My mother-in-law knows I’m a non-religious person. It’s been the subject of very awkward conversations and loaded questions and hasn’t always gone well. The first question from her upon learning her son and I were pregnant was, “Can I take the baby to church?” But she knows my parenting plan of exposing my child to all religious options.
Has anyone tread this road before, and have any advice on how to handle it? What language do I use to make it clear I don’t want my toddler being pushed into a certain religion before she’s old enough to understand?
I have a nine-year-old stepson. I’ve been in his life since he was two-years-old. We’ve always split time 50-50 between the houses. My partner and I are definitely offbeat. We’re tattooed, politically radical and activist-y, feminist, intentionally unmarried, and atheists. Around the time my stepson was four, his biological mom “found Jesus” and joined an evangelical, fundamentalist church. Needless to say, this was a difficult transition. Now, our little dude is coming to our house and evangelizing to us, trying to convert us.
We’re both atheists, but our families are deeply religious (my family is Catholic, his family Southern Baptist). My parents understand and respect our religious preferences, and won’t force their opinions on our child… but my husband’s mother is not that way.
We left the day feeling very much like we did after leaving our wedding. We tend not to do things in the “traditional” ways, and often get a lot of funny looks from people when we describe what we have in mind. With Margot’s ceremony, and our wedding before it, we got some push back from people who thought what we had planned was weird, or just… had lots of questions like “um, what the heck is a welcome ceremony?” So, we feel especially pleased when those same people come up to us to say “That was so lovely!” or “This was the nicest wedding/baby ceremony I have ever been to!”
How can I raise freethinking children in a religious community without seeming like an angry atheist?
I want my daughters to be able to enjoy the holidays, but I don’t want them involved in the religious dogma that is so apparent everywhere. On the other hand, I don’t want to be too obviously anti-religion around my kids — then I’ll be no different than the opposite side of the coin I grew up on. How do I manage to accomplish this without also coming across as a raving anti-religion monster?
My husband’s sister has just had her first baby, and they’ve asked him to be godfather; they understand that he’s a staunch atheist and will not be part of his niece’s religious education. All of the complexities there aside for a moment, here’s my question: what do my husband and I give her as a christening gift?
Both my partner’s family and my family are Christian — but neither of us self-identify as such. We still want to honor our backgrounds and family traditions… but don’t want to involve religion. We have an almost two-year-old son who we’ll be sharing the holiday with, so I’m interested in hearing what other families have done to celebrate with two-year-olds AND with older kids.
My partner and I are considering having children sometime in the next few years, but the question of “community” has been holding us back. We both grew up in religious households but we are pretty much agnostic. However, we both know how powerful that supporting community can be.