Bit of a dilemma - advice appreciated

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HarryO'Criosna
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Bit of a dilemma - advice appreciated

Post by HarryO'Criosna » Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:07 am

Bit of a strange situation that I would like some advice from like-minded people on...

An atheist relative of mine has asked me (in the knowledge that I am an atheist) to be godfather to one of their kids who is getting baptised. Why this is happening at all is a side issue, let's just take it as a given. Its not school-related though. Anyway, my first reaction was that I couldn't do it: I couldn't stand there and say all that stuff I did not believe in, or participate in perpetuating the charade of Irish catholicism. BUT...they are stuck for people to do this, I would like to help them out, and I would be quite amenable to being more than just another random relative to the child. So my cycle of thoughts is as follows (I flip-flop between them):
1) I can't do it - I don't believe in it, and the whole charade has to stop, so I should not participate
2) It doesn't matter - I don't believe in it, the kid's parents don't believe in it, so I might as well be an actor taking part in a small stage production (with crap songs). No-one gets hurt, nothing changes. I possibly present the parents with a pre-filled Count Me Out form afterwards in an attempt to balance things up.
3) Isn't it better that the child has an atheist godfather? This concept makes me laugh every time I think of it - is it a no-god-father? If by some bizarre set of circumstances the child actually asked me about anything spiritual at least I could provide some guidance in a make-up-your-own-mind sort of way.

...and then I get back to 1) where I don't want to participate at all. I know on principle I should not participate, but I would feel I was letting them down. Most people I've asked so far say it doesn't matter, just go ahead and do it, but many of them would be maybe-I'm-a-catholic-but-maybe-not types.

Any advice appreciated...
Tulip1
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Re: Bit of a dilemma - advice appreciated

Post by Tulip1 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:53 am

I think it's down to the reasons why the kid gets baptised. If you think it's valid reasons in your opinion, I would go for option two.

My first reaction is like you number 1, though.
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
Bik
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Re: Bit of a dilemma - advice appreciated

Post by Bik » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:57 am

Both my sisters asked me to be godfather of their kids, I refused and in fact didn't even attend the baptisms as I disagree with the forced indoctrination of babies.
It actually didn't cause any bother as my sisters aren't very religious and were having the baptism as it is seen as the "done" thing.
"Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion." Superintendent Chalmers
bipedalhumanoid
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Re: Bit of a dilemma - advice appreciated

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:26 am

I am 100% against baptism of babies and children and for that reason I won't baptise my future children.
I'm not sure where I stand on the idea of boycotting baptism ceremonies of other people's children or refusing to be a godparent.

I am a godfather to my younger brother, but I was only 16 years old when that honour was bestowed on me.

At present, I make a point to not attend First Communions and Confirmations. These clearly are incidious attempts to indoctrinate children and I refuse to go along with them. I think this is somewhat different to baptism, where the child is usually too young to have any understanding of what is going on around them.
"The fact of your own existence is the most astonishing fact you will ever have to face. Don’t you ever get used to it." - Richard Dawkins... being shrill and offensive again I suppose.
Bik
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Re: Bit of a dilemma - advice appreciated

Post by Bik » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:49 am

bipedalhumanoid wrote:I think this is somewhat different to baptism, where the child is usually too young to have any understanding of what is going on around them.
I actually think that makes it worse, at least there is nominally an element of choice with communion and particularly confirmation. A baby has no choice in the matter and in the view of the RCC an act of baptism makes a permanent mark on the receipients soul, even the act of formal defection doesn't remove that and in their view you are still "one of them".
"Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion." Superintendent Chalmers
Gadfly
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Re: Bit of a dilemma - advice appreciated

Post by Gadfly » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:34 am

Bik wrote:......as I disagree with the forced indoctrination of babies.
Well put!

My niece is planning a christening very soon for her daughter and I've stated I won't be attending the indoctrination ceremony. She's okay with it.

@OP, I personally wouldn't accept the offer of being a god-parent.
"I do not believe in any religion. I will have nothing to do with immortality. We are miserable enough in this life without speculating upon another." Lord Byron.
benroe
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Re: Bit of a dilemma - advice appreciated

Post by benroe » Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:06 am

I dont see your dilemma here, how can you betray a lack of belief, you wont be the first hypocrite to stand in front of that priest nor will you be the last. Your relation obviously needs your support and it obviously means something to somebody.
I have 4 grown kids who are baptized confirmed and atheist, i am also godparent to a niece and a friend who was baptized so his now wife could have the white wedding she so wanted. And heres a thing when you get hitched theres a fair to middling chance it will be to somebody religious, you may need your relations help in the future.
Go along have a laugh its a superficial ritual and believe me the chances of you getting a religious infection are slim.
Benroe
Tulip1
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Re: Bit of a dilemma - advice appreciated

Post by Tulip1 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:50 am

My mother always said: It's folklore.

But then I never had this dilema because I have never set foot in a church while something religous was going on. I come from Atheist parents and my friends and family know I won't attend any ceremony and I refused a lot of invitations for comunnions, weddings etc.

However I think every one can only think for them self. We don't know the full story and can only tell you what we think we would do or have done in the past.
Pope says atheists pick & choose their morals. Correct. Today I will be frowning on child abuse & not having a problem with homosexuality.
HarryO'Criosna
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Re: Bit of a dilemma - advice appreciated

Post by HarryO'Criosna » Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:39 pm

Folks, thanks for the replies...helps to get the head sorted out to see what other people reckon. I think I might now be surplus to requirements as apparently only one godparent is required per child (though its frowned upon by all accounts...would the priest prefer one 'real' godparent and one atheist I wonder?), but I'll volunteer to take one for the team anyway...if I get 'turned' while I'm there you bloody infidels will be the first to know...
bipedalhumanoid
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Re: Bit of a dilemma - advice appreciated

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Mon Jul 12, 2010 3:20 pm

Bik wrote:
bipedalhumanoid wrote:I think this is somewhat different to baptism, where the child is usually too young to have any understanding of what is going on around them.
I actually think that makes it worse, at least there is nominally an element of choice with communion and particularly confirmation. A baby has no choice in the matter and in the view of the RCC an act of baptism makes a permanent mark on the receipients soul, even the act of formal defection doesn't remove that and in their view you are still "one of them".
I really don't see how it follows that it's worse to put a child through an indoctrination ceremony when they are too young to be indoctrinated, than when they are old enough to be indoctrinated.

The baptism might mean something to the religious, as an atheist it means nothing to me. I don't agree with the baptism, I just don't think it's harmful in the same way as an indoctrination process that occurs at an impressionable age. For that reason, I'm less vocal in my objection.

I'd really like it if what follows this post is not a spate of people arguing at me, against baptism in general... as if I agree with it. Because I don't... just thought I'd get in early.
"The fact of your own existence is the most astonishing fact you will ever have to face. Don’t you ever get used to it." - Richard Dawkins... being shrill and offensive again I suppose.
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