Non-religious people taking part in religious ceremonies.

Sarah - posted on 02/22/2011 ( 41 moms have responded )

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I've posed this question before, but it was ages ago! lol

What do you all think of non-religious people taking part in religious ceremonies.....for example.....getting their child christened because ''it's the done thing'' or going to church for a set number of weeks so they can have a big church wedding?

What about non-religious people becoming God-parents?

Do you find it hypocritical or are you all for it?

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Lucy - posted on 02/24/2011

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I don't feel offended or angry at people who are totally non religious marrying in a church, getting their kids christened etc, it's their choice and it doesn't affect me. But I don't understand the motivations for doing it, to be honest.

I think it is kind of weird to put so much effort into an event that doesn't mean a lot to you, and say words in front of family, friends and religious figures that you don't intend to honour. If it's the whole white dress, posh venue, big family gathering thing that people are after, you can have all of that with a secular wedding or naming day- Everything but the priest!

I feel the same about the god parent thing, really. As a Pagan, I would feel very hypocritical standing up in church and vowing to guide the child being Christened in the Christian faith. My best friend since child hood is Catholic. We are so close we are more like sisters than friends, but I know it wouldn't have crossed her mind to ask me to be her daughter's god mother as I am of a different faith. However, we are named guardians for each other's children, where religion doesn't come into it.

Jodi - posted on 02/22/2011

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Just for the record, Godparents have absolutely NO legal standing as guardians of a child (at least, they don't here in Australia). I thought I would clarify that, because I have had legal advice to that effect. Legal guardians and Godparents are two totally different things. So even if you have Godparents for your child, you still need to nominate them in your legal will.

[deleted account]

We don't do godparents in the Baptist church, but from what I understand, the role of a godparent is to aid in the religious upbringing of a child. It's up to the parents who the godparent is, their choice. But if you are religious, why would you chose someone that is nonreligious to fill that role? And if you are nonreligious, why would you agree to fill that role? Personally, I don't take issue with it if that's what you want to do. I just don't understand it.

Jenn - posted on 02/22/2011

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But that's what a Godparent is Kati. If they don't want to have anything to do with God - don't be a Godparent - be a named legal guardian in their will.

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LadyJane - posted on 02/24/2011

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I don't see anything wrong with it. You don't really know what those kids are going to grow up to be. They may in fact become religious on their own and if they're already baptised, they won't need to do that step again. I do know of one couple who did have their baby baptized, but in that case their baby was dying and I guess they thought that if there really was a God, then they'd rather their baby to be baptized then not. Baby did die a day after, and the couple did end up converting years later. I guess it really depends on if the parents feel it is the right thing to do. I don't think it is being hypocritical at all. Though some churches won't baptize a baby if the parents aren't of that faith. No one really knows what will happen really. Yes, some children end up on their own getting baptized later in life, regardless of what their parents believe in. I just don't see anything wrong with it. Oh, FYI, a person can in fact be baptized twice. Though some churches only recognize the first as being the official one.

Lady Heather - posted on 02/23/2011

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I had no problems vowing to the God I don't believe in that I would make sure my godson is raised with the values and ideals of the United Church. For one, I don't not believe in God either so there's always a chance in my mind that he's there to vow things at and second - the United Church is extremely liberal and definitely suits my morals. I don't attend because I don't believe, but I have no problems helping a kid grow up within that church. If it was another denomination I might not have opted to be a godparent.

[deleted account]

I tend to think that this is one of those areas where there might be a conflict between ideals. I'm not religious (one of my "ideals" perhaps?) but another of my ideals is not to hurt the people I love. So we got our kids christened, mainly because the family would have been hurt if we didn't. I don't think it's hypocritical at all. We didn't bring them up to be religious, but we certainly brought them up to be kind, tolerant, considerate of others etc - basically, the values that many religions espouse but without the religious stuff.

[deleted account]

Emma, the loud music sounds about right...and the no robes thing.

Maybe Pentecostal in Australia is similar to non-denominational churches here in the US.

Very interesting differences.

JuLeah - posted on 02/22/2011

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Not mine to judge, not my bussiness what another does. It is between them and their higher power ... not even my place to call a person non-religious unless that is a title they took for themselves ... big difference between religious and spiritual ... I know many VERY religious folks fill with hate and fear ... don't seem to be spiritual at all and I know many very spiritual folks, who'd make great god-parents, that are not 'religious'

Stifler's - posted on 02/22/2011

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Noo Pentecostals are the least conservative of all the religions here, everyone wears whatever they want to Church and there is loud music and no pipe organ and the pastor doesn't wear robes. The speaking in tongues thing yes though. I always wanted to go to a Church with a pipe organ rather than guitars and drums and keyboards.

[deleted account]

Here in the US, Pentecostals tend to be very conservative and charismatic. Long skirts, long hair, no makeup, speaking in tongues, etc. Is it the same in Australia?

Stifler's - posted on 02/22/2011

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I don't like being Pentecostal that much to tell the truth. The churches I've been to, their beliefs are great in theory but in practice they end up sending more people away than bringing them in.

Shelley - posted on 02/22/2011

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As a christian i actually think its nice that some people like our traditions ect and would like to be married in a church and have their kids baptised ect. You never know when people might want to come back.

Stifler's - posted on 02/22/2011

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I got married in a Lutheran church lol I had a big discussion with the pastor about baptism because of my mother in law so I asked him what it even means to Lutherans. Because I am Pentecostal (LOL) and we choose to get baptised and he said that some Lutherans do that at an older age if they weren't baptised as a baby. He never said everyone who goes there has to be baptised though. I think most churches have procedure if you weren't baptised as a baby and want to convert. I don't have Godparents and neither will my kids. I'm just going to name a guardian for if we both die.

Joanna - posted on 02/22/2011

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There are some churches where to become a member, theywant you to be baptized. You can go to that church all you want, but to become a member is when they want that. Maybe it's just small town North Dakota where I grew up. I know it's not everywhere.

Becky - posted on 02/22/2011

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You don't have to be baptized to go to my church! Anyone is welcome. We don't do infant baptisms or christenings, or godparents either. However, when we were considering legal guardians for our boys, we did rule out some people because they did not share our beliefs and we want the boys to be raised with the beliefs we are raising them with. So we would have felt the same way about Godparents.

Becky - posted on 02/22/2011

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Well, if a person believes in God but just doesn't affiliate themselves with any organized religion or church, then I could understand it. Kind of a covering all the bases thing. If a person is an athiest, then I think it's wierd, but, to each his own. It doesn't offend me or anything, I just wouldn't get it.

Rosie - posted on 02/22/2011

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technically yes, lol! but if your friend or relative IS religious and asks you knowing you aren't, what's the problem? you can still do exactly what a godparent does. and also here, where i live godparents aren't necessarily religious. people just ask and have no ceremony or anything, i actually didn't know it was a religious thing (i know, pretty lame since there's the word god right in it, lol) until recently.

Rosie - posted on 02/22/2011

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i understand those people who do it for their families. my husband got married in a church for his family and me (i still identified as christian then). we went through the whole going to church every sunday (i almost typed sinday, lol), it wasn't my church and i didn't attend church before (i never felt it was necessary in my relationship with "god") so i guess i kinda did a few things i didn't believe in either for the sake of a church wedding.

i don't understand those who get their kids baptised and havn't had familial pressure to do so, and do it just cause. it seems rather stupid, and odd to me.

those who are god parents and aren't religious doesn't bother me at all. they can still vow to do the same things a religious person does, just not to god. :)

Jenn - posted on 02/22/2011

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Joanna - why would you HAVE to be baptized to go to church? I've never heard of that before, and it certainly isn't a rule around here. So I also don't understand how that keeps options opened to anything.

Also, I think some people are a bit confused. It's one thing to believe in God and not go to church, yet have your child baptized/christened, or be a Godparent, etc. It's another thing to not even believe in God and do those things. That's what makes no sense to me. I don't see being religious equal to being a church-goer. I personally believe in God, but have not been to church in years. Going to church does not make or break you as a Christian.

Joanna - posted on 02/22/2011

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Sarah, I was baptized as a baby, but am not religious. But if I did decide to go to a church then I wouldn't have to be baptized again. So if my daughter wants to become a member of a church at 30, she won't have to get baptized.

[deleted account]

Meh. As a "religious" person, I don't take issue with non-religious people wanting to take part in religious ceremonies. Some people do so for the sake of their families or tradition. But I do have great respect for those that chose not to. As some have said, why would you vow to aid in a child's religious upbringing if you aren't religious yourself?

Sarah - posted on 02/22/2011

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With the wedding thing, I just can't (personally) fathom how someone who doesn't believe in God, could go against that and have a church ceremony just because they like the building or have always wanted a church wedding.
It just seems strange to me to against what you believe in, and stand and make a religious commitment when you don't believe.
If I'd had to go to a church for 6 weeks or whatever to get married there, I would have felt like a complete liar! lol

Lady Heather - posted on 02/22/2011

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I am a non-religious godmother, so I guess I'm cool with that. I would not understand baptizing just because (does anyone do that???). The wedding thing I wouldn't do, but guess there could be a chance they just really liked the building?

Sarah - posted on 02/22/2011

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If one parent is religious and the other isn't, I can understand that. It's when both parents are atheists (or non-religious) that I can't wrap my head around it :)

[deleted account]

I did it Sarah because my children have a father who has thoughts and feelings and a choice as well.He found it very important to have his children christened, so for him i said yes.Also his family.It made them happy.It didnt harm my children to have given them that day they felt was important.

Sarah - posted on 02/22/2011

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The thing is, I don't think that getting a child christened/baptised IS giving them an option. You can't get un-christened, can you?

Neither me nor my sister were christened. My sister chose to get christened when she was older enough to decide for herself, and I decided not to.

I think that is giving more of an option. :)

Jenni - posted on 02/22/2011

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My husband even had people at his work pressuring him to get our children christened. Like it's any of thei business. Apparently they were acting like it was the most horrible thing on Earth not to have your children christened. That if you don't and something happens to the child they will go to Hell when they pass. Ridiculous I know, but that's what the elderly Eastern European women were saying to him.

Joanna - posted on 02/22/2011

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I got my first baptized because it was important to my mother, who is very religious. Plus, even though I am not religious, my daughter could be some day. She's gone to church with my mother in law, and when she's older I will let her go whenever she wants, and maybe go with her if no one else can take her. I don't think it's bad that I'm keeping my mom happy and my daughters options open, just because I don't believe in religion.

With that being said, we had my non religious brother and my husbands non religious sister named god parents, and there was a huge hissyfit thrown by my brother and his wife, which turned me off to getting my second baptized. My mom hasn't even mentioned it because I think it turned her off to it, too.

Sarah - posted on 02/22/2011

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Better add my thoughts!
I think it's hypocritical.
If that's what you want to do, then fair enough I guess, but it's not something I could ever do without feeling like a real hypocrite.

I know a few couples who have gone to church for a set number of weeks, just so they could get married there. Which just seems crazy to me, a)for them doing it and b)the church going along with it!

I know LOADS of people who have had their kids christened or baptised when they're not religious. That really confuses me. Why would you want to have your child accepted into something that you don't believe in?!?!?!

I wouldn't be a god-parent, for the pure reason I couldn't stand in a church and make a promise I know I couldn't keep.

Bonnie - posted on 02/22/2011

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To each their own really. I know people who baptise their children even though they never go to church and are planning to/send their children to public school. If you are religious and/or want to send your children to a catholic school, then yes they need to be baptised. Otherwise I don't really see the point.

And yes, why have a big church wedding if you never go to church.

Krista - posted on 02/22/2011

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I can understand why some non-religious people might have a church wedding, if it's a beautiful historical building, or if there is a lot of family pressure to have a church wedding, so I'm not going to judge them. I feel sorry for anybody who is pressured into a church wedding when they're not religious, though.

For christening, it's probably the same thing. There are probably some people who only christen their child because if they didn't, they'd never hear the end of it from the rest of the family.

(We warned our families years before we had kids that we had no intention of ever christening our children, so it's not like it was a big shocker when our baby was born and didn't get christened.)

As far as God-parents go...this one hits a bit close to home. My sister wanted me to be my nephew's godmother. I told her that I'd be happy to be his guardian, but that I couldn't promise to bring him up in a religious fashion, because I wouldn't be bringing up my own kids with religion, so it would be kind of impossible to raise one with religion and the rest without. She was really upset that I wouldn't promise this to her, but she'd known for years that I am an atheist, so I have no idea why she would pick me to guide her kid's spiritual upbringing anyway. So at the end of the day, she chose mom and me to be co-god-parents. Mom can do all the God stuff, and I would be the legal guardian.

So yeah, the godparent thing: I think that the non-religious person, if they really feel that they are not able to provide that child with spiritual guidance, they should be upfront with the parent about it, and let the parent decide from there.

Jenn - posted on 02/22/2011

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Jennifer - in that case it isn't called a Godparent, but you name a guardian in your will should something happen to you. It's basically the same thing I guess, but not called a Godparent. To me a Godparent is also making that commitment that you are making during the baptism/christening ceremony to raise the child in a Christian based home - since the Godparent is the sponsor of the baptism/christening.

Jenn - posted on 02/22/2011

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I've never heard of someone that I know of, having their child baptized/christened if they weren't religious. Same with Godparents. Also, why is it "the done thing"? Maybe it's different around here, I don't know, but I've never heard that before. I AM Christian, and have not had my children christened. I guess I would think that very bizarre - why would you commit to raise your child in a Christian home, when you yourself are not Christian? That makes no sense to me. As far as weddings go, I didn't know you had to go to church for a set number of weeks to be married there. I'm pretty sure you just pay a higher fee if you're not a member of that church but want to be married there. But again, if you don't believe in God - why would you want a religious ceremony?

Jenni - posted on 02/22/2011

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I would think that non-religious people who get married in the church are doing it more for their family.
I don't get the christening thing. Maybe they just want to cover all their bases for their child. Maybe they want to give their child the option of deciding for themselves when they're older. Maybe they're pressured by family to do it.
A God-parent isn't necessarily a religious thing. It can be simply who you wish to take care of your children should something happen to you. The modern view of a godparent tends to be an individual chosen by the parents to take an interest in the child's upbringing and personal development.

Danielle - posted on 02/22/2011

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I don't see anything wrong having your child christened or becoming God parents but I do find it VERY hypocritical to go to church just b/c ppl want to get married there. You can find churches that will marry you even if you don't go there. My father was one of those pastors. I can't tell you how many ppl he married that didn't and didn't intend on going to his church. Go to church b/c you want to be there not b/c you want something from the ppl there.

Stifler's - posted on 02/22/2011

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I think it's hilarious when people who never go to Church or aren't religious get their kids baptised. Then say they don't believe in God the next day and carry on their regular life. What's the point of having your kid baptised if you don't believe in God?? A baptism is like dedicating your child to god or making them a member of the church.



I have the same argument with my MIL all the time. She's like "why don't you get Logan baptised... he'll go to hell if he's not baptised"... Me: "i'm pretty sure being baptised won't get you anywhere". Plus I believe that it's everyone's own decision to make whether you get baptised or not, not one your parents should make for you as a baby.



I got married in a Church I never went to. Damian's family always went there and all get married there and were baptised there. I didn't want to get married in my Church because I dislike everyone who goes there. Pastor Chris never made us go to Church but he did make us do marriage counselling but probably only because we live 600km away and only came back for 2 weekends for the marriage prep and a week for the wedding.

Louise - posted on 02/22/2011

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I really don't mind what people feel they have to do to fit in with society. I am not religious at all but I would like my daughter christened because my sons are. However my husband does not want her christened because he has no faith at all. My sons God parents are none religious and that does not bother me they promised to be there for my sons when they were growing up and have always been a good role model.

Personally I am not into big church weddings as now a days you can get married any where but for some women it has been a dream all of their lives. I think if they care enough to want to do things properly by being married in a church then they must deep down believe in something.

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