Christening disaster

Issues relating to promoting a secular state education and raising children in a non-religious home
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Christening disaster

Post by StephenG » Thu May 17, 2012 3:06 pm


Having been an "atheist" for many a year, its great to finally have an outlet for atheism in ireland. just signed up today, and im glad i can have a medium to output my utter anger and frustration for what is the evil tyranny of the catholic church.

Aoife was born on Wednesday 19th October 2011 at 01:39am. As every parent will tell you, it was the most precious moment of their life, seeing their child for the first time. Unfortunately, there were complications. i'll not go into much detail, but aoife wasn't breathing well for the first few days of her life, due to swallowing maconium in labour. therefore she was on respiratory machines and whatnot for a few days.

So she made a full recovery in due time. Thanks to who? i ask you all. was it lady luck? was it "god"? or was it the 15 medical staff keeping tabs on aoife 24/7, the advanced medicine/technology making her better?

Religion. me and my partner are not in anyway affiliated with any organised religion. Have faith in ourselves and good people around us. Thats it. Although when there was talk of a christening between us, we would just see how it goes when aoife comes along, just do it for the nice day out, the family get together and all have nice fotos taken etc. and it would be lovely.

Aoife was only 48 hours old, when she had some complications, when my parents and i where driving to the hospital when they informed me that the doctors,and the medicine and the technology had nothing to do with aoifes stable condition, but the man upstairs. That we should organise the christening asap, that when i was only a week old, i got baptised, my parents didn't take me anywhere until i was, in fear of something bad happening. at this stage i was at a realisation of the sheer superstition and vagueness surrounding Catholicism. that upon questioning my parents belief, they told me they did not believe in the bible, that it was outdated, yet every child needs to be baptised. regardless of infant baptism being non-existent in the bible.

ANYWAY! sorry for the long-winded post, i need to vent! So weeks pass without any thought of a baptism. we were just happy that our wee girl was in good health. that the care she was given, was professional and heartfelt. So, weeks pass, and i get word that my grandparents are "angry at me, disapointed in me" that aoife hasnt been baptised yet. Now this is the turning point where i have such a grudge and deep resentment towards religion. I've been told its a disgrace that aoife hasnt been baptised, my grandparents havnt seen her since she was a month old. she is now 7 months old. And heres the kicker, my father had called mid-week to argue with me yet again that she needs to be baptised, its "7 months not 7 weeks" and i replied "what happens when shes 1 year? should we be worried?", after much debate and hot-headedness he threw my way, in a redneck tongue, not listening to reason "thats it, you have no father, i am not your father, i am ashamed of you, dont set foot in my house again"

Great role model i must say. and for the record, i contacted my mother after this debate, just this morning. and told her in great detail what went down, only to be told "that doesnt sound like him,. im sure he has his reasons for saying that. although to be honest, i think its a disgrace shes still not baptised"

what a great support system eh? my partners parents actually have a high i.q/braincell count. they've travelled the world , they have no place in a small cult catholic town. they no better, never mentioned religion to us. just happy that their granddaughter was in good health.

So there we are. been effectively disowned by parents/grandparents, on no fault of my own. i gave my reasons, i did nothing to provoke such actions, other than my apparent "ignorance" to religion. which i quoted things from the bible disproving infant baptism, and disproving prayer for the dead. and the response was "you read too much into it, thats your problem, you are catholic and thats it"

where are the christian values? is my account of this ordeal not a perfect example of the narrow-mindedness, the sheer brainwashing of the last generation?

what to do?
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Re: Christening disaster

Post by bipedalhumanoid » Thu May 17, 2012 4:00 pm

Hi Stephen and welcome to the forum.

That's quite a harrowing story. I can't really tell you what you should do. You know your family a lot better than I do and my experiences of similar issues were nowhere near as extreme. But I have experienced minor family bullying where family members attempted to get me into churches for various reasons beyond weddings and funerals. By sticking to my guns they were forced to respect my right to religious views that differed from theirs. Now I'm just the strange one, but "that's just James" (me).

I don't have any children yet, but I certainly will not be getting any future children baptised and won't be allowing them to be indoctrinated into religious magical thinking of any kind. I've preempted the battle by making that very clear to the family in advance.

The argument of sure, why not just go along with it to keep everyone happy, is a demand to respect the religious views of those who refuse to respect yours. It's unfair, inequitable and bigoted.

Hopefully they'll come to accept that you don't share their worldview and that you're entitled to your views as much as they are entiteld to theirs. But in any case, no matter how many people surround you and tell you that you're in the wrong, remember that you are the one being bullied here. You're not the one who resorted to unethical tactics to force your views on others. You're in the right.

I say that because I've experienced the persuasive power of repeated and sustained group bullying which made me question my judgment (and sanity), in circumstances where it should have been 100% clear I was right.

It can be tempting to cave into the pressure, but if you do, this won't be the last of it. Next it will be what you tell your child about the nature of reality, then your choice of school... not to mention communions, confirmations and general church attendance. As a parent, you have a right to raise your child in a manner that is consistent with your own conscience. Just remember that.
"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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Re: Christening disaster

Post by ptferg » Thu May 17, 2012 5:18 pm

It is a perfect example of not just Christian narrow-mindedness but cultural narrow-mindedness. Most of my friends when asked if they believe in god they would answer no, but the they still tick the Christian box and baptise their children as it is the norm. It is said that the surest way to warp a child's mind is to hold less regard for those who think differently; it is that mindset that is propagated by the church for generations and still infects society.

The only way to break that cycle is for more and more people to deviate from the 'norm' and show people that different isn't bad, and in fact is sometimes better. The unfortunate side is that those who go first experience the biggest backlash. But you should know that although you will have to put up with a lot of ignorance and bullying you are paving the way for future generations to refuse baptismals etc without having to experience such harassment. My musings about religion, Atheism, secularism, Humanism etc.
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Re: Christening disaster

Post by mkaobrih » Thu May 17, 2012 10:21 pm

You’re an adult now, with a child, so do you really need parental or grand-parental approval for rationalising your own decisions. Blank off any parental emotional blackmail cause that is what it is. Not baptising your child is protecting your child from going through the stuff that your going through now in their future.
The church complains of persecution when it's not allowed to persecute.
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Re: Christening disaster

Post by Feardorcha » Fri May 18, 2012 10:17 am

And if you were to give in, when would it stop? There's communion, confirmation, school and maybe a wedding in your little girl's future.
Could you try a reasoned approach to your father - maybe even in a letter - telling him that you are doing for your daughter only what he did for you, that is, rearing her according to your beliefs.
Good luck with your decision. There are thousands of us who are going through the same thing and with each success it gets easier for those following.
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Re: Christening disaster

Post by Beebub » Fri May 18, 2012 11:43 am

I like the idea of a letter. You could ask him if he is willing to throw away the little time he has with his granddaughter over this? Feardorcha's right though. If you give in now, where will it end? This argument will continue through communion, confirmation etc. etc. If time allows it to blow over, when communion comes around the argument has run its course and she can't be communed as she hasn't been baptised.

I think it's very sad and I don't envy you. We've been very lucky with grandparents so I don't have any experience to share. My kids have not been baptised and will not make their communion. I'm facing this wonderful charade next year when the eldest goes to 2nd class.
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Re: Christening disaster

Post by aZerogodist » Sun May 20, 2012 3:35 pm

As ptferg has said 'breaking the cycle' and non-baptism is it, nipping it in the bud.

Also as Bip has said, good old fashioned bullying in the family, do you really want your child brought up in that kind of environment.

I attended a Cork Humanist event on rituals and the need to reclaim family rituals away from the church, so I really think you should hold a baby naming party (if you havn't allready), and envite your all your family & friends (even a priest if a family friend) to cellebrate the new member to your family, I think this is important as that's really what baptism means to many people, aswell as a day out to remember and it will show your steadfast conviction & therefore baptism can't really be brought up again after allready celebrating the naming of your child.

If some of your family refuses to attend then that's they're loss and for their religeous conscience to try to deal with and justify. Many non-religeous attened religeous events out of respect for their family/friends.

One last thing you could allways say is, that you want to leave the choice up to your child when she is old enough to understand say before confirmation but that might leave the door open for them to try to convert her, if they where that inclined.

-Aside I know someone from up the country who didn't baptise her children but her parents when minding them at the weekend reads the bible to/at them and even sometimes takes them to mass.

If you give in you might aswell don on a crucifix and lie as you swear the oath to bring her up according to the catholic church...btw you should read the christening vows.

Last word is with you.
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Re: Christening disaster

Post by Nimeniton » Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:37 pm

StephenG wrote:Hi.


i get word that my grandparents are "angry at me, disapointed in me" that aoife hasnt been baptised yet.
Congratulations on the birth of your daughter and I hope she is well. On a less serious note you could always chastise your grand-parents for their lack of hope that unbaptised infants go to heaven. And ask if they have not read Benedict's position on this. Perhaps best not to mention the Council of Florence where it is declared that the unbaptised innocents go to hell to receive a lesser punishment. This was before limbo became accepted. Limbo maybe a hypothesis but it is dogma that the unbaptised go to hell.
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