Hi, all. Hopefully someone here can help me figure this out.
My wife is Catholic. I (as you probably guessed by the username) am not. We got married several years ago in her church; before we did, I promised her and her priest that I wouldn’t stop her from her duties as a Catholic, including ensuring that our children receive the various sacraments at the appropriate time.
Since then, I’ve been attending her church with her, reading the Bible and the Catechism, and generally trying to learn more about Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. In a large part, this has been out of an attempt to explore my own beliefs and see if I could ever become a Christian myself (which would make my wife very happy), but also to learn more about a religion that will likely be a significant part of the lives of my future children (we don’t have any yet, but plan to).
During this time, though, I’ve found that the more I experience and learn about the Church, the more I find that I disagree with, both on theological and moral grounds.
One conclusion that I’ve found myself led to is that I don’t feel that I would be able to attend the baptism of my children in good conscience. As you can imagine, this prospect upsets my wife and would likely cause problems with her family… both of which are things that I would like to avoid if at all possible. I have several reasons for my feelings on the matter; my hope is that hearing some fresh perspectives here will give me some insight on how I can appreciate this important ceremony in a different way.
Hopefully people here don’t take offense at these points. I do believe them, but I’m open to new ideas:
I believe baptism sounds insane, frankly. I don’t see any more merit in the idea that dipping a baby in water is necessary to prevent an unseen mystical being from torturing him or her than the idea that wearing a tinfoil hat is necessary to prevent secret satellites from stealing your thoughts. The only difference I see is that one belief is widely held, and therefore accepted by society.
I believe that baptism is contradictory to common sense. I simply can’t understand the mentality that would lead to someone looking at an innocent, perfect newborn baby and say “he’s flawed and sinful - we need to fix him.”
I believe that the necessity of baptism contradicts other Christian ideas. If infant baptism is indeed necessary, then I see only two possiblities: an arbitrary, unjust God who would punish a child for the actions of his or her parents; or a weak God whose will could be thwarted by simply not dipping an infant in water in a particular way. Neither of these ideas fit with the idea of an all-powerful loving God that is espoused by the Church.
I don’t believe it’s right to indoctrinate a child into a religion that he or she doesn’t believe in (even if it’s because the child is too young to be capable of religious belief). I think it takes away a choice that belongs to the child, once they’re old enough to make it themselves.
I disagree with certain teachings of the Catholic church, and believe that in a few cases, the Church’s stance is actually harmful. I believe that to a certain extent, giving my blessing to my child’s baptism would be tacit approval of the Church, including the aspects that I believe are wrong.
Like I said before, I’m not considering stopping my children from being baptised; I made a promise, and I intend to keep it. But I would appreciate your thoughts; hopefully there will be a gem or two in there that I can seize, which will let me attend an important event in the life of my future children.