It’s Baaaack: The Baptism Argument

This has been discussed many times before in this little corner of the Internet, but it’s back. With a vengeance.

As Will approaches his first birthday, the debate between me and MJ regarding baptism, religion and the well being of Will’s eternal soul has re-emerged in a big way. In case you’re new to these parts, MJ is Catholic. I am against all organized religion even though I was raised Protestant. MJ wants him baptized at a Catholic church and only a Catholic church. I don’t want him baptized at all, but especially not at a Catholic church. But what really bothers me is MJ’s STRONG belief that babies are born with the sins of the mother on their souls. Therefore, she truly believes that if Will died tomorrow he would not get into Heaven because he wasn’t baptized. As you can imagine, even though I love and respect my wife I find that to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard and complete bullshit to think an infant is even capable of sin.

We are two stubborn Portuguese people dead set in their ways and the result has been a stalemate, with Will remaining unbaptized.

So last night we got to talking about it again and I came to the table ready to make concessions. First, I repeated my suggestion that Will be baptized, but not in a Catholic church. Keep in mind, I’m against baptism in general because I feel very strongly that organized religion will be detrimental to my son. But MJ nixed that suggestion right off the bat.

So then I suggested that we hold off on baptism for right now. Even though it’s against my better judgement, I said if we held off baptizing Will then we’d take him to different churches when he’s a little older and let him decide what he wants to do. After that, he could be baptized in the faith of his choosing. But again, MJ was unwilling to bend saying that it was “stupid” to be baptized at age 7, 8 or 9 or whatever age Will would be when he’s baptized. Apparently you have to be an infant in MJ’s world.

So then I got pissed. And I got pissed because to me, it seems like I’m the only one willing to compromise here. I suggested two alternatives that involve my son eventually being baptized, which totally goes against all my beliefs. Yet MJ is being a huge baby and basically saying “I’m only doing it if I get exactly what I want!” And let’s not even get into her belief that my innocent son would go to hell because he bears MJ’s sins. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

Now, I’ve discussed this with many people. And it’s funny, because most of the mothers I’ve spoken with say something like “Well it seems to be important to her so I’d just let her get her way, because you don’t believe in religion anyways.” That argument is STUPID! I do have beliefs, I believe religion is dangerous. After all, what has caused more wars in history than religion? And don’t get me started on the Catholic church specifically. The thought of Will as an altar boy/pedophile’s pet is enough to make me ill. So I do have beliefs and they’re strong, just as strong as MJ’s belief in her faith.

But I am sympathetic to her situation. If she goes ahead and has Will baptized she’s getting what she wants, but she’s eternally pissing off her husband. And let’s just say forgiveness is not one of my strengths. If she doesn’t baptize him, in her mind, she’s putting her son’s eternal well being at risk. But again, that’s why I tried to come up with alternatives. But her unwillingness to meet me halfway really has me pissed off.

She has promised that if he is baptized Catholic (which it’s looking like that’s what’s going to happen) she will expose him to other religions as he grows up and not pigeonhole him into the Catholic faith. Which cracks me up because I’m pretty sure the whole point of a Catholic baptism is to promise to raise the child by the tenets of the Catholic church. So essentially she’d just be standing up there and lying, all for the imaginary idea of cosmic insurance if something terrible were to happen to Will.

Which brings me to my last point and the thing that makes me the saddest.

When Will is baptized in a Catholic church (because it’s pretty clear that’s where we’re headed despite my objections) I cannot in good conscience stand up there with my family and agree to all the vows listed by the priest. I do not believe in God. And not only will I not agree to raise him in the Catholic church, I will do anything in my power to steer him away from the church and religion in general.

So my wife, my son and our two best friends will be standing at the front of the church during this “celebratory” moment and where will I be? Sitting down in the pews, a bystander. And that makes me sad because as his dad, I want to be a part of everything he does. But not this. Never this. I feel too strongly to be involved in something I feel is bad for my son.

I really hope this is worth it for MJ. Because while I’m sure I’ll eventually get over it, I will NEVER forget her unwillingness to compromise on an issue so important to both of us.

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40 thoughts on “It’s Baaaack: The Baptism Argument

  1. And that right there is the biggest problem with organized religion. There is no room for tolerance of any one else’s beliefs. The very foundation of those belief systems is that their way is the ONLY way and every one else is going to suffer eternal damnation.

    My parents had the good sense to not christen or baptize me and I thank them for it regularly. If the whole point of this is to ensure Will is cleansed of sin then you better prepare yourself for the CCD fight that will inevitably follow. When it comes time to decide between little league practice and CCD, I’m selling tickets to the argument.

  2. I totally agree with your beliefs on organized religion. I was raised Catholic and my mother dragged us to church every sunday but only because she thought she had to for some unknown reason. My father is a protestant and didn’t care what she did with us – as long as he didn’t have to go too. My in-laws are very ‘good’ Catholics – going to church is part of their life and their sons were educated in Catholic schools. My husband and I don’t believe in anything the Catholic church is trying to sell so we aren’t a part of it.

    We DID, however, baptise all three of our kids into the Catholic church. We did it when they were all about 8 or 9 months old, when I got around to it. We did it for their grandparents’ peace of mind. I did stand up there and lie about my beliefs but hey, the church says I’m going to hell for a whole lot of reasons anyway…

    Now that the kids are older my parents (which is absurd) are the ones who have pressured us to take them to church. We told them that the kids are available to go to church every sunday morning if my parents wished to take them but it is not something that I or my husband will ever do. So far the older two have been to church a couple of times with my in-laws -not my parents – and my 5 year old has never been.

    They are all awesome kids who know right from wrong, have tons of friends and respect and care about the people around them. I can’t ask for more.

    As for the baptism thing, it doesn’t hurt Will in any way and it will make your wife very happy….two big things to consider.

  3. Aaron,
    It’s okay for you to disagree on this! I’m sure I posted it earlier about our family’s solution. Religion is one of those sticky subjects that people think they can compromise on, but when a deciding factor comes to light; they’re fearful. What do YOUR parents think? How did they raise you? What does MJ think of you supporting from the pews? The Catholic Baptism is about the PARENTS raising the kids in the Catholic Faith, if you’re aren’t going to do that, isn’t MJ being the hypocrite?

  4. I must admit, I was among the ones who thought you should just go along to keep the peace Aaron but reading today’s post I am siding with you. I was raised Catholic but rarely attend Church and I did have Matt baptized catholic but only to appease my grandparents (and because I was taught that it was what you do). I know many people who find great solace in religion but am not one of them. Your argument is well reasoned and you have clearly tried to make this work with MJ despite your beliefs and for that you should be commended. I am sad that MJ does not see it – or can’t accept it and do the same. There has to be a compromise better than you sitting in the crowd. Knowing what kind of father you are I cannot imagine how hard it would be for you to sit as a bystander for this. I hope you can work it out-

  5. Ok, this post caught me in a feisty mood (see my blog post for today)…here’s my two cents –

    First, I agree with you. I think it’s ridiculous that she expects you to give in. You gave her a very reasonable compromise by agreeing to have him baptized, just not in the Catholic church. YOU are the father, for cripes sake – you have a 50% say in what happens to your son. Yes…let’s perpetuate the “dads have no say” stereotype and ignore what you want, ’cause you don’t matter. That’s bull.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the meaning of baptism the same in the Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, and Protestant faiths? Why does it HAVE to be in the Catholic church?

    – – –

    You said “I will do anything in my power to steer him away from the church and religion in general.” Are you going to do this out of spite? You’re putting your son in an awkward position – choosing between his parents. Why don’t you just teach him about all beliefs and let him make his own choice? If he doesn’t want to go to Catholic mass, fine…but don’t bad talk it just because you think it’s crap.

    Someday, when Will is older and sees pictures and/or video from his baptism and asks why you aren’t at the front of the church, you can explain all this to him…and I truly hope he appreciates you standing up for what you believe. I know I would if it were me.

  6. It looks like she is suffering from the typical Catholic guilt. By not having Will baptized in exactly the fashion she wants means that she can’t let go of the guilt that is plaguing her and I’m sure the Catholic church is more then willing to reminder her of how bad she sucks every time she visits.

    Here’s something to ask: When was Jesus baptized?

    He was around 30 years old. (if she’s into the bible thing, tell her to check out Luke 3 starting at v21). You can also correct her that Will does not inherit HER sins, but rather inherits her sinful nature (throw Romans 5:15-17 at her). So the fact that she’s arguing that Will has her sins is crap, and she should stop feeling guilty for that as well.

    So for her to base her son’s salvation on Catholic doctrine is WAY crappy. Who is man to decide whether one goes to heaven or hell? Or that there even is a heaven or hell?

    That said. I disagree with you that “religion” has caused wars and pain and grief. It’s not religion – it’s “beliefs”. Look at what you’re willing to fight for because of your belief in the non-existence of higher being?

    Challenge a man’s logic and you’ve got a discussion – challenge his conviction and you have a war.

    If there is one thing I’ve learned through my studies into religion it’s that Jesus/God/That Bible Guy isn’t the bitch that so many religions have made him out to be (*cough* *cough* Catholics) and it kills me to see that such a strong belief in man-made doctrine is the source of this turmoil. I like how Ghandi put it when he said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    I respect you a lot for the compromise. It says a lot about your character to compromise on your conviction for the sake of Will and your family. I just hope MJ gets to that point soon too.

  7. Yes, we were married in a church (not my choice). But we had to compromise there too. I refused to get married in a Catholic church and she didn’t want to get married in my hometown Protestant church. So we settled on Episcopalian. It was nice because we worked with the reverend to tailor the ceremony to fit our situation. There was no communion and it was as non-religious as a church service could be.

  8. Good points Shankrabbit. Well said. Undoubtedly religion and beliefs should be separated, but the two are so intertwined that it’s difficult to extricate them. Beliefs are based on religion so if you disagree with one, odds are you will disagree with the other too. Granted, I wasn’t raised Catholic so I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Catholic faith. But I did go to Sunday school because my grandmother basically forced me to in the Protestant church so I’ve had exposure to religion and the Bible. And I didn’t much like it or believe in any of it. It never enriched my life or led me to some deeper understanding of myself or the world. I know others have had this epiphany and that’s great, but it didn’t work for me.

    And Isabella, you’re right about calling me out regarding my intentions to steer Will away from religion out of spite. I wouldn’t do that, I was just really angry when I wrote the post. I wouldn’t badmouth the church to him if he and MJ started going together. If he came to me and asked me about my beliefs, I would tell him I don’t believe in any of it but that other people do and that’s fine. I don’t want him to be religious but I’m not going to shield him from it. He can experience it and decide for himself. But to baptize him now just for the hell of it doesn’t make sense to me.

  9. Aaron,

    My very best friend and her husband just went through the EXACT same argument. He did NOT want their son baptized in the Catholic Church, and She did.

    Let me speak plainly. I don’t know you (I just love your blog) and I don’t know MJ. But as a wife and mother who was raised in a large irish catholic family, and married a man who was raised in a large italian catholic family… for some of us its not that we agree with the teaching of the church ( I think that Catholicism is full of mysoginistic woman haters) , its more that if you are raised a catholic- these rituals are part of your culture.

    Your baptism, first communion.. confirmation.. these don’t really feel like RELIGIOUS milestones to all of us.. but they are milestones none the less.

    You don’t have to say anything whilst up there. You don’t have to promise to raise Will in the church. You just have to put on a tie, brush your hair and smile for the pictures.

    Look at it this way. Its one less bath you have to give him, and you can start his college bankroll with the proceeds.

    Don’t resent MJ for wanting her son to have the same cultural experiences as her, and her family. If the shoe was on the other foot wouldn’t you want her to be open to yours?

  10. Yeah – kinda confused too on the “inherit her sins” thing….

    Lord knows if my poor son had to atone for HIS mommys sins.. They’d need clorox and fire. :)

  11. I agree with Moo. I’m too tired from my MIL situation to comment any further. I feel like a flounder at the bottom of the sea. (See today’s rant if interested).

  12. Well, I think I’ve given my opinion on this before, but I’ll do it again for the fun of it all. Being raised Catholic, I can honestly say that I never bought into any of it, not even as a young child. I walked away from all organized religion around the age of 12 and haven’t looked back. Dogma just never sat well with me.

    My husband was raised in some strange religion that he walked away from as soon as he could, so we never had any arguments over what to do about baptism. We never did it. Everyone else in my family has gone through with the ritual and then never set foot in church again, until it was time for the next ritual (which you will have to fight over again and again if you go down the slippery slope of baptism, by the way).

    To me, just doing it to “save the soul” of your child and never showing up in church again is bullshit. You’re either in or you’re not. If you’re a good Catholic and go to church regulary, good for you. If not, then standing up there saying you will raise your child in the church is wrong, in my opinion, and it practically makes my head explode when our friends and relatives do it.

    Does MJ go to church regularly? If she does, then she’s going to have to do it to give herself piece of mind. Believers believe. What can you do?
    Of course, Will has no sin to be cleansed, but I doubt you’re ever going to convince MJ. They drill that fear into your head. It’s what keeps the churches in business.

    As for you, Aaron, I feel for you, and I totally agree with you, but please don’t let it get too crazy. Sitting in a pew while your son gets baptized will NEVER be forgotten by your wife and her family. These kinds of fights can really hurt a relationship. Many a happy family has had to separate church and love just to keep the peace, and Will can always make up his own mind when he’s older, just like I did.

  13. I say compromise and have him baptized in the church that I got married in (I’m a serious non-Catholic who compromised). It’s a funky little Catholic church and the priest is gay! Seriously! He was awesome. He cracked jokes through the entire serious, depressing Catholic cermony. I love it! Call me and I’ll give you the scoop. He’s a blast. Will will be baptized, MJ will be happy and you get entertained. Win Win situation!

  14. Honestly, I find the whole thing a little strange.
    1) You are against organized religion completely but then make the suggested compromise of having him baptized, but not in a Catholic church. If you are so against baptism/religion altogether then I think you come across as unnecessarily stubborn more than anything. You’d have a stronger argument if you stuck with no baptism at all. If you’re going to relent on the subject of baptism when you’re against organized religion then why is it such a big deal what church the baptism takes place in? Yes, I understand that you don’t care for the Catholic church; I don’t either. I think it’s a bunch of hooey and I also find the Catholic church to be one of the most discriminatory and judgmental churches out there. But as someone who doesn’t like any of the other options, either I just wouldn’t be all up in arms over which church gets to splash water on Will’s forehead. I’d be much more upset if my spouse intended to take my child to church weekly and fill his head with all that mess.

    2. I also find it odd that you would make the concession to hold off on the baptism and then let Will decide when he’s a little older. At what age would Will really be able to decipher all of the information being thrown at him and able to make an informed decision? At 7, 8 or 9 he’s going to be influenced by what his parents are telling him, and you and MJ will likely still disagree.

    3. That being said, you surely knew MJ had these beliefs when you married her and she had to have known your beliefs as well. I’m always genuinely surprised when arguments like this arise between two people who made the choice to marry each other despite such differences in opinion. Marrying somebody with different beliefs and then arguing over said beliefs doesn’t make much sense, and at the risk of sounding harsh, maybe you two shouldn’t have had a child if you knew you couldn’t agree on this major issue.

    4. You talked about how you cannot stand up there and agree to the things the priest expects you to agree to as far as raising Will to the tenets of the Catholic church. But no matter what church you baptize him in that same expectation will arise. So again, I think your “compromise” of baptizing Will but in a non-Catholic church makes no sense to your argument of being against organized religion.

    5. If you choose not to participate in his baptism that is your business, but I think you should stop playing the victim card of how you want to be involved in all the important stuff but not this. It doesn’t sound like baptism is important at all in your world (except in the argument against), so you wouldn’t be missing the important stuff.

    6. You go on about how you can’t go along with something you think is bad for your son. The baptism itself is something Will is not even going to remember if it’s done now. How devout is MJ? Does she go to church weekly? Is she going to put Will in Sunday school and Bible study and take him to mass, or does she just want to do the little water splash? I’m totally with you on the whole thing is silly, but I just don’t see why you are so zeroed in on the baptism itself being bad. The only difference the baptism itself will really make in the long run is that should Will die MJ will at least have that little peace of mind that he didn’t go to hell for his mother’s sins (or whatever it is. yeah i know, it makes no sense). Why don’t you try to imagine that for a moment. If your child was killed what difference would that baptism make to you, versus what difference would it make to MJ? My guess is that baptism would be a moot point for you but the lack of one would be an eternal regret for MJ, should there be a tragedy.

    7. Your compromises don’t seem like much in the way of compromise. Every option ends with Will still not being baptized, or not being baptized anytime soon. Stale mate = you get your way. Of course, I guess ultimately the problem is that there is no satisfactory compromise.

    in that you are so against organized religion that you don’t want Will baptized at all, but you don’t mind taking him to various churches when he’s older so he can check religions out. I’m against organized religion as well, but don’t see the big deal in

  15. Oops, I moved something and forgot to erase it, so disregard that last half-paragraph.

  16. Like many atheists, I was baptized or devoted to Jesus while some boy-toucher in a dress dribbled water on my baby-head. Like many nominally religious families, mine never went to church. Unless you think baptism will lead to MJ wanting to wake up early every Sunday, I don’t think you have much to worry about. Even if MJ does decide to spend Sundays being fawned over by octogenarians, your son will be protected by your anti-religiousness. Kids are fairly smart…at some point, they make the choice to believe what their parents believe or not.

    Heck…we go a lot farther to perpetuate the myth of Santa for kids than we do Jesus, and kids still always find out we were lying and Jesus doesn’t greet them in the mall for 3 months of the year.

    Let MJ have her baptism, Will’s eternal soul will be safe for a few more years before he starts sinning on his own, and you’ll still get your athiest son.

  17. This is not about Will – and it should be.

    This is about you and MJ. Sanity prevents me from taking sides, and I respect the thoughts of both of you. But this is about the two of you, not about your perfect child.

    If Will is baptized, no harm is done other than to your way of thinking. But Will does not become a Catholic for life, and is free to grow up and believe what he will believe. But for MJ, she believes – rightly or wrongly – that Will’s soul is in jeopardy. For her, there is a real danger and a pressing issue.

    If it turns out you are right about religion, you have lost nothing by having him baptized. If MJ is right, you – and Will – have lost a lot from not being baptized. It really is a no-brainer.

    Don’t let Will, of all things, become a source of argument. Years from now, he will not remember whether or not you allowed him to be baptized. Rather, he will remember what you taught him and how you were tolerant and allowed him to be exposed to various things. And he will remember that his mother loved him so much she went out of her way to protect him against any and all things bad in her own way.

    Stop trying to apply rational thinking and reason to an irrational thing like religion. See you at the baptism.

  18. goznot78,

    Nothing about your arguments really bothered me until #3:

    “Marrying somebody with different beliefs and then arguing over said beliefs doesn’t make much sense, and at the risk of sounding harsh, maybe you two shouldn’t have had a child if you knew you couldn’t agree on this major issue.”

    Yes, we talked about this before we got married. And yes, we disagreed then as we do now. But to say we shouldn’t have had a child together simply because we disagree on our beliefs is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

    Are you telling me that the only way two people should procreate is if they agree about everything?!!? You’re kidding me right? Just because I disagree with my wife about a few things doesn’t mean we can’t successfully raise a child. She is against spanking, I’m for it under certain conditions. She is dead set against pacifiers I’m fine with them. And you’re honestly trying to tell me that disagreements like this one (and religion) should be enough to drive a wedge between us and stop us from having kids? Are you high??

    I don’t know about you, but if i agreed with my wife on everything I’d shoot myself. That’s the most boring existence I can imagine. And I think Will is going to benefit from two parents with strong opinions and different beliefs. It’ll make him well-rounded instead of other kids whose parents never fight or argue, and who will end up believing whatever the parents believe.

  19. Suggest to MJ that maybe you guys should use that pretty little church you guys got married in (I forgot the name of it) to baptize/christen Will.

  20. Hi Lisa,

    I actually did suggest that but she nixed it because it wouldn’t be a Catholic baptism. That was actually my first thought because as far as churches go, that one wasn’t terrible.

  21. What are MJ’s exact reasons for wanting to Bapstise Will?

    Nevermind what you think is why? Ask her and then if you don’t agree with her answers, then you should find a compromise.

    I think a good compromise would be go ahead and do it, since there are many people who were “Baptised” and then went on believing what they want. If you trust you and MJ to teach Will he can be and do whatever he wants, then who cares? If it only makes her happy and helps her to believe that he is going to make it to the Golden Gates someday-then do it for her. When Will is older and he converts to Judaism and asks “Why did you Baptise me?” You tell him the truth..”You’re mother thought….” And you could say to him “Will honest to goodness, I didn’t want to because I wanted you to make up your own mind but at that age, you really didn’t talk much about your preferred religion…so I guess you could say, like your vaccines and your helmet when you ride a bike, you’re really expensive carseats and strollers, Mommy thought, better to be safe than sorry…”

    And you are right…you won’t agree on everything-but if you think there is a lesson to be learned by Will, let it be that this won’t make or break the unconditional love between you and your wife and that pleasing her is in all of your best interest if she really believes this.

    He will never even remember this…someday he’ll probably say “Was I baptised?” then he’ll wonder what it meant….and then think oh okay they believe this or that… and then shrug it off and play a video game…

    Don’t let the competitive streak in you come in between your wife and her believe system.

  22. Meri –

    I laughed so hard! That’s the “Pearly Gates” not the “Golden Gates” – unless he is going to San Francisco! :)

  23. This is not a competitive streak. This is my belief about religion as it pertains to my son.

    MJ’s beliefs are all over the map. She likes some of the Catholic faith, but not other parts. And come to find out, she was mistaken in her belief that the sins of the mother are passed onto the baby. She was thinking of Original Sin (the idea that Adam and Even ruined it all for humanity and we’re all born with THEIR sins) and remembered it wrong. I guess that’s another thing that pisses me off…she’s not even consistent in knowing the religion she is advocating for so much.

    And to be honest, I’m really sick of the whole “If mom and dad disagree on something then just let mom have her way” sentiment. I think it’s crap. We’ll work out a compromise somehow because we love each other and in the end, we won’t let something like religion come between us. But I see no reason why she should get her way automatically in case of a disagreement. Her beliefs are no more important than mine.

    That’s not being competitive, it’s being in a relationship that is fair and balanced.

  24. It was joke haha:)

    I’m on Aaron’s side here really-I mean…I understand his side. I just think if MJ really believes in this stuff than that has to be more important to her than NOT believing in ANYTHING?

    Golden Gates, Pearly Gates…same thing really to me.

  25. What if he turns out to be Yankee’s fan? Or a Jet’s fan? What if he turns out to be Buddist? Or he turns out to be a Minister?

    You will always be a part of whatever he does-agree with it or not…unfortunately.

  26. Well yeah, I did mean that. To me you come across as awfully stubborn and even somewhat mean in the way you are attacking MJ’s beliefs, which leads me to believe you feel VERY strongly on this subject. Assuming she, too feels VERY strongly on the subject = no reasonable compromise. Saying things about how she may get what she wants but risks eternally pissing off her husband, and saying how you are not the forgiving type makes you sound like a jerk. I don’t think you are a jerk (not that you probably care what I think), but when I was reading some of your comments I was appalled. And this from somebody who basically agrees with you!

    I guess I’m failing to see the logic on either side, esp. if you did talk about these issues and disagreed then as well as now. You set yourselves up for this by not resolving it earlier. When I got serious with the man that became my husband one of the most important things to me was that we agree on how to raise our family. That was also one of the major points brought up in pre-marital counseling–how important it is that a couple agree on major issues like this, when it comes to lifestyles and raising children. And I liked it when the counselor said, “You can’t marry a person and then complain about things you already knew before you got married.” That advice has served us both well in various situations. I don’t think we would’ve gotten married, much less had kids had we not been able to agree on the basics of how to raise the kids. And yes, I do think Will will benefit from having two parents with different ideas and beliefs, but really, I thought you came across as overly stubborn and maybe even somewhat mean in your attitude toward MJ and her faith, and I don’t think that’s the kind of differing opinion that benefits a kid. It’s one thing to expose the child to both Mommy and Daddy’s ideas and beliefs; it’s another to be fighting and carrying on over the difference of opinions, esp. when that difference isn’t a surprise to anyone.

  27. There is just no good answer here, is there? We’ve gone through some of the same crap (I have not been baptized, Dave was raised a devout churchy person) although not to this extent. Mainly because neither of us feels that strongly.

    In fact, *I* am the one pushing to get our kids baptized. What the hell?

    I’ve got no sage advice (I know, you’re shocked) but I feel for you.

  28. Meri: Being a Yankees fan or a Jets fan is WAY worse than becoming a practicing Catholic. That’s for sure.

    goznot: I think you’re dead wrong. There’s always a reasonable compromise and we’ll find one. And no offense to your counselor, but I think his advice is terrible. Of course you can complain about it. MJ knew I was opinionated, that I chew my fingernails and that the fate of the Red Sox and Patriots dictate my mood. I knew that she watches trashy TV shows like Inside Edition, practices a faith I am vehemently opposed to and has a tendency to use made up words that don’t really exist. Yet we both want to spend eternity with each other and work on bettering our relationship day in and day out. To me, that’s much more impressive than giving up on our relationship and never getting married just because we had different beliefs.

    Besides, it’s not like we’re screaming at each other and using threats. There’s no domestic abuse here. We’re just disagreeing. And we don’t do it in front of Will so your point about causing some kind of irreparable emotional damage to Will is moot.

    So am I stubborn? Sure. But mean? Well, I’d say no meaner than someone telling me I shouldn’t be married to my wife simply because of a few disagreements.

  29. If he becomes a Yankee or Jet fan, then the baptism will be followed by an exorcism!

  30. goznot78 is not saying you shouldn’t be married to someone because of a few disagreements…he is saying for something major like this it should have been decided (compromised) BEFORE it became this emotional all-or-nothing battle. Letting MJ “get her way” for this does not meant she will always get her way (think about the baptisim “dress”) but this is major to her…

    Religion is not logical it is emotional…MJ’s emotions are all wound up in this. Smile for the pictures…you can have the next one.

  31. I had the same argument with my husband. I’m atheist, he’s catholic. We eventually compromised and I said that when my kids are older IF they want to be baptized then I will let them. While I believe that a belief in a god CAN be helpful to SOME people, I have not seen much good come out of organized religion. So… I understand completely where you are coming from. Though I suppose (if I’m being honest) that if my husband had been as determined as MJ I might have given it up and let him have his way. After all, a Baptism is not something that a baby will remember and it doesn’t mean you have to let her drag him off to church every week or put him in Catholic school. So it goes against what you believe (and what I believe) but in the end it doesn’t really hurt anyone. I hope the two of you can reach some kind of agreement without too much hurt or anger on anyone’s part.

  32. Wow. This is certainly a tough issue for the both of you.

    I was raised a Catholic. I don’t believe that unbaptized babies go to Pergatory (which may be part of MJ’s concern – the Vatican has renounced that, however).

    I’m now Lutheran, and having my daughter baptized was STILL incredibly important to me. It IS of eternal importance if you are a believer.

    I don’t mean to side with MJ, but… having him baptized does not mean that he will always be Catholic. It’s starting him out on a journey of faith, which doesn’t always coincide with organized religion. Hopefully he will have access to all religions, and many belief systems, throughout his lifetime.

    I really hope that you and MJ can resolve this so that he never feels compelled to “choose a side.” That’s a hard place for a child to be.

    Good luck & God bless.

  33. this is a tough one, and something I honestly think you should have decided on before you got married.

    I’m biased because I’m Catholic. But I just want to say that baptizing your baby in a Catholic church doesn’t mean he has to be Catholic for his whole life. Infant baptism in the Catholic church is more about the parents than the child, really. Baptizing him there does not BIND him to the church. And it kind of sounds like you wouldn’t be happy having him baptized anywhere. How will you feel if he decides someday that organized religion is important to him?

    Good luck with this. Just remember – as much as you think your wife is nuts for thinking about this the way she does…she thinks the same about your way of thinking too! :)

  34. Katie,

    We discussed it before we were married, but didn’t come to a conclusion. However, I don’t think couples should every last detail ironed out as a prerequisite to marriage.

    And you’re right, my preference would be to not have him baptized at all. But I’m willing to bend because I know it’s important to my wife. So the only thing I’m asking now is for him not to be baptized Catholic, because that’s the one religion I have the biggest problem with.

    But if organized religion is important to him, I’ll support him. I won’t agree with him, but I won’t knock his beliefs either.

  35. sorry if I sounded harsh…when I re-read it, I think it sounded kind of bitchy. Oops :)

    I should point out that I’m Catholic and my husband is a non-believer. So we go through all of this stuff too! It’s hard. I don’t think there’s a right answer. I hope you guys can figure something out that works for everyone!!

  36. What’s up with the grudge against the Catholic Church? Seems silly thing to go against, it’s not any less corrupt than any other religion. No perverts or cover-ups in any other religion either. Nope. Nor are there any rules or patriarchy anywhere else in the world. Like the goverment for that matter. You probably shouldn’t get him a social security number then either, let him decide whether or not he wants to buy into it.

  37. I don’t believe there’s a god, and I’m not a big fan of religion. However, I’m not really against it either (I’m against extremists – that tends to be the real problem).

    Anyway, I though I’d share that for me it just wasn’t a big deal. For me, it was important to my wife. What’s important to my wife tends to be important to me as well when it comes to things like that. So I had absolutely no issue with the baptism. While religion isn’t a part of your life (or mine), it is a part of my wife’s (and yours). So I don’t really see the point in fighting against it.

    I think the important thing to do is share both sides with your child. You may be against it, but for your wife it’s an important part of her life.

    My wife will teach our daughter what’s important to her, and when my daughter asks me what I think then I’ll tell her honestly. But I won’t try to push her towards any side. I’ll let her decide what she wants to believe.

    I think that’s the most important part.

    Instead of fighting against your wife, allow her to have the things that are important to her – like the Baptism of her (and your) child; and at the same time – share with your son what’s important to you when the time comes, but don’t try to force anything on him.

    I guess the way I look at it is – how can it possibly hurt the child? I mean, other than him maybe getting annoyed at having some water splashed in his face, what can it really do? Even if you don’t believe in it, is it really something so bad that it can’t be accepted or at least tolerated?

    For your wife, it’s a peace of mind. It puts her mind to rest, and lets her know that her child is safe according to her beliefs, yes? I think that’s a good thing.

    I don’t mean to sound like I’m telling you what to do at all, I just thought I’d chime in with how I feel about it, and how I look at it personally.

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