I received an email from a father on behalf of his wife and 14-month-old daughter. They never baptized their baby and the grandparents are not too happy:
… I find the idea of something as innocent as a baby needing to be cleansed and purified of the sins of her (non-existent) ancient ancestors through an indoctrination process of which she has no say in the matter repugnant and insulting.
It was only after a series of heated dialogues that my fiance began to share my view and we were able to come to what we see as a perfect compromise. Her primary attachment to the Baptism was not grounded in metaphysics but rather family tradition. To her, assigning “godparents”, or moral teachers in which we recognize and trust in helping mold our daughter into a compassionate, ethical, and well-rounded person, is a sign of respect.
Our idea, which we find very progressive, is to have a secular ceremony to honor these moral teachers and to celebrate our daughter’s purity. Of course, planning from what I can tell is a completely unheard of ceremony and taking special measures to leave god out of it is proving some degree of difficulty.I’m not sure how our families will react to this, but I imagine most individuals will take it quite well, especially we have a well-thought and cohesive presentation. I think a general theme could be summed up perfectly by a quote from Dan Barker:
“You are an intelligent human being. Your life is valuable for its own sake. You are not second-class in the universe, deriving meaning and purpose from some other mind. You are not inherently evil — you are inherently human, possessing the positive rational potential to help make this a world of morality, peace, and joy. Trust yourself.”
It’s really a shame that we have so few events to celebrate our development, growth, and compassion that aren’t grounded otherwise appalling dogmas. If you or any of your readers have any advice or ideas regarding a ceremony of this kind I would really appreciate hearing them.
What would you include in such a ceremony?