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S/O Religion and children

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thankyou Frog, however, I am useless at wording things.

So, my parents, grandparents kept pushing us to get DD1 Christened. We refused, we always said that it would be up to them what religion they followed, if they ever became religous at all. They will be exposed to religion for educational purposes and so they can choose or not choose to follow anything.

No one was very happy about our decision but it stuck and they gave up when I had DD2.

So, has anyone else refused to, I don't know, opt their child into their religion or not done it and for what reasons.
post #2 of 30
I don't think that christening makes you a member of a religion. At least with Christianity, I believe that you are only a Christian if you believe for yourself.

We did do "baby dedication" ceremonies for our kids at church. They're like baby baptisms without the baptising, I guess. It's where the parents pledge to raise their children in the faith and teach them about God.

And I have "opted them in" as much as I can. Ultimately, what they believe is their decision, but dh and I will be imparting our beliefs as much as possible.
post #3 of 30
I was raised Catholic, husband was raised non practicing southern baptist. But we are now Agnostic/Atheist (family doesn't know this).

My Dad has passed away recently and my Mom is sick with Alzheimers. Never have they asked about baptism. It also helps that we live 1500 miles away.
post #4 of 30
I let our children be baptized into dh's church (Greek Orthodox) in Greece because it was important to him and his family. Immensely so. And having them baptized doesn't really interfere with my beliefs, nor does it negate the ability for them to choose for themselves at some later date.
post #5 of 30
I didn't agree to have my children christened in the Catholic Church. It wasn't a huge deal because my inlaws live on another continent. The reason we didn't want to do it is because I don't believe in it. I think it's more like a symbolic committment to raise your baby as a certain faith. Catholic doesn't do it for me.

Lisa
post #6 of 30
I'm also agnostic/atheist and have a mostly Catholic family on one side and then mostly agnostic/atheist family on the other. I've never refused to have them whatever Catholics are (sorry, I'm clueless about religion) if they wanted to. Baptized? I think I was baptized once. But anyway, I've told their grandparents if they want to, that's fine with me. But I was told the only way it could be done is if *I* joined the church? No thanks.

My children can choose as they grow up. One of my sisters has chosen to be an atheist, another Catholic, and another Muslim, so whatever suits them is okay with me.
post #7 of 30
Personally (and I don't mean judgement on this at all- it is just something that I believe from my own experiences and travels) that "teaching kids about lots of religions so they can choose" doesn't usually work that way.

First, if you are "in" one religion, there is nothing to stop you from changing it as an adult, so it is not like someone who is raised catholic can't become buddhist if they so chose, as an adult.

Second, without childhood exposure and emotional connections to aspects of religion, it does not take hold in the same way as when it is a family experience.

We are raising our children jewish. We feel that it is part of their ethnic heritage. We want them to connect with it and understand the role of religion in peoples lives. We want them to feel that they "are part of a group" and a connection to their roots. If someday they choose to find meaning elsewhere, well, that's life. But Jews have a different connection to G-d than Christians, in that belief or faith is not required at all times in life (or even at all... Being Jewish is really a cross between an ethnenticity and a religion)- that we are allowed and encouraged to question and that this is part of the journey. So, raising our children Jewish does not mean that we as parents have to have it all figured out and be "religious" 100% of the time.

My SIL chose pretty much the opposite- no organized religion, or a loose secular Christian lifestyle. Her children, though, seem to be looking for a connection somewhere, which is just what they wanted.

I'm honestly think that it is a choice. If it is not honest to you, then don't do it and stand your ground.
post #8 of 30
IMO, children need to be raised with certain spiritual/religous beleifs. I don't think I'd be doing them any favors by NOT raising them in a Torah Observant home-it's who I am and how I live and I want to raise my children. If they choose to be irreligious when they're adults, I'll love them and respect them just as much (although honestly I will be dissapointed.)

I'm raising my kids with MY beliefs- not those of my parents. It caused some tension at first- "no, you can't take them to a non-kosher restaurant" and stuff like that.

I would expect others to do the same: raise their kids with THEIR beliefs (and I include Athiesm/Agnosticism here), no matter what the extended family members expect.
post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
IMO, children need to be raised with certain spiritual/religous beleifs. I don't think I'd be doing them any favors by NOT raising them in a Torah Observant home-it's who I am and how I live and I want to raise my children. If they choose to be irreligious when they're adults, I'll love them and respect them just as much (although honestly I will be dissapointed.)

I'm raising my kids with MY beliefs- not those of my parents. It caused some tension at first- "no, you can't take them to a non-kosher restaurant" and stuff like that.

I would expect others to do the same: raise their kids with THEIR beliefs (and I include Athiesm/Agnosticism here), no matter what the extended family members expect.
I love you.

To answer the OP, I had my son baptized by a priest when he was born because he was only 31 weeks and my MIL really wanted it. I didn't give a rip, it wouldn't hurt anything (IMO), and it would make my MIL feel better. No harm, no foul. Now I'm just waiting for the "When are you going to start him in Sunday school?" questions to begin...
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
I would expect others to do the same: raise their kids with THEIR beliefs (and I include Athiesm/Agnosticism here), no matter what the extended family members expect.
I do agree w/ this, obviously my children are being raised without religion. But I don't shun mention of religion in our house, they are sometimes given books or movies or just items that have to do w/ religion. I certainly don't want someone taking over and trying to instill all these beliefs in them. The whole baptism issue for me, though, isn't a big one. Maybe it's because I'm not religious? It doesn't really matter to me, it has no value. So if it has value for my family, I'm fine with it happening, I suppose.

So yeah, I think it's quite natural to want to pass on our spiritual and/or religious beliefs.
post #11 of 30
Moving this to Religious Studies.
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
We did do "baby dedication" ceremonies for our kids at church. They're like baby baptisms without the baptising, I guess. It's where the parents pledge to raise their children in the faith and teach them about God.
I have been hearing a lot about this lately. It seems to be getting really popular.

I am not religious and neither is DD's dad, and she is not being raised in any religion, and will not attend religious school. Growing up, my family was not religious, but I went to Catholic school, and converted on my own when I was about 12. My mom was raised Catholic, and although she does not go to church, she is always pushing me to take DD to church, I think because she feels it is some kind of status symbol.

MIL is really religious, but she is not in-your-face about it. She has expressed interest in taking DD with her to church, and if we lived near her, I would not have any problem with it. She sends DD religious themed stuff all the time -books, puzzles, coloring books with Biblical themes, etc. It doesn't bother me, so it's never been an issue.

Living where we do, it is inevitable that DD will be heavily exposed to Christianity growing up. I would guess that a good 90% or more of the population here is white, conservative, and Christian. Almost every car here has a bumper sticker advertising for their church.

As she gets older and starts to notice, we will discuss it. MIL has told her that "Jesus made her" and we've talked about how some people, including Nana, believe in Jesus, and she lost interest in the conversation. If something regarding religion comes up, we discuss it. It comes up a bit at this time of year, especially when we get to talking about how not everyone has Christmas like we do, and how some people celebrate Christmas because of their religion, some people celebrate other holidays, and some people don't celebrate anything at all. Our library has a section for holiday books, and the only book left in the non-Christmas half was one on Hanukkah, so we checked that out and read it this morning; when we go back, we will see if any others are available.

I'm not really into exposing her to a bunch of different religions so that she will pick one, but I do intend to discuss things with her as they come up, especially because Christianity is so predominant around here, and I want to show her that there are a lot of different paths, and perhaps give her some insight into why people do things the way that they do.
post #13 of 30
I was not practicing my religion just yet when I had the kids, but they were still a bit young when I started. They have grown up watching/knowing my practice but there has never been a requirement that they also must be or do anything.

Dd is pretty spiritual and over the last few years she has started to investigate my path more deeply. Ds is agnostic. Religion (or the lack thereof) is very personal and individual.
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsam View Post
Second, without childhood exposure and emotional connections to aspects of religion, it does not take hold in the same way as when it is a family experience.
I totally disagree.
post #15 of 30
I disagree as well. Respectfully of course...

That would mean that because my Dd wasn't required to practice my faith that her personal practice or tje religious connections she's making now are not deeply felt, and I don't believe that to be true.
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleaugustbaby View Post
I totally disagree.

I'm not talking about depth, just types of experience and memories and feelings. Children see and feel things differently than adults and coming to religion as an adult is a different experience than growing up with it. Not less- different.
post #17 of 30
We opted out children in. They are free to leave if they want but in the mean time I am going to provide them with a solid foundation and something to come back to when the time comes they may want it. or better something something to hold on to and never leave.
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsam View Post
I'm not talking about depth, just types of experience and memories and feelings. Children see and feel things differently than adults and coming to religion as an adult is a different experience than growing up with it. Not less- different.
I totally agree.
post #19 of 30
We're not baptising. Both of our families are Catholic. Which should be fun explaining to them why we're choosing not to baptise or raise our child in any religion. I know my grandmother (who will be great grandma) is the type to take my child and baptise him/her behind my back. But, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

For us, the situation is a bit different ... both of us were raised Catholic, went to Catholic school, etc. And, both of us, were atheists long before the age of 18 (we just didn't tell our families until then). We'll, of course, talk with our child when the questions come up and show them various beliefs. But, more in the sense of "here are all the theories people have about the world, this is what we (mom and dad) think."

Chances are good our child will remain an atheist. But, if she/he doesn't - we support this too.
post #20 of 30
We baptised. I wanted the assurance that if something happened they would be in heaven.
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