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Why do people have their child christened?

Dancook

Distinguished Member
I went to a christening on Sunday. I don't believe either parent of the child are religious or follow a Christian lifestyle, yet they stood at the font swearing an oath to raise their child as a Christian.

This is their second child to be christened, and I don't believe their first has had any further connection with the church or religious beliefs.

I did find the whole thing a little pointless, my parents had me christened as a child but they are not christian and did not bring me up as a christian either.

Why do people do it?
 

rickinyorkshire

Distinguished Member
For the after party? :D
 

Jenn

Distinguished Member
Why do people do it?

Because they don't care/understand the meaning of it and do it because "that's what you're supposed to do"?
Same with church weddings when neither the bride or groom has stepped into a church since they can remember.
 

Member 55145

Distinguished Member
Less grief from the mother in law
 

Dancook

Distinguished Member
For the after party? :D

If that were the actual reason, I'd be feeling very bitter about having to endure being in a church.. when we could have 'just' had a party instead :)

Though I did miss the after party, in favour of getting home at a reasonable hour (long drive..)
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
A timely thread, as my wife mentioned christening for ours, for the first time ever.
The eldest is 6 years old, the youngest is 7 months.
If you'll excuse the pun, christ knows why she's mentioned it now.:confused:
Neither of us are religious.
We're not rampant atheists either though.
I'm against it, for no other reason than I don't see the point, people would feel obliged to buy presents and they would also feel obliged to attend.
 

Dony

Distinguished Member
I've often wondered the same thing.

All of my children have been christened, but they are being brought in a practising household. I've also been to christianings where I know they are only taking place because the parents feel "it's the thing to do".

If you don't believe in it, don't do it.
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
Of course, I couldn't help but feel a little hypocritical when my wife reminded me that I've (twice) been married in a church.
Never to set foot in the respective buildings again.
 

Dancook

Distinguished Member
I think some people also believe they need to have their children christened so that they can get married in a church.

Church buildings are very nice, but I would not through choice jump through hoops to get married in one.

Swearing religious oaths in a church whether a Christening or a Church Wedding, when you are not religious, does frustrate me. I nearly got married in a church due to compromise, should the time come again I think I shall stand by my guns.
 

Solomon Grundy

Distinguished Member
You don't have to go to church every weekend, or even at all, to consider yourself a Christian do you? In fact I rarely think about religion and am really undecided about the whole thing but when times get really crap I find myself unconsciously turning to "God" hoping that something positive will occur.
 

FZR400RRSP

Banned
Marriages outwith churches can be depressing affairs though.
Registrar offices are often depressing places.
I've also been to services in hotels, where people get married with a bar in the background.
Again, just doesn't feel special at all.

I did discuss this with a minister once, who was a down to earth chap.
He told me that christianity is about 'attitude as well as application'.
Neither of us would see anyone we know stuck, so we both have good christian values.
His words, not mine.
Made me feel a bit better about it.
 

eL-ZilCHo!

Active Member
God knows! :D

I was thiking the same thing the other week.

I attended one the other week, I wasn't aware either of them were religious. I don't think they are at all, they certainly never mentioned it in all the time I've known them, yet there I was sitting in a boiling hot church being asked to pray for forgiveness for my 'evils' whatever they are. I didn't.

I think, as someone else has already said, that its considered the 'done thing'. If your a christian, follow a christian life style and wish to bring up your children as such, then fair enough.

If your not, then I don't know why you would.
 

kav

Distinguished Member
I went to a christening on Sunday. I don't believe either parent of the child are religious or follow a Christian lifestyle, yet they stood at the font swearing an oath to raise their child as a Christian.

This is their second child to be christened, and I don't believe their first has had any further connection with the church or religious beliefs.

I did find the whole thing a little pointless, my parents had me christened as a child but they are not christian and did not bring me up as a christian either.

Why do people do it?

I was raised Catholic, but I'm not a religious person. My wife's family are very religious, and she has her beliefs, though her faith is a personal thing and she doesn't attend her family's church for various reasons.

When our first was born, we mulled over what to do. We wanted to do something to mark her entrance into the world, but we weren't sure what. We also liked the idea of having close friends and family as godparents - even though the idea behind godparents is now probably outdated. We settled on having what we called a naming ceremony (for want of a better term). We had two sets of "godparents" - one from each side of our family/friends. Friends and family just came to our house, the minister who married us did a small ceremony welcoming our daughter into the world (including a blessing), and we had a celebration afterwards amongst ourselves. It kept my wife and her family happy, and didn't go overboard on the religious aspect, which meant that I participated in it without feeling like a hypocrite.

My personal belief was that it would be hypocritical to have any formal type of christening, considering my own (lack of) belief. However, I also had to take into consideration the beliefs of my wife and both families. That's how my wife and I reached this compromise. It wasn't about getting presents, or getting drunk afterwards; for me it was mainly about getting together with the people we cared about to introduce them to our daughter, who seemed utterly uninterested in the whole thing. :rolleyes: :D
 

KhalJimbo

Distinguished Member
I think some people also believe they need to have their children christened so that they can get married in a church.

Who can get married int he church, the parents or the children?
 

Iccz

Distinguished Member
I think some people also believe they need to have their children christened so that they can get married in a church.

Everyone has the legal right to be married in the parish church of the parish in which they live, irrespective of any religious views and any christening ceremonies.

But yeah your point is true to a degree.
 

Dancook

Distinguished Member
My personal belief was that it would be hypocritical to have any formal type of christening, considering my own (lack of) belief. However, I also had to take into consideration the beliefs of my wife and both families.

This seems a fair compromise, I would find it hypocritical to swear religious oaths in church.

As for marriage, I wouldn't mind getting married in a church as long as the ceremony did not speak of god, but I don't know if that's an option :). Otherwise I'd quite like to get married on some mansion gardens like they show on American films.
 

kav

Distinguished Member
Everyone has the legal right to be married in the parish church of the parish in which they live, irrespective of any religious views and any christening ceremonies.

Often, a Catholic priest won't marry you unless you demonstrate your faith. A (non-religious) mate of mine had to attend church every Sunday for 6 months prior to his wedding as a caveat to the priest agreeing to marry him...:eek:

I'm unaware as to the legality of such a refusal though - a lot of it seems to boil down to how righteous the individual clergyman is, rather than any hard and fast rules.
 

Iccz

Distinguished Member
As for marriage, I wouldn't mind getting married in a church as long as the ceremony did not speak of god, but I don't know if that's an option :).

I believe this is where writing your own vows comes into place. Of course I could be wrong.
 

KhalJimbo

Distinguished Member
The Children...when they're older :) and not to each other. To be clear.

I highly doubt there is anything against people getting married in a church who have not been christened.
 

Dancook

Distinguished Member
Often, a Catholic priest won't marry you unless you demonstrate your faith. A (non-religious) mate of mine had to attend church every Sunday for 6 months prior to his wedding as a caveat to the priest agreeing to marry him...:eek:

My ex-fiance wanted to get married in a church that was local to where she grew up, it was requested that she/we attend on a 'regular' basis for 6 months prior to the wedding.
 

Iccz

Distinguished Member
Often, a Catholic priest won't marry you unless you demonstrate your faith. A (non-religious) mate of mine had to attend church every Sunday for 6 months prior to his wedding as a caveat to the priest agreeing to marry him...:eek:

I'm unaware as to the legality of such a refusal though - a lot of it seems to boil down to how righteous the individual clergyman is, rather than any hard and fast rules.

Sorry I think it's probably specific to the CofE that will allow it regardless of faith providing you live within the parish.

Can't find much on it:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2055307.ece
 

kav

Distinguished Member
This seems a fair compromise, I would find it hypocritical to swear religious oaths in church.

As for marriage, I wouldn't mind getting married in a church as long as the ceremony did not speak of god, but I don't know if that's an option :). Otherwise I'd quite like to get married on some mansion gardens like they show on American films.

I got married here, and the entire event was held in the same place (albeit different rooms over the day). There's a little non-denominational chapel in there which is perfect for lending an appropriate gravity and beauty to the occasion without bogging you down in the awkwardness or guilt that a religious building might inspire. There are bound to be a few similar places in your area (presuming you're actually looking and all of this isn't just hypothetical...:))
 

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