The question that I am going to ask, I’m hoping to get a 3rd party outside opinion on and it is a very religious based question which hopefully you won’t mind but I have noticed with the blog you have touched on different aspects of religion, so here it goes….

I have two girls. One is almost two and the other was born almost a week ago. It was brought to my attention at the birth of my second daughter by my eventually to be mother in-law that I need to get her and her older sister baptized and I need to get them both baptized right away because I waited too long to baptized my older daughter and if anything happens to her she will go to hell. Obviously the remedy would be to baptize. (I kept putting it off with the first child unfortunately) The only issue is that my mother in-law and the father of my children are raging Catholics. I am Lutheran. I don’t really belong to a church though but I was a raised a Lutheran. They want me to baptize my girls Catholic and my mother in-law even has the godparents picked out and the church and probably everything else down to the napkins that will be used at the reception. Ideally I would like my children to be able to choose what religion they would like to practice and I think that with how strict Catholicism seems to be I don’t really want to baptize them in a Catholic church with two strangers acting as their god-parents just because they are friends with my mother in-law unless it was something that I knew that they would want. I have been researching baptism and a lot of the churches want you to be registered as an active church member as well as to take a pre-baptism class and so on and so forth. 

What would your advice be to my situation? Do you think that I should just back up and set my beliefs aside for right now and get the girls baptized as Catholics? Should I maybe do an elope type of thing and go to the local Lutheran Church with some witnesses and baptize them as Lutherans? I have no idea what to do and I am feeling very forced into something that should be a joyous occasion.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my situation/question!

Sincerely,

Monica

Monica,

Thank you for the question Monica. I will attempt to answer this question in a non-biased way. First I will start with; no one no matter how old they are should have religious believes forced upon them. Your future mother in-law should not attempt to steamroll you into making a decision you do not feel comfortable with. The fact she is your “future” mother in-law only increases the pressure you are feeling. If you look at the many inquisitions throughout history; you will discover Catholics tend to be a tad bit more forceful when pushing their beliefs on other people. Your future mother in-law should respect your given right of freedom of religion. 

I do not believe having your children baptized in any faith; will matter either way. To me it is a ritualistic act, and has no barring on where your children’s souls would go if they were to pass today. It is my understanding the God of the Bible is a jealous and vengeful God, who prefers us to fear Him. With that being said; I have a hard time believing the concept of Him denying your innocent child a ticket into heaven based on whether you did or did not have holy water on their body. This concept is absurd and if I was hearing this for the first time I would not want anything to do with a God so spiteful. I am not 100% on this but I believe it says your children can suffer based off the sins of their parents. I am of the belief these concepts were added to the Bible for purposes of fear mongering and are used in the form of re-education.

I do not believe children should be subjected to religion, I believe this is a deeply personal and life altering decision. This decision should be mad when they are at the age of reason. This goes back to fear mongering tactics aimed at scaring them into believing based on the possibility of whether their soul will be sent to a permanent time-out in hell. I have heard from many people who say “I would rather believe and be wrong, then to not believe and be wrong.” This comment has come out from far to many people and is evident of a forced foundation of belief. When we believe based off this assumption is when we live a life of consistently lying to ourselves.

The question I have for you is what do you believe? They are your children, and as their mother you need to follow is in their best interest. Do not make a decision based off appeasing your future in-laws. Being baptized is an intimate and big religious step, and your children deserve the right to make that decision on their own.

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Comments
  1. I think this letter brings up some more troubling aspects than merely baptism. What does the eventual father have to say about all this? Is he applying pressure along with his parents or is he allowing his parents to run the show or is he feeling the same kind of pressure too? Is he sympathetic to Monica’s quandary?

    Another question it brings up is will this be a pattern in the marriage? Many a marriage has been wrecked by interfering in-laws who demand that the new union appease their desires at every corner. Today the issue may be baptism. Tomorrow it may be where the couple lives or what perspectives the children are raised under. This episode could merely be the tip of a dangerous iceberg!

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Rambling,

      I to would like to hear from Monica on where her future husband stands on this issue. Marriages are hard to sustain when you have polar opposite views on something as important as religion. I of course wish her the best and hope this is not one of many issues surrounding her future in-laws. It is hard to stand up to intimidating forces. It is also a shitty to feel like you are a puppet. I get the picture that is what her in-laws are doing.

  2. corey bratt says:

    ok, had to chime in at least a little on this one. one question that came to mind, though, is why does the “MIL” not seem to care that this couple is unmarried and having children? secondly, monica would do well to point out that nowhere in the Bible does it state you have to be baptized to go to heaven. Jesus and his disciples were baptized as adults. the Bible says that baptism is how we proclaim our faith- it is symbolic of our belief in Jesus, and therefore is to be done at an age when you have the ability to make the proclamation yourself. children are guaranteed a place in heaven.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Corey,

      Thank you! I wish I had your insight in my response. It appears to me you have a healthy belief in Christ. The points you make bring out the true love our Lord has for us. It is nice to hear from a Christian who leads with love as opposed to fear. It is men like you and woman like Johanna that make me respect this religion. It feels nice.

  3. johanna says:

    Tim, perhaps since your image of God is a vengeful one, you would find more comfort in John10 and Luke 15. In these passages, the Good Shepherd knows every one of his sheep by name. Gradually the sheep come to recognize his voice, and they listen to it. The Good Shepherd’s love for his sheep is so great that he would defend his sheep with his very life.

    As for the Catholic beliefs on baptism…. According to The Church, baptism is the gateway into the life of the Holy Spirit. Through baptism, we are freed from original sin and reborn as sons of God. Once baptized into the Christian church
    (the Catholic Church recognizes all Christian baptisms as valid) an indelible mark is left on the soul. The sacrament can not be or need not be repeated.
    It also specifies that The Lord himself affirms that baptism is necessary for salvation. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. THEREFORE, Any child who died before being baptized wouldn’t go to hell because they did not have the chance to have this sacrament.
    Our God is a loving God who has a special love for the innocence of children.
    I would urge you to baptize your children. Just because you may not grasp the importance of this sacrament does not mean they should not benefit from
    the graces it will bring. If you feel compelled to have the children baptized in the Lutheran Church, then do it there.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Johanna,

      I used to be a Baptist, I believed in God; my faith was strong. There were things which caused me to end up hating God. I will write a post about it this week. He abandoned me in my greatest time of need.

      • Rebekah Elling says:

        I would love to hear about that Tim! I too felt that God had abandoned me in my greatest time of need, but more recently have found that he brought me to a greater sense of understanding and am better able to be apathetic to those around me.

        I was raised a lutheran and baptised in the lutheran church, my dad later brought my sister and I to the baptist church where I became a member and after a time my dad and I both decided to be baptised. And I will tell you that that was one of the most amazing moments in my life, I truly felt God’s hands on me that day literally lift me out of the water.

        Yes, baptisim is a symbol of our acceptance of God into our lives, but it is something much more than that too, something that is difficult to describe.

      • Tim Lundmark says:

        Bekah,
        I think it meant more because you were older and made the decision to be in Gods arms. I do not think it is the same thing when you are a child because you have no concept of what you are doing. I started to write about why I have rejecterd the lord. I thought I could just write it, but it brings back such horrible feelings. I was going to do it today, but I just couldnt.

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