I do not have kids.
...Yet. I take it for granted that in some capacity I probably will someday.
I would obviously raise them without religion and encourage them to think critically about any authoritarian beliefs they come across. However, seeing as kids do not and will not always agree with what their parents think, I see it being entirely possible that at some point, some friend, romantic interest, or close relative may influence them to visit a church they end up getting really attached to. After all, when you become part of a religious community, it's often like getting adopted into a whole new family, which is hard to come by when you live in an area where you don't know any secularists other than yourselves.
So here's the thing - if a child of yours came up to you and said "Mom/Dad, I believe in Jesus now, and Reverend Honeycutt [I don't know] said that he'd baptize me next Sunday if you said it was okay", what would you do?
On one hand I could see myself saying "Fuuuuuuuuuck NO", and I'd tell said child they could join whatever church they wanted when they turned 18, only because by then I wouldn't have a say-so anyway. On the other, if religion or church is treated like it's "forbidden", it could have the opposite intended effect and make them want it more. Added to that there's the issue of wanting to keep religious BS out of the house (or if the ministry they want to join is particularly obnoxious or offensive) versus allowing your child to think for themselves and make their own decision, even if you strongly disagree with it.
Where do you guys stand on this? I honestly don't know what I think about it right now. Would your answer differ depending on age? How would you handle it?
PS, I just realized there's a similar discussion to this from March, so if I need to delete this then that's fine lol.
Ok, from experience of this very issue!
My son, who is now 19 and a complete atheist, came to me when he was 14 and asked if he could be baptized. I said yes. My children are all very intelligent, and they have been raised in an environment where they could chose their own belief structure without be criticized. I have one agnostic, one atheist, and one bible thumping, wrath of god, you are going to hell, mom, christian (which isn't the one who came to me to get permission to be baptized... he didn't get baptized until after he turned 18) Now that being said, my christian son and I have an agreement, if he doesn't attempt to preach to me, then I won't show him the error of religion, and all of the fallacies religion is based on. Most of the time that works. The key thing here is this, as long as you provide your kids with a loving environment and allow them to chose their own path, then you will always be able to have an open relationship with them. My christian son and I are very close, and we debate quite often regarding his choice of religion and my choice of atheism. These debates are fun for both of us, and I never condemn his choice. He knows he doesn't have to hide anything from me, and that I am open minded and willing to listen. That's all that matters in the long run. Just love them, raise them the best way you know how, and be open minded, and open for INTELLIGENT discussion and debate. And just for the record, my son's best friend introduced him to church, and he goes to a non-denominational fellowship. I've been to the church with him, just to check it out and make sure it wasn't completely over the top. I do not agree with religion on any level, but I do have to say, this place was pretty respectful, and didn't attempt to convert me at all. They left the invitation open. Very interesting.
I hope, if and when that does happen for you, that your child finds a fellowship that is respectful of your beliefs and doesn't attempt to convert you just because your child has decided to join them.
I don't know if that helped, but I thought I'd reply since I have had first hand experience in this area...
Well said, and, it would appear, well done.
Hat's off fellows. The lady speaketh the truth.
Thank you. Heartwarming stuff.
Been there done that, got the T shirt. I was christened as a baby (I do not remember it) I attended Sunday School and I was a Boy Scout, my grand parents were devout weslyan methodists but none of it ever stuck. I did not believe all the rubbish, and obviously made up, stories that I was told. I used to get in trouble for heckling the reader, asking them how that stuff was possible! I was too practical. I am an engineer now, go figure.
Because of my experience I decided to not voice my concerns when my wife (borderline agnostic) decided to get both my kids 'christened' while they were babies (she likes the 'tradition', we had the church wedding, the whole shebang.) My idea being that they weren't going to get offered babtism by some creepy church guy when they were in their teens if they had already been done. Also, as it turned out, my son went to a faith school (the best of a bad bunch) from the age of 11 and he probably would not have got in if he had not been christened.
I just made sure that I talked to them regularly about science and theology as they grew up. They both had religious education homework from time to time that I would ensure I had time to assist them with and debunk any issues before they could get a foothold on impressionable minds. My daughter has gone on to do a degree in history at university, she is fully aware of the laughable inaccuracies and bloody slaughter by religious faiths throughout all of history and pre-history. She educates me now!
Whatever the school gave my son as 'information' I would ensure we researched something similar in science to debunk the subject if it was necessary, trying to make it exciting or fun or both. Once we had done it a few times it became self perpetuating and he would go looking for the holes himself, encouraging an open mind and teaching him how to carry out research. My son actually got a GCSE qualification in RE but he spent nearly all the exam chuckling to himself. He's an engineer in the Royal Navy now too, funny huh?
Make him/her wait for two months. If, after that he/she still wants too, support him/her.
I have never faced that question but I have one child now 36. Raised without religion and questions answered with science and reason. So if he wants to get baptized no business of mine. But I can say there was and still is a total absence of any interest in religion in any form whatsoever. I spent a lot of time posting as here and even mentioning it gets a response like politely changing the subject because he thinks the old man is crazy for doing it. That has always sort of been his response.
If I were you I would not worry about it.
Yeah, well, whaddaya gonna do with kids - I asked mine what he wanted for Christmas, he said, "I wanna watch," so we let him.
yeah. Been there.......
Well, i would leave the decision up to the child whatever age they are, but educate them about religion, children are often inquisitive and ask questions and explore. Sometimes inquisitive children get banned from sunday school, for blasphemous questions (i know this from experience). Any form of censorship from an inquisitive mind makes them more inquisitive. Proper parenting involves explaining in detail in the way the child understands, which is why I feel as well there is much concern about the children and the internet where the parent should be with the child when they use the internet,not strict censorship, because the religio-political people want to enforce their ideology and their rules on people,. When proper parenting is not happening. I feel if anyone wishes to have children to understand the time responsibility that is required. The child has to experience life, and the best thing is to offer support and guidance and be there if anything should go wrong, because hiding children from reality wont help, being with them as support while they are experiencing reality is the way to go. They would soon learn and discover that religion is a fabrication of reality by experience, where people earn a living on gullible minds.
I have a 5 year old, her mother is religious, I obviously am not. We had her baptized before she was 2, I didn't argue. I have even encouraged her mother to take her to church but she doesn't go so... I have actually taken her to church myself when occasion of friends or family present it.
The reason I do this is because to know religion is to know why people believe the ridiculous things they do. To be shielded from religion is to make it taboo and nothing sways a child like something taboo.
My parents inadvertently let me be an atheist by letting me chose what church I went to, so I went to a few different ones and the more of them I went to the easier it was to see that religion was BS. It also kept any particular religious belief to take hold so another side affect was that I was never sold on the idea of god. I was born and atheist and was able to remain on.
Now my 5 year old knows about god and parrots things her mother tells her and so when my daughter tells me about god I respectfully say "That's interesting, why is that?".
Right now she believes in god the same way she believes in ghosts. As a child I remember believing in ghosts but not believing in god and my hope is my daughter will be the same way.
Let's face it, it's a one sided water fight with a priest. What could possibly go wrong?
If I thought I could get away with it I would start going to church and convince them I wanted to get baptized and then when up at the altar when they douse me with the water I would scream out "It burns IT BURNS!!!"