Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Religion: A Social Choice.

Happy Yule to you all!

"Yule?" you ask. Yes, Yule. You won't catch me wishing anyone a Happy Xmas and being genuine about it - I may be genuine about wishing the happiness, but to me Xmas is meaningless. Why? Simple. I'm Pagan, not Christian.

"So you don't believe in God?" you might be thinking.

Actually I do. Not only do I believe in God, I believe in Goddess too! Fancy that!

Paganism is a term derived from the latin term "paganus" meaning "country dweller", thus making Paganism the practices of the country-dwellers. [Heathen, on the other hand, refers to someone who lives on the heath. The two 'labels' are interchangeable, but usually Heathen is reserved for the northerners.

"Where are you going with this?" some impatient minds will be wondering.


I am currently facing the HUGE question mark of whether to baptise my spawn or not once s/he is born. Living in Malta means living in a country where not being bapitsed means:

1) You  cannot apply to send your child to a Church School - and admittedly, Church Schools currently hold the highest educational standard.
2) Your child is pretty much going to be the social outcast. Just like you were whenever you visited a new playing field - maybe during your summer holidays, when your parents whisked you away to their summer residence. All the children knew each other from school and cathecism lessons [i.e. muzew], and you had no idea who was the bully and who was the playground queen/king.
3) Family quarrels. Just like a big church wedding ceremony is mainly organsied for the sake of the in-laws, the cousins, the aunts and uncles,and all the other obscure relatives -so is a baptism ceremony organised for other people's sake.
4) Burial difficulties.

I can just picture horrified faces at my mentioning burial, and hear a few of you mumbling about how I'm being pessimistic and thinking too far ahead.

In my reality, I have attended a minimum of one funeral every year since the year 2000. And guess what? Out of the 14 funerals I've been, only 2 were elderly family members. All the rest were people who were younger than me. I have seen way too many parents bury their children for me not to go there. I am too aware of our own mortality not to try and plan ahead.

From my research, if someone has never been baptised into the Roman Catholic church, they can only be buried in the communal slots in public cemeteries. When it comes to family graves, you'd need to get permission from your local Parish Priest to bury the unbapitsed there. Also, the funeral ceremony would need to be solely organised by family/friends, in some rented hall.

If you ask me, at a time of grief and loss, the last thing you would want to deal with is all this red tape bullshit.

Heavy topic to start off the day with, right?

Another thing I wanted to point out is this - I have no intention of shoving lies down my child's throat about how Fr Xmas is real and all that crap. The plan is to expose him/her to as many different stories as possible, from as many different cultures and belief systems as possible, and emphasise on the fact that they are jsut that - stories. I shall be working my arse off to make sure that s/he learns what tolerance and acceptance are, and make it a point that s/he does not goi around telling all the other children that Fr Xmas is not real, for example.  If I decide to bapitse him/her, then I'll be exposing him/her to as many different deities as possible.

To conclude, I personally believe that Religion should be a personal choice.... but considering all of the above, living on this rock turns it into a Social choice.


  1. Hi, I found your article very interesting. Personally I'm against the baptism of infants, baptism should be a personal choice to be undertaken when you are at an age to make such a decision, i.e. an adult. An adult can freely choose of his or her volition whether they want to subscribe to the beleifs (and subsequent rituals) of a religion or philosophy. Personally I'd try and avoid baptising my children if they had the chance of doing so themselves when they would be free to choose of their own volition.

  2. I agree with you William. In the ideal society, that would indeed be the way to go. When you have to make decisions on behalf of the child that will affect them throughout the rest of their lives though, you pretty much have to come up with Plan B. Which is the dilemma I'm trying to resolve right now :)

  3. Hun I baptised Daniel... why? Kids are cruel hun in many ways so I didn't want to paint a bulls eye on his back for everyone to pick on! However Daniel has his own mind just like we do so in a couple of years he can make his choices

  4. I understand your dilemma and have wondered about it myself. think that religious traditions have very little to do with the spirituality of the individual. As it is, religious traditions are a rite of passage for individuals to fall into a pattern that society is comfortable with. As I see it... and I am aware that this is kind of double-faced or something of the sort... one goes through the rites of passage just so the rest of society is comfortable with him/her and so that he/she is not bothered by negative stigma. The path that one spiritually follows is a private matter. I would baptise my child because it is a rite of passage that brings the child in harmony with the society around him... these ceremonies generate positive karma of a sort. What that child will feel in harmony with later on, is entirely up to them.

  5. I was baptised and taken to church till I was 5 then sent to bible club on Sundays until I was 11 when I could no longer balance the Christian
    God with the world we lived in at the time. Over the next few years I found my own ecletic path of belief. In my high school years I couldn't switch to the school most of my friends went to because it was a Catholic school and I was baptised in a Church of Scotland church so I get your dilema (this is now not allowed here as far as I know but it's still difficult to get in for non-catholic christians - other religions are a bit easier). I went to a non-domonational school and we had to attend Church at the end of term and religious service every month. I fought (and won) the right for athiest (how I worded myself at the time) and kids from other religions to be allowed to sit in silence during the prayers and hymms as we used to get into trouble if we didn't.

    If you don't have to make creature go to church except for baptism/holy communion then if it will make for an easier life for them then it's an easier choice to make. Knowing you creature will have a greater understanding of beliefs than most kids and there is nothing to stop them following what is in their heart.