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Reluctantly I agreed to perform the "ceremony", for the sake of mum who was let's say "mildly" Christian. An atheist can be a wonderful influence in a child's life, but being a godparent is to be a representative of the religious community and an example of godly living which is why they should be baptised and preferably confirmedin addition to supporting them socially.

In all cases, the religious officiators have completely understood this and taken out any such wording. Godparents atheist dating while I admire people who turn down the role for this reason, I don't believe I'm favouring flattery over my principles.

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They would have invited me to be a godfather to one of their children except that I made a point of declining, politely but firmly, any invitation to attend a christening, and explained briefly why.

What do the people who asked me to fulfil the role expect? On the other hand, there is the costume drama of christening which, rather like church weddings, is largely a matter of your ability to ignore solemnly spoken words which even the participants don't seem to believe.

Its head of ceremonies, Ben Siegel, says: He was not at all religious, just sort of accepted that there was a big man in the sky.

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My husband was not so hide-bound. At this stage of my life, I had come to the conclusion that pretty much everyone was free godparents atheist dating have their own beliefs, as long as they didn't infringe on others freedoms.

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Further, the agreement was made that someone else would stand in for me at the church ceremony so I didn't need to say anything I didn't agree with. Wendy Peterson I was asked by a friend to be a godparent.

For similar reasons I have twice refused to have a palaeontological dating definition wedding. In which case, is it the right job for me? Others believe I'm off the hook altogether when it comes to religion.

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Mike Dendor I am an atheist, a grandparent to grandchildren being brought up in religious familyand a godparent. But then overnight realised I'd made a mistake and called her the next morning to explain.

Luckily for me she had also had second thoughts after our conversation, so we were very happy to settle on me being a 'guide-parent' instead. However they recognised that another adult relationship, beyond the parents and blood relatives, is not a bad idea.

They were very pleased when I asked for clarification and responded that's why they asked me: In my cousin's case, she omitted to tell the vicar there was a third godparent, and in my friend's case, she plans to ask the vicar to allow for the fact that there's an atheist in the mix.

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Strictly speaking, yes, but I was keen to have to have the added bond of love that being a godparent offers both to the child and to the parentsand to have some formal responsibility for his upbringing although this is exceedingly small in comparison to his parents' responsibilities.

My policy is to ditch the nonsense about silver spoons, to send random presents and take them out for fun treats until they are Listening to the words it was all about the church, how they had claimed this child for their own, and how she could never go against the word of Jesus.

I think of the role as that of an extra uncle in their son's life who is there for help and advice if he ever needs it. Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian Kate, we'd love you to be Matthew's godmother," said my friend Caroline last week, referring to their week-old son. I attended the Christening, and my friend gave me a secular reading so that I would feel included too.

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Was the christening mainly an event to celebrate the child's birth and appease some religious elderly relatives or was it spiritually important to them? Plenty of people wouldn't know their godparents if they saw them in the street, but I was lucky. I've never seen him smirk so much.

So, what to do?

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Does that sound like you? On the day however, we had to sit through the traditional Sunday service I had not been to church since I was a scout for remembrance day and looking round the church saw the array of literature available, condemning homosexuals, and how to counter 'militant atheism' as the voice of Jesus was the truth and the light.

I'm not sure what other county councils offer but Kent have an excellent ceremony for such occasions, just as serious and meaningful as a christening without the embarrassing god bit.

I even put more than I should into the collection through some vague feeling of guilt. Number two, Elizabeth, is my father's cousin's wife and she still makes a beeline for me at functions.

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So my father asked one of his oldest friends, Sam Scorer, to be what we in the family always referred to as a "Godless godparent". It was all very polite, and looking back, when I had to respond to ".

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Andrew Ruddle There is a suggestion somewhere on a secular or humanist site that the non-religious equivalent of "god-parent" should be "Friend for Life". But now there is a ceremony available that focuses on family, without the church, and in many cases, people use this ceremony to invite people to take a special role in their child's life.

Steve Hill I was asked to be a godparent once, and declined with I hope reasonable grace, explaining that I was an atheist. Keith Templeman I have never been invited to be a godparent.

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As far as I know Sam wasn't religious either but if the idea of a godparent is to encourage the young person in the ethos and values favoured by the actual parents, then this relationship was probably as effective as most religious godparents. Two-thirds of local authorities offer them, as does the British Humanist Association.

So here's my vision. Over the 14 years that I have been his "God"father I have never regretted my decision. I do not even like humanist "ceremonies of welcome" or "naming ceremonies". If we all go along just to keep the peace, the church will continue to exert influence.

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You can share your hobbies and interests with our members and connect with many like-minded singles online. It adds seriousness, and a sense of ritual, not to mention an introduction to Christianity.

I was keen that he should have someone in a formal relationship to him who could put the atheist line in due course of time. There is no law to enforce it and most people won't think about it again, the only enforcement is your own self-respect and the love you hold for them. Probably the best way of effecting this is to allow them to be brought up as Christians.

The next day I started reading the work of Dawkins, Harris and falling in love with the eloquence and wit of Hitchens amongst others and only last week joined the National Secular Society.