In Need of MAJOR Advice (From Parents or Non-Parents Alike)


Registered Member
I am NOT a parent yet, I hope most of you know, and don't plan to become one in the very very near future.

Here's the problem.

Mark and I are not religious. We have beliefs about different aspects of life, and are not so much religious as "spiritual" I guess? We believe in being good people mostly, I suppose.

What we want for our children, ideally, would be to introduce them to many religions. Teach them about Judaism, Jainism, Paganism, Christianity, Hinduism... whatever they're curious about. We'll tell them parables or stories about each of them while they're children and then as they grow up and come to understand where the stories come from and about religion in general, we'll answer any questions they may have, and if we can't we'll look them up ourselves.

We want our children to CHOOSE to be religious or not. And if they choose TO be religious, then to let them decide on their own beliefs.

I've always felt it's wrong to be "obligated" into a religion. I grew up Christian and always felt that if I decided NOT to be one day my mother would disown me forever. (Which she wouldn't, but that's beside the point.)

My problem in all this IS my mother.

Here's where the advice comes in:

My mother has this notion that baptism does not BIND YOU to a religion. Fine. But she's been BEGGING me to just baptize my children for her sake so she feels that they are under God's protection.

Now, I'm agnostic. To me, it'll make her happy and she doesn't even care whether or not I go. Which I would not want to. Because it's more for her than the child (in my opinion, anyway. She believes it's for the child's sake) or for me.

If my child had CHOSEN to be a religion, I'd be there all the way for them. But in this scenario their CHOICE wasn't brought into the equation.

Mark was not baptized. And he's ticked off that my mother is so vehemently shoving this idea on us. But at the same time, we are both totally aware of my mother's dedication to this. She begs me every chance she gets, and I do take her thoughts into consideration, because I love my mother. But her only justification doesn't make sense to me. I always say "Mark's not baptized. He's lasted to 21 and he's healthier than anyone I know. He's not "protected"?" She gets so upset and says "I know, but for me it's about protection and it's a personal belief and I know that's not in the bible and it makes no sense but that's how I feel and I'm just so upset about it, Katie."

And I just see her getting anxious and visibly scared for my future children that may not get baptized at a young age.

Mark is unsure about what to do, and I'm a bit unsure myself.

I want to wait until they understand and are old enough. But there's no pleasing my mother that way.

At this point, however, I feel like baptism doesn't mean that much to me. It's a formality. I've read up on it and baptism isn't NECESSARY for "salvation". Or whatever so if God is really who we're going to meet up with in the end, my kid'll be just fine if they don't get baptized young.

So at this point I almost feel like it doesn't matter if my mom wants to babysit one day and just happen to stop by the church and say "baptize this kid real quick", she can be my guest. But it's not just about me. It's got to be about what Mark wants too. But we both were curious about what everyone else thought.

We'll make our own decision in the end, but outside thoughts can usually bring in a new perspective we hadn't thought of.

PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THIS ABOUT RELIGIOUS DEBATE. We simply want your personal opinions. If someone says something you don't agree with? Please just ignore them.

This is about what YOU might do in this situation, or what you think would be a good compromise.

So.... thoughts?


still nobody's bitch
You two are still fairly young, I think that at this point it's probably difficult for your mother to step back and say "they are responsible adults, I will respect their decision". That's what she should do, but it's probably hard for her to do at this point.

My best advice at this point is to not worry about it too much until it's at the forefront. Whenever it does come up, remind your mother that it will be your child and Mark's child, not hers, therefore it's not her decision to make and ask her to please respect your decision. Gently and kindly, of course, but stand your ground.

And Mark, try your best not to put Katie in the middle between you and her mother.
You clearly respect your mother's wishes, and in return, she should respect yours. It's not fair for her to push this onto you. At the same time, I can understand that if someone adamantly believes that if a child isn't baptised they aren't protected, it would be hell (scuse the pun) to think that your grandchild won't go through it. Have you showed her all your research on it not being necessary for [apparent] salvation?


Registered Member
Please. My mother's 62. Her mother was born in 1914. She's so old-school about things. Logic, science, biologic things, etc... nothing on this earth can convince her against what she vehemently believes. She's unreasonable. I can understand if you believe something that way, though. I think things that I'm aware are totally irrational sometimes... we're not all like Spock in Star Trek whose Vulcan race is supposed to be all logic all the time.

She's just insane about this. But the advice is perfectly helpful so far! Thanks a heap! :)

I only wish she was convincable.


still nobody's bitch
I don't envy you, Katie. I'm just glad my mom never brought it up. I know it pains her that her granddaughter was never baptized, but there's absolutely no way I'd do it. I want nothing to do with the Catholic church


Registered Member
See, we're not worrying about dealing with the Catholic church. My mother's a United Methodist Church go-er... Which never bothered me. It's just a pain to deal with her wanting this so badly. Because quite honestly for me it could go either way. Which is why I'm kind of waiting for Mark to think it over. But I agree that this is not coming up soon and we shouldn't worry about it until it needs to be worried about.


Registered Member
Have you showed her all your research on it not being necessary for [apparent] salvation?
Yes--more than enough. She persists because she feels that even though it is not in the bible, it is in her heart. That is what kills me--I respect her position so much but cannot seem to want to waver too much on mine.

I want to do the most reasonable thing--just not sure what that is at the moment. I think I feel hurt because we are being unfairly placed in a position where there is no compromise. There is no explaining to her that there must be some give and take, that it might be ok with us if she waited until they were old enough to understand an decide. For Katie's mother, it is her way or the highway:cry: whereas I just want to be fair and rational for everyone on all sides...but it seems impossible when dealing with absolutism.


Epic Gamer
I find the answer rather simple. Baptism is not required to be performed at the stage of infancy. If placating your mother is truly important to you, simply tell her that you will not influence the child in either direction. If and when you have children, let them choose as they so wish. If the child wants to be baptised or christened or have a bar mitzvah, that should be his or her choice and no-one elses.

Be firm and steady. Make it clear that it is not fair and just to force belief unto another, particularly in the case of a child. Faith should be found, not given.
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Registered Member
You're preachin' to the choir my friend. There's absolutely no pleasing her this way. I've told her flat out that we plan to let the child decide and we don't plan to influence the child one way or another. She's just a nut-case. I love her dearly. But she's a definite nut-case. :/

My problem is mostly with hurting her over something I don't care as strongly about as Mark might. I'm having a hard time with it. I mean, it's OUR decision and I don't want to force him to have hurt feelings so my mother won't. Because this is unfair and ridiculous.

I'm very torn is all :/


It's not me, it's you.
Ok, I have the opposite opinion of most people in here, so this should be interesting.

I mean the big scheme of things...does it really matter if you have your child baptized or not, if YOU do not believe it is necessary, and the child won't remember?

I've been baptized twice. Once when I was too young to know what I was doing, once when I was older. Which is strange since I am now agnostic.

If you push the point of it being the child's choice, she will hound your child until they do it. She will scare the bejesus out of them, whatever it takes, to get them to choose to be baptized. My dad was super religious and would always tell me that my mom and step dad were going to burn in hell for not going to church every sunday. I was 10.

Honestly, if it were me, I would just do it. Baptizing your kid does not make them a specific religion, and chances are that they won't even remember it later. If it stops arguing, fussing, and fighting, why not?

It's belief that makes the act mean something, not the act itself.