and this may be part of my Husbands motivation, he has great respect and admiration for his father and this would have been something he would have wanted.
My mother on the other hand sees this as her second chance. After obviously failing to create a nice catholic girl in me she is doubly determined to see her grandchildren fully indoctrinated into the church. LAst year I did allow her to take my 3 yr old to church, knowing full well that as a boisterous and fidgety boy he woud be quickly bored and not want to go again (which was, of course, the case).
The fact is if my husband really, and I mean really honestly believed that by not baptising our kids we were exposing then to an eternity in hell, I would go ahead with the ceremony to comfort him. But I am sure that he doesn't, his belief is way more of a 'just in case it's all true' belief, and that just doesn't wash with me!
Yup, think I am just going to keep on with the delaying tactic as I have been.
With any luck the economic crisis will mean that my Mum doesn't have a spare $300 lying around to bribe the priest this time round!