I was born, raised, and married Catholic, as was my wife. I have since become an out of the closet atheist within the last 3 years.

My youngest daughter-- 7 years old,  (out of 5 kids)  is not baptized.

We have been approached by the church to baptize her.

Wife sez yes, I say no. I have my reasons, she has hers.

I don't want it to happen, but if it does, I don't want to be there at the altar.

(Being in the church wouldnt kill me though.)


Can I ask for opinions/advice for this situation?

Please remember the questions they ask of the parents at the baptism:

1: Do you reject satan and all his works?

2: Do you accept god, his son and the holy ghost?

3: Do you promise to raise your kid in catholicism?


I DO NOT want to stand there and say "NO", but otherwise I think it's a harmless ceremony, and the kid could use a party(money!)

But if I go thru with it, How could I look in the mirror and call myself an atheist?

Others have said for me to LIE, but I will not.


ANY advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.



Views: 3043

Replies to This Discussion

The response from the church/wife will be that without baptism, then there's no penance, 1st communion, or confirmation. My reply is "so what?"
Their reply to that will be "We can't let her go till 16 y.o. 'TO BE SAVED' "
My wife and I baptized our older child but we did it from a sense of tradition and as an excuse to get our friends together to celebrate the birth of our child. Also, it made my wife's mom, who's very religious, happy. For my wife and me it was a harmless, meaningless ceremony but perhaps that's where your experiences and mine may diverge. I was raised without religion and the baptism took place in a very laid-back episcopalian church where the priest simply said a blessing and put some water on my kid's forehead. Now, question (1) should be no problem for you - of course you reject Satan, in fact you don't believe in him! and of course you reject his works because he doesn't exist so he's got no works to reject. So, saying 'yes' to question (1) will not compromise any of your morals. Question (2) is more difficult but I think it can be finessed. Because you know that god, his son & the holy ghost are imaginary you can say that you accept them the same way you accept other imaginary societal constructs such as the tooth fairy and Santa Clause. You accept that they're a part of the culture in which you were raised and that they've influenced the community in which you live. After all, you've been asked if you accept them, not if you believe in them. Question number (3), however, presents a fairly intractable problem and if your code of ethics prevents you from lying under these circumstances then I think you should do the following. Have two or three of your atheist friends videotape the service; have them positioned so that they can capture the expressions on the faces of the priest, you & your wife and the audience. When asked question (3) I think you should state flat-out: "I cannot in good conscience raise my child to be catholic because I refuse to tell him that preposterous bronze-age fairy tales about parting seas, talking snakes, virgin births and resurrected dead have any truth to them whatsoever." This may put a strain on the relationships you have with the more religious members of your family but you will certainly leave an impression on the priest, and fourteen years from now you & your kid will get a kick out of watching the video.
hehehhe! What happens in church...stays on Youtube....I Love it.
...And AS IF I could get my atheist friends to attend a baptism!!
Even my wife and kids are FAUX catholics...twice a year types.
My point is..What's the rush? We've already waited 7 years, lets wait 7 more.
But the catholic church wants to get them while they're young...NO PUN intended,
Before they can actually sort things out for themselves.
June, My wife is not an atheist. She is what I call a faux catholic...the twice a year at mass type.
But she will not give up her faith, and believes it is a good thing for the kids, even if her actions don't reflect her thoughts.
SHE wants to be in the catholic group, and I think she feels that if the kids are not "catholic in name" they will grow up to be heathens.. which is a bad thing her her mind.
I really like the college fund party idea though. Thanks.

I wouldn't do it. To stand their and says yes to all those questions. I don't think I could say it with a straight face.


"But if I go thru with it, How could I look in the mirror and call myself an atheist?"

Yea that would make you a bit of a sell out and traitor.


I do like the idea of taking advantage of religion(Like the super church jebus freaks) and taking the money for your kids.  Then again, you can just save your own money up. 


Baptizing them might give your wife the excuse to further indoctrinate them. So I conclude it in my opinion you shouldn't do it.  That money stuff just an excuse to get them into religion.

the kid could use a party(money!)

Someone is giving your family money to have her baptized? Could you explain this?

otherwise I think it's a harmless ceremony

Why do you think it's harmless? Unlike religious holidays, it's inducting the child into an institution whose beliefs you do not share and presumably don't want foisted on her.
Pretty much any sacrament/celebration at the church comes with a party.
Relatives and friends come and bring food/gifts/cards/money. The rituals serve as a good excuse for family get togethers.
The physical ceremony itself is harmless, but the implications of inducting a child into a superstitious institution is the problem, I agree.
Even though I truly want my child to make up her own mind later...pressure from the church, relatives and my wife WILL Probably cause too much strife in my life if I resist.
Is it worth it?
Why are you asking a bunch of Atheists? You know what we are going to say.
Linda--- I most certainly DONT know what you're going to say. Many Atheists have had their children baptized, for one reason over the others.
I just wanted to solicite significant reasons and rationales our community might be able to offer.
I was hoping to learn others' perspectives in order to help better defend my own position.
My husband and I are agreed on the no baptism thing, so it isn't an issue for us. How does your daughter feel about being baptized? Is she also an atheist? My 7 year old is firmly an atheist, so I know it can happen.

You may have to agree to disagree on this one. However, going to the ceremony may be seen as supporting the decision to raise her Catholic. Personally, I wouldn't go and make a scene. It may embarrass you little girl which is something you certainly don't want to do. I would explain to my feelings on the subject to her and why I will not be there for the ceremony, but I will be there for the really important things like her games in sports, dance recitals and anything else she might participate in that is important to her.

This baptism thing sounds like it is more for the grown ups than the kids. Try not to make too big of a deal about it less you push the family into becoming militant. I allow my family to talk to my kids about religion. So far my kids have totally rejected religion as nonsense. Religion is a topic like sex that is unpleasant for us to talk to our kids about, but it must be done.

If this is super important to your wife and family, they will find a way around you to do it. I would just agree to disagree and then plan something special with my daughter that doesn't involve religion. Try not to make a huge deal out of it and maybe it will pass quietly and be forgotten shortly. By keeping it low key, hopefully life with return to the comfortable status quo without too much ado. You certainly don't want to inspire them into devoted practice of their religion and go through the whole going to church battle every week!
Thanks Grace. My daughter believes in god.
She also believes in Santa too, and will probably do so for another couple of years.
I just dont think she's aware enough to make a sound decision at this point in her life.
But I dont want to 'pretend and be a part of it' because of my own convictions.
As a rule, I dont "PREACH" atheism, I try to inspire skepticism with my kids.
I worry about how SHE will feel if my wife goes on with the baptism and Daddy is not there.
If you choose not to go you should explain it to your daughter. She is old enough to understand that you do not agree with your mother's beliefs.




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