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Should I baptize my son ?

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  • Should I baptize my son ?

    Dear All,

    I recently became a daddy, my son was born. And my question will be related to him.
    I was raised in a catholic family. I was a catholic for many years. This is the tradition of my family.
    But as I became mature I could see what christianity really is. For me it's just a psychological slavery, dogmas, fear and sense of guilt.
    I became a buddhist. It came from my understanding.

    Now it comes a time when my son should be taken to the church and baptized as a catholic. This is what whole family expects. This is a tradition of my family.
    I'm sure that buddhist way is far better choice than christianity, and I would like to raise my son as a buddhist, which means I'd rather avoid the baptism.
    But that would mean I need to oppose the tradition, the family. No one in the family would understand me.

    There is one another point, some people says that baptism ritual closes the chakra and blocks spiritual life.

    I would be grateful for some advice and wise words.

  • #2
    This is a difficult choice. I can only offer my opinion. Here goes.

    I was raised Catholic. I brought up my daughters in the Catholic faith. They are both in their late twenties now. Later in life, as an adult, I became disenfranchised from Catholicism and then from Christianity, and recognized the heavy guilt implications in the faith. This was really brought home to me when my daughters went through the process of confirmation, which they really didn't want to do, but were not that opposed to. The process was so bureaucratic and authoritarian. It really turned all three of us off, frankly, from Catholicism.

    About five years ago, I turned to Buddhism. Neither of my daughters is Buddhist, although they support my choice. One daughter is agnostic, the other was a practicing Christian but not so much anymore.

    So, that is a thumbnail sketch of my background.

    You could consider having your son baptized, without disavowing your Buddhism beliefs. The baptism ceremony, and more importantly, the coming together of family, seems like a good thing. Then you could expose your son to the Catholic faith as he grows up, maybe a trusted family member could take him to church sometimes. Or not. There are a lot of non-practicing Catholics. You could also expose your son to your Buddhist faith as he grows up, so he can experience both faiths. When your son is old enough to be aware of these things, then he can pick a religion for himself, or no religion at all. This could be like if you and your spouse were committed to different faiths, and each practiced those different faiths, and then the child chooses for him or herself when the time comes.

    I don't think a baptism ritual would block a Buddhist spiritual life. That just seems like an arbitrary rule that someone made up in order to coerce people into their way of thinking. Sort of like the coercion that if you don't believe in Jesus, you cannot be saved.

    This seems like a good question for Ajahn Brahm.

    I hope my thoughts on the subject help. I wish you and your son the best!


    • #3
      I totally agree with Mary. Your question lets me think about a Dhamma talk by Ajahn Brahm. He basically said the same: expose your son to both faiths and let him decide as time comes. I was raised as a christian, but became buddhist 9 years ago (by taking the 5 precepts before a Theravada monk). I too went away from christianity because I found it to be useless for me, and because it is a lot fear-based (in my opinion that is).