Sunday, August 17, 2008

Atheist Asked To Be Godparent

Riemann's Cut asks an interesting question. What does an Atheist do when asked to be a Godparent? I've been an Atheist all of my adult life (a long time now). The question has come up from time to time. I've always said no, or better yet, I've put out a feeler telling my family they should not ask. On the other hand, I try to be a good uncle or cousin because I'm interested in participating in the social life of my extended family. Riemann's struggling with his decision:

I have no idea what I will say or how I will react. I wonder if things will get heated and I describe my true feelings about baptism, that to inflict a religion on an infant is immoral. Maybe I'll come out a closer definition of what I am, a "Non-Theistic Agnostic" and just maybe they'll realise I've thought about this for a long time. Or maybe I'll just go ahead with it... adopt some kind of nihilistic viewpoint that nothing really matters anyway, and declaring devotion to a falsehood negates ones actions automatically. It would be the same as signing myself up as a heretic during the inquisition though. Sure, I'd save myself a load of hassle but I'd be betraying myself and the truth.

I've always just opted out. I simply say something like "It would be inappropriate for me to participate because I do not share your faith". They usually understand. My statement is not about their beliefs, it is about mine. I usually ask if I can participate in some other way. That's what I love about my wife's Filipino culture. I think they invented the word "sponsor" especially for me.

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