Becoming a new father involves a great philosophical change. No longer are you thinking about how much money you can save for the weekend or the month, but of how much you should save for the next 18 years. My wife and I are welcoming a baby boy into our lives this May and cannot be happier about it. It does bring about a perspective shift however. Bringing a new life into the world brings new responsibilities. Beyond the joy and excitement of preparing our son’s room and setting up an online registry there comes about the age-old challenges for many of us who were raised in a religious faith we no longer embrace. I assume that we will no doubt encounter relatives and friends asking us if we’re going to baptize our child as a Roman Catholic. The ritual is a tradition in many Christian faiths and supposedly protects a newborn from spiritual and bodily harm.
This tradition born out of the dark ages has no place in our lives as parents and we would be doing our son a disservice to baptize him in this superstitious rite. Despite having let go of my Roman Catholic roots decades previously, my family still clutches to the hope that I will “come around” or no longer be a “fallen away” Catholic. I disagree with the misogyny of the church. I disagree with the church’s disrespect towards all life, towards homosexuals, and disagree with its belief that they are the one and true faith. I have had the benefit of a well-rounded academic career beyond high school. I have had the pleasure of both learning about and interacting with people of all faiths, orientations and political beliefs. If I were to have my child baptized I would be taking away his right to choose who he wants to become. I would be speaking on his behalf, before he even learns to speak, walk, or process the intricacies and philosophies of Christian religious doctrine. If my son chooses to go the path of Roman Catholic I will support him no doubt. But I will also support his choice to become a Buddhist, a Muslim or any other faith he so chooses. I believe in the underlying good of all people.
I believe that, relatively speaking, most people are all good and cut from the same fabric. It is only churches that separate us from one another, and point out our differences as if they were something abhorrent. I want to raise my son in a warm and loving home free of prejudice and free of persecution. I don’t want our son to grow up feeling guilty about being human or feeling certain things is not allowed. Call me liberal, call me a heathen, I think the real crime would be not giving our son a choice of who he is meant to become, and allowing him to take ownership of his own destiny as it were meant to be — free of religious restriction.