Baptizing children if I don't go to church? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 23 Old 08-22-2008, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have some desire to baptize my children...but I am not overly religious and I don't attend church. I was going to go to a nondemonational church.
Any advice, ideas, tips, views on this?
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#2 of 23 Old 08-22-2008, 08:53 PM
 
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Are you a believer? I always thought that the idea of child dedication was that parents are vowing to raise their children "in the faith."

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13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
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#3 of 23 Old 08-22-2008, 10:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momtoS View Post
I have some desire to baptize my children...but I am not overly religious and I don't attend church. I was going to go to a nondemonational church.
Any advice, ideas, tips, views on this?
Yes, I'm confused as well. Is it for cultural/family reasons? Baptism is not "magic" - it really only holds meaning for believing, practicing Christians.

Also, depending on the non-denom church, they might very well NOT practice infant baptism - might do "dedications" instead. Not sure how old your kids are.

Also, it is in a church's "right" (for lack of a better word) to NOT baptize your children if you're not attending.

If you want some sort of dedication for your children, you might try searching this forum. I've heard of other mamas doing a dedication ceremony, maybe even water involved, but it's not in a church. More among a circle of like-minded family/friends.

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#4 of 23 Old 08-23-2008, 02:22 AM
 
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When you Baptize a child you are promising to raise them to be believers in God. And Tradd is right, the church has the right to say no. My church would not Baptize a child if the parents never attended church.

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#5 of 23 Old 08-23-2008, 02:50 AM
 
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Why not wait until they are old enough to decide for themselves if they want to be baptized?

Happily married to my dh, mama to ds1 (01/2005), ds2 (07/2007)  and dd (07/2009).
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#6 of 23 Old 08-23-2008, 04:13 AM
 
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Our non-denom church only does baby dedications. Baptisms are a decision a young person makes on their own when they know what it is they are doing.

I would suggest either start attending because you want to attend, or do your own thing as suggested above.

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#7 of 23 Old 08-23-2008, 09:42 AM
 
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Is it the ceremony that you are wanting, i.e., a welcoming of a child? Unitarian Universalists have a dedication ceremony that might hold appeal for you.
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#8 of 23 Old 08-23-2008, 10:11 AM
 
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Many churches also view baptism as welcoming a child into the community of people who are followers of Jesus. If parents just want to get it "done" whether out of a desire to please the grandparents or just because it seems like a nice thing to do for your baby, some churches will say no if the parents have no desire to become even a small part of the church community. Baptism is a spiritual commitment that most churches take seriously.

A non-denominational church might not be any more open to the idea of a non-member requesting baptism than a mainline church, depending on their theology - non-denominational churches cover a wide spectrum of belief.

What is it about baptism that appeals to you? Are you interested in finding some sort of faith community that you might like to be connected with in some way? Depending on where you live there could be a wide range of churches and faith communities for you to check out and see which one feels right for you and your family. Is it the idea of having a ritual geared towards naming and welcoming your child into the world in a special way? There are all kinds of ways you could do this, too.
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#9 of 23 Old 08-23-2008, 06:50 PM
 
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I doubt you will have much luck in a non-denominational church especialy if you are not even a here and there sort of member.

MOst non-denom churches will not baptize children. I know at the last one I attended the average age was 13 and the child had to choose for themselves.

dedication is a way of initiating a child into the congregation and pledging to raise them in the faith. if you do not intend to do either of those then I doubt you will have much luck.

what do you want for your children? Does the baptism still hold a spiritual quality in your mind (I truely believe that baptism is a sacrement granting my child spiritual advantages- blesing protection etc and would have it done even if I was a complete failure in my faith)? is it merely symbolic or cultural? Where are you at? are you just bad at attending church? are you just not sure where God is leading you? or are you unsure if you even believe? do you intend to raise your children in the faith as Christians evn if you so a terrible job at it (lets face it, I may not be my childrens best teacher but I still want them to have as much of God as they can grasp and I truely hope they embrace him more fuly than i can ever dream).

there are a lot of factors that go into this. I don;t think you kids should be denied baptism just because you don't go to church as often as someone thinks you ought. but is you are not a Christian and have no intention of raising your children as Christians then that is a different matter al together.

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#10 of 23 Old 08-24-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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Why baptize a child if you don't attend or don't intend to bring him orher up in the faith you are baptizing in? I don't get why you'd want to make promises if you don't intend to keep them.
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#11 of 23 Old 08-24-2008, 11:22 PM
 
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What's the point?

I don't believe in paedobaptism anyway, but I really don't get why you'd want to do it if you're not religious. A naming/'welcome to the world' ceremony, sure.

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#12 of 23 Old 08-24-2008, 11:53 PM
 
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Just joining the line of questioning...what does baptism mean to you? why do you want to baptize your children?

I am a clergyperson in a liberal denomination, and I am fairly easy about baptizing children of non-members. Still, I require a meeting with them, a conversation (and convincing answers) about why they want their child baptized, and the promise from them that they are actually planning to raise their child to know Christ. That's what baptism means.

If they lie to me, or fudge the truth, I don't really care--but I have a policy of not baptizing their second child until the family shows me that they are coming to church on a regular basis.

So, you might find some resistance even among fairly liberal clergy. Like I said, though, I would just want to know your answers to those first questions--if your reasons mapped on to our church's theology, that's all I need.

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#13 of 23 Old 08-25-2008, 09:05 AM
 
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Yeah, that's why I was wondering if the OP is using 'baptism' as a more generic term, when what she's really looking for is a welcoming type of ceremony.

OP?
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#14 of 23 Old 08-25-2008, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, everyone has given me stuff to think about. I was thinking that I would like my children baptized because I would like them to have a blessing, or something. I am not religious but do believe in teaching them to be good people. I try to tell them not to harm the earth (littering, etc), I try to encourage them to be nice to all people and treat all people with respect. I want them to know that they are very special, and very loved. Does that answer any of the questions?
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#15 of 23 Old 08-25-2008, 10:54 AM
 
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I wouldn't do a baptism if you weren't going to raise them in that faith. In a Catholic church, you are supposed to promise to raise the child Catholic if you have them baptized. The child is then expected to live up to the expectations. Its really not fair to have those expectations placed on a child if they are not going to be taught about those things.

A UU church may do a blessing for you that could be non-denominational/not religious in nature, but spiritual in nature. That may work well for you. You can have a ceremony, have a party, take lots of pictures, put them in a special gown/suit etc. But then they are not "baptized". UU churches don't have a particular belief, they accept all beliefs. Even some atheists and agnostics go to them for a sense of belonging. I hope that makes sense and helps you.
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#16 of 23 Old 08-25-2008, 06:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momtoS View Post
Well, everyone has given me stuff to think about. I was thinking that I would like my children baptized because I would like them to have a blessing, or something. I am not religious but do believe in teaching them to be good people. I try to tell them not to harm the earth (littering, etc), I try to encourage them to be nice to all people and treat all people with respect. I want them to know that they are very special, and very loved. Does that answer any of the questions?
Why not come up with your own blessing ceremony that conveys the values you want them to have and then have someone you respect perform it? You could do one that is not religious in nature if you're not religious, kwim?

Happily married to my dh, mama to ds1 (01/2005), ds2 (07/2007)  and dd (07/2009).
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#17 of 23 Old 08-25-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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My friend (whose dad is a pastor but she doesn't go to his church but wants to include everyone) did blessing ceremonies for her children. It was nice. Baptized or nice you can't be too blessed. She held it at a park on a sunday afternoon. You could structure it any way you wanted and invite whoever you wanted. baptism is a religous rite for the faithful but blessings are for everyone.

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#18 of 23 Old 08-25-2008, 07:11 PM
 
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Nothing to add. I agree with the PPs, though.

Consider what has been posted.
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#19 of 23 Old 08-25-2008, 07:43 PM
 
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I second the UU's dedication ceremony. They welcome people of all faiths or no faith at all.
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#20 of 23 Old 08-26-2008, 08:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
Are you a believer? I always thought that the idea of child dedication was that parents are vowing to raise their children "in the faith."
I did this with my children when they were young.

I've always been of the belief that a person has to choose when they are ready to be baptized. That's their choice and not their parents choice.

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#21 of 23 Old 08-26-2008, 09:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by momtoS View Post
Well, everyone has given me stuff to think about. I was thinking that I would like my children baptized because I would like them to have a blessing, or something. I am not religious but do believe in teaching them to be good people. I try to tell them not to harm the earth (littering, etc), I try to encourage them to be nice to all people and treat all people with respect. I want them to know that they are very special, and very loved. Does that answer any of the questions?
OK, based on what you have just said, I think you are looking for a welcoming ceremony and not a baptism. Baptism is a Christian religious ceremony and has significant implications (i.e., a promise to raise one's child in that particular faith, an affirmation of Jesus Christ as savior, and so on).

Also based on what you've said, I think you should check out the UU dedication services. I think it might be in tune with your values and would provide the ceremony you're wanting.
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#22 of 23 Old 08-26-2008, 01:10 PM
 
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We had our son baptized....and we're not church-goers.

We wanted our child to have some sort of ceremonial introduction to his spiritual path, and were searching for a baptism/blessing/welcoming ceremony to do that. The final decision came when we chose the person to perform the ceremony - a good, old family friend of DH's who's a retired Lutheran minister. We have a lot of respect for this man and value his presence in our lives.
We did ask him to perfom a casual ceremony in our backyard....but he didn't feel comfortable with that. He thought about it for a few months and told us he'd be honored to do the ceremony, but it would have to be in a Lutheran church. He'd already talked with the minister at the church where he and his wife attended (in a different town from us) and got the go-ahead to do it all. We were married in a Lutheran church and liked the continuity of having our child baptized in the same church by someone who was special to us.
So....last summer our son was baptized in the Lutheran church. The minister was fully aware that we would likely never be back in his church....and honestly never asked us about our regular church habits. We did make a donation for the ceremony because they didn't "charge" us anything and we wanted to say thank-you.

We believe in God and we try to follow the teachings of Jesus on a day-to-day basis. However, I still wouldn't consider us devout Christians. I've attended the local UU church here and it's okay. I'm not even motivated to continue going there every week though. I do have a relationship with God that's personal and valuable to me and I'm teaching our son to do the same.
During the course of the ceremony, we made NO promises to continue attending that church or to even worship Jesus. It was God-focused, which is in line with our beliefs, so we didn't feel like we were commiting to something false to us. The base values that were stated in the ceremony were in line with our existing beliefs.

Shannon & Paul...married since 2000. Parents to Alexander Paul Martin - 30 October, 2003 Grace Elizabeth Maile - 12 June, 2009
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#23 of 23 Old 09-03-2008, 05:24 PM
 
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We are doing a bit of everything. I love ceremony and think it's all very special and spiritual in it's own way.

We are baptizing and doing a naming ceremony. I don't believe by baptizing my son he will have to stick to that religion or not. But I think it's a beautiful blessing, and a wonderful way to welcome him to a community that I respect.

But hey I'm a woman that had a traditional Thai Buddist wedding and a Christian wedding with lots of pagan influences.

I'm gonna open many doors for him and show him all kinds of ways and yet he can always walk his own path, like I've chosen for myself.
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