parenting advice

Jesus Freak: NEVER Baptize Your Kid To Appease Christian Grandparents

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Jesus Freak: I am a Christian mom who was raised in a fundamental Christian home. I have questioned my beliefs and have come to love myself and God on my own terms. I’m raising my kids the same way.

I have a great love and respect for God, but more often than not, I have distaste for religion. I have an even greater distaste for people and especially family members who try to push their religion on others.

I spent many years being raised in a religious community. I also attended Bible College and—fun fact—was ordained as a minister. I don’t regret any of my time spent in religion because there was good and bad, but for me, it wasn’t sustainable. I’m not saying it is this way for everyone, but at that time, I wasn’t being myself. In my perception of religion, I felt you had to act and be a certain way in order to be accepted; after years of soul-searching and self-love, I’ve come to believe that God is completely opposite of that.

This is why it’s hard to believe that God would force his brand of religion on anyone. But time and again, you find family members doing just that—trying to force their kids to pray or participate in some religious ceremony so that God will be “pleased” with them. It doesn’t get more disingenuous than that.

Here is the perfect example I found on Reddit of an atheist couple considering baptism for their baby just to please overbearing Christian grandparents: 

Hey, everyone. Long time reader, first time poster. I’m a nice atheist. I love a good theological discussion and I try not to get all douchey about it. How’s it going? So my wife and I are both atheists. We’ve got a kid on the way. My parents are Protestant Christians and would have serious fear-of-hell issues for our kid if we didn’t baptize him. Now, from my perspective, baptism is two things: (a) it’s a little morally dishonest to designate a religion to a baby who has no real input in the deal and (b) it’s harmless. (My parents are of the head-sprinkle variety.) So, my wife and are thinking, know what? Let’s just do the thing. Keep the parents happy, they won’t fear for our newborn’s soul for a few years, all’s well. But, is this okay? Also, would either of us have to say anything akin to “Yes, we’re both Christians and we promise to raise our baby to be Christian, Amen, etc.”? I’d hate for one of the first things I do with my newborn son to be an abject lie.

My in-laws are very religious, but thankfully, they are respectful. I’m sure if we asked them, they would probably have some opinion on baptizing our children. As of now, we are not choosing to baptize our kids, but we will teach them about Jesus and the Bible in the future in a more open manner. If they make the choice to get baptized, great. If not, also great. (For the record, my husband and I were both baptized as kids.)

But baptism really isn’t the point here, is it? I personally find it borderline disgusting that Christian parents would be willing to turn a blind eye to their child’s beliefs, just to make sure that their grandchild is “okay” with God. First, it is not their business. Second, in my humble opinion, I believe they are missing the point of this religious ritual as it is not supposed to provide “fire insurance” and a ticket into heaven.

Thank the Lawd that this Reddit story has a happy ending with the following update:

UPDATE: Talked to my mom about it and she actually said that since baptism is a covenant with God, it would not be okay for us to bring our kid in to be baptized if we weren’t on board with the whole thing. Issue resolved. Thanks for all the replies, everyone.

I’m glad that these grandparents “saw the light,” though this certainly isn’t the case in all families. If relatives are pressuring you to participate in religious activities you and your family are not comfortable with, please don’t do it. God doesn’t mind. He just wants you to be yourself.

(Image: ArtOfLightPro/Shutterstock)