February 2013 Moms

confusion on religion

Disclaimer: This is not to start any huge religious debate. Just looking for others in my shoes.

So this is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. My husband and I are what I'd describe as agnostic. I believe that there's a bigger picture but I don't claim to know what it is. I guess I'm more nature/science with a dash of spiritual person. lol.

I'm already getting questions on "when are you getting that baby baptized" and what religion I'm going to raise my son with. Both our families are Christian. I know once my son is older he's going to start asking questions about the nature of life in general. I just want to raise him to be a good person and a good human being. I still plan on celebrating all the holidays my family celebrates and will explain to him why they celebrate it. If he wants to go to service with friends or family I really don't care. My focus is his actions and how he treats others.

My question is...anyone else like myself going this route? How are you explaining it to your family and others?

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Re: confusion on religion

  • Yes. I refer to myself as athiest, but "spiritual." I don't really believe in a higher power, but I do believe everything has "energy." Metaphysical, maybe? idk. We've been raising our son to be a good human being, but we don't include the religion thing. When he's old enough to understand, I plan on instructing him a bit about the main tenants of many of the world religions. I'm even toying with the idea of bringing him to a service for as many religions as I can. If he believes in god, or feels drawn to a particular religion, I will absolutely allow him to participate. He is his own person, and can draw his own conclusions. I feel that my job is just to provide the information. Personally, I don't feel that religion is a per-requisite for raising a good human being.
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    Homebirthing, babywearing, cloth diapering, young mama to two beautiful babies
    and married to my best friend in the world.
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  • image secondaryPULSE:
    When he's old enough to understand, I plan on instructing him a bit about the main tenants of many of the world religions. I'm even toying with the idea of bringing him to a service for as many religions as I can. If he believes in god, or feels drawn to a particular religion, I will absolutely allow him to participate.

    I too plan on doing something like this. 

     

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  • Also and this might make me sound terrible but I love....LOVE Christmas. Not for the religious aspect of it but for how people act during that time of year. All the love and charity that goes on. I wish people would behave like that all year round but they don't.
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  • Have you ever attended a Unitarian Universalist church? I'm one of those "spiritual but not religious" people and DH tends to be more scientific/humanist in his way of looking at the world, but way before we even had DS I knew I wanted to give our children some kind of spiritual guidance/teaching. Anyhow, the UUs don't have a creed but incorporate aspects from eastern and western religions. They are open and accepting of everyone, including people who consider themselves atheist. The church we found is a great, open community. 

    Here is a link that explains more about Unitarian Univesralism.  http://www.uua.org/

    In terms of family members, their reactions are curious and accepting. My mom was raised a strict Catholic but she thinks it's great we have found a place that works for us. 

    Also, in lieu of a baptism, we did a baby dedication/naming ceremony with the man who married us. He's a nondenominational minister and he allowed us to have a lot of input in the ceremony. We got to have it in our home too which was really special.

    And I totally feel you on Christmas...you are not terrible for thinking that way! 

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  • image singingsea:
    Also and this might make me sound terrible but I love....LOVE Christmas. Not for the religious aspect of it but for how people act during that time of year. All the love and charity that goes on. I wish people would behave like that all year round but they don't.

    It depends on the people. I see some act that way all year round, and we try to. We actually just gave money that we'd saved and our Honda Odyssey to a family that all the sudden lost the husband, leaving a single SAHM with 7 children. She knows she needs to get a job now but at least they have a safe vehicle to drive around in(what they were using was atrocious and borderline unsafe). We were thinking of selling the van anyway, but giving it to her just seemed right. We are Christian,  not "check the box on a form " Christian, we try to walk the walk and talk the talk. We aren't perfect though.

    But anyway, back to the subject. We won't be baptizing a baby that has no idea what it means. LO can decide to do that when he is older. The most we would do is have a baby dedication, where we go up in front of the church and dedicate him to Christ and promise to do our best to raise him in the Lord. If anyone asks, this is what we tell them. We don't have any hardcore Catholic  in the family that believe a baby needs to be baptized. If we did, and they argued that the baby needed to be baptized, then we'd probably go into a religious debate of our beliefs on the child needing to decide for himself.

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  • DH and I are both very spiritual but cannot seem to find a religion that we feel we belong to. So far we don't know about raising our child/children within a particular religion but we are seeking out an answer by prayer/meditation, researching religions, and eventually attending services.

    I was raised first with a belief and acceptance in all religions. My parents followed an Indian guru who preached religious harmony between all people (though my father was still a Unity Sunday School teacher). I was never baptized, but took sannyas  with this guru through my parents. When I was around 13 years old my mom returned to her Episcopal roots and I was raised with those beliefs with influence from Catholicism and the aforementioned guru thrown in. I began bible classes, going to church and youth group every week and I attended an Episcopal summer camp.

    DH was raised without religion from his parents, who are atheist and not spiritual at all. But the rest of both sides of his family are devoted Church of Christ.

    Considering how important spirituality is to both of us and how differently we were raised I believe that how you are raised has little to do with what you grow to believe. DH and I are mostly seeking answers for ourselves; to help guide us to be better parents.

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  • While I am a Christian and do attend church, I have a similar issue with family members.  Our families are both also Christian, but they practice their religions in very different ways.  My parents had us baptized as children and Dh and I do not do it with our children.  We do baby dedications and it was hard for my parents to wrap their minds around, I think.  Also, our families are VERY into the secular sides of holidays - Easter is more about the Easter bunny than the Resurrection and Christmas is more about Santa and presents than Christ.  We still participate in the secular parts of the holidays so that our parents get the pleasure of seeing their grandchildren sit on Santa's lap or do an Easter egg hunt, but in the private of our home we focus much more on the religious meanings of these holidays.  We toyed with the idea of not doing Santa or the Easter bunny at all, but we felt we needed to compromise with our families in the same way you are feeling you have to with yours.

    We practice our religion in some unconventional ways.  As far as explaining it to our family or others, we don't.  It's not really their business.  If they genuinely ask us why - like why I cover my head in worship or something like that - I will answer.  But that's about it.  In your case I would just take the same attitude. 

        
  • DH is an atheist, and I'd consider myself agnostic. I'm inclined to believe in a higher power, but feel that it's kind of arrogant to pretend to know the nature of it, given the vast size and age of the universe.

    I do, however, consider myself a "cultural Catholic" in that it's how I was raised and it's the church where I feel most comfortable. I figure all religions have their flaws, and boy does Catholicism have some big ones, but there are also things I like about it. I like that there is an emphasis on stewardship of, not dominion over, the earth. That appeals to my environmentalist side. I like the idea of faith plus good works, that you can't just say you believe in Jesus and be "saved," you have to put your money where your mouth is. On a shallow note, I like that my church does most I the Mass parts in Latin.

    One d my favorite things ever is the prayer of St Francis. If you aren't familiar with it, look it up. It's a great set of guidelines for how to live your life, no matter what your beliefs are.

    Anyway, we did have DD baptized [and we go to church with my mom most Sundays, it's become a nice little ritual and I think my mom likes the company since my dad isn't at all religious and doesn't go to church with her] but I'm going to encourage her to hold off on being confirmed in the Catholic church beyond the usual age of 13 or 14. I want her to mature a bit and learn about other faiths before she makes a commitment to one, and I'll support her in whatever choice she makes. If she really wants to be confirmed in the 8th grade she can, but otherwise she can just go through RCIA [Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults] at a later time.


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  • DH and I are both spiritual, but strongly opposed to organized religion for a variety of reasons. We ended up baptizing our kids due to family pressure. We don't believe in it, but we have relatives who really believed our children were in danger by not being baptized so we decided to give in to their wishes and give them peace of mind. In our minds it's meaningless but it makes relatives we care about feel better.

    Now we're in the crunch time to decide whether we need to enroll our oldest in religious education (our families are Catholic so we need to enroll her by Sept if we want her to get her first communion on time). Originally we were not planning on doing this, but we're finding that she's asking a lot of questions lately about spirituality and since religious education was a great way for us to start understanding spirituality we are considering enrolling her. And, again, it's easier than hurting family members (my ILs are very religious; MIL works in the rectory and FIL has been a volunteer folk choir director for almost 40 years).

    So, basically, we may take the wimp's way out and send our kids to religious education classes, never bother with mass, not enforce any of it at home and when they're old enough explain our beliefs. That's what my mom did. The only issue is that I was well into my 20s before I realized that religion was something adults actually believed, I thought it was something people taught to kids just because. 

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  • DH and I aren't facing any questions from family regarding a baptism since he and I don't go to church or aren't affiliated with any religion/belief. The question I face now is from HIM! 

    Before DD was born, I asked how he felt about baptizing her, because it was something I didn't want to do. He agreed, and it was never mentioned again. Fast-forward a few months and DH is asking about baptizing her, said he changed his mind. We can't even agree on who we would want for guardians if something happens to DH and I. He wants his sister, I want my sister. We are stubborn people. 

    I thought it was because his first 2 daughters were baptized and he wanted her to have the same, but he said no. He wants more of a "dedication", but I attended a baby dedication and it was pretty influenced by religion. 

    I'm not against religion, but I don't feel that we should baptize a baby into a religion/belief if we have no intentions on raising the child within those parameters on a regular basis. I'm along the lines of the other ladies and my goal is to raise a daughter who is a good person, hard working, and kind to others.

    We are going on our 2nd annual anniversary camping trip in September to the beach, and I'm think of planning a little dedication ceremony for the baby we can do at sunrise on the beach. I just want him to feel like we did something special for her how he had done for his two older girls, but something that fits our lifestyle. 

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  • Thanks ladies for sharing your stories. Big Smile 

    Drea926 - I'll look into Unitarian Univesralism. Thanks for the link! 

    Also it's nice to see a conversation about religion on a message board not fall into utter chaos YesBeer

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  • I can only speak from,my experience...I was baptized in the Catholic faith, but never went further in the sacraments. Fast forward to meeting DH, who happens to be a Catholic that went to Catholic schools through college.  We marry in the church, but I can't have a full mass.  We baptize our child, but I could never be a Godparent to anyone. I have my own struggles with this, but in a way I wish my parents had me do it just so that I could check boxes. I'm wondering how its going to work when DD goes to take Holy Communion and Mommy can't. (Yes, I know, I can take RCIA, but I prefer to spend my Sundays with family, and none of them are truly local, so if I have to choose family or Church, I choose family)

    I do respect all of you who at least go with what you believe.  My brother and SIL have basically denounced the Catholic Church and their teachings on FB, been attending services at another church, and now say they are baptizing their second child Catholic b/c "I like the sacraments, and I did it". I'm actally kind of disgusted by it. If you are a non practicing Catholic, that's one thing - most of us are!  But you are actively practicing another religion and are basically going to lie to the priest and promise to bring the baby up in the faith. I'm so not looking forward to attending that...

  • My husband's family is Christian and I was raised in a totally atheist household.  I basically have been hiding the fact that I am ignostic due to many of the comments they have made about people who don't have God in their life being immoral or ignorant etc.  The issue of baptism has come up recently and I prefer to just stay away from the whole thing unless my husband feels strongly otherwise.  I have recently come to the realziation that I need to just explain to my in laws how I really feel.  "I don't really believe in the whole baptism thing so it isn't really a priority for me."  Especially with a child there isn't any way to really hide this.  I think the reason it makes us uncomfortable to explain these things to people is because their is soooo much judgment about atheists and ignostics.  Notice how many people posting emphasized how they were a good person.  Personally I have decided to put my big girl panties on and stop letting other peoples assumptions, judgments and prejudices make me feel uncomfortable.
  • image carriesu2003:
    Personally I have decided to put my big girl panties on and stop letting other peoples assumptions, judgments and prejudices make me feel uncomfortable.

    Good luck! I know exactly what you mean about this.

                  imageimage
    Homebirthing, babywearing, cloth diapering, young mama to two beautiful babies
    and married to my best friend in the world.
    imageimage
  • I am an atheist. I am generally gentle but direct, and say that I am not interested in teaching my children what to believe before they are old enough to understand what they are being taught. They are welcome to explore new ideas and philosophies in age-appropriate ways, but I will not focus them on any single dogmatic system for any reason beyond education. 
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    *Spontaneous* OHSS diagnosed 08.06.2012
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