fredag, april 18, 2008

Happy Big Prayer Day

I came very close to calling this post 'More about zombies' (well, isn't the whole point of Christianity that Jesus rose from the dead and roamed the Earth?), but I really don't like to be that confrontative about my own non-religiosity. So, I'll just wish you all a happy holiday (it's Big Prayer Day, which is a direct translation from the Danish, Store Bededag). I like the idea behind the holiday, to consolidate all the little holidays so that people can actually get some work done. Or should I say, I like the idea in theory. In practice, it's nice to have lots of little holidays.

In honor of such a religious occasion, the day was spent attending Thor's nephew's confirmation. The ceremony, held at the church where the above crucifixion is to be found, followed by a typically Danish multi-hour reception. Which was a lot more fun than it sounds (though I find my endurance is not what it has been). But also a bit worrying, not because of what it was, but because of what I suspect it will represent to my unborn daughter. It's a big deal here, from what I can tell. Not least of which because those getting confirmed get a lot of very lucrative gifts from relatives. Which I don't consider a good reason to profess faith to a religion...but I don't think I would have agreed with the current incarnation of me when I was 13 or 14 years old.

I realize that I have many years before I need to confront this issue, but I really am not comfortable with the whole idea of it (both because I am not religious, but particularly as I am not from a Christian background). But for now, I suppose I should just accept that it was a nice day out. I hope your Big Prayer Day was also good, and that any big prayers you may have had will be answered in some way.

13 kommentarer:

Bluefish sagde ...

My fiance told me about the kids getting all kinds of great presents. He never got conformed because he was not interested in it.

Devil Mood sagde ...

So Big Prayer day is a Danish thing and not a Christian thing? I never heard of such a thing...I'm puzzled.

Well, my family is religious and when I was 6 or 7 and I was supposed to have my first communion (is this the term?) along with ALL my classmates I decided I didn't want to. So at 6 or 7 I told my parents: I'm not doing it.
Talk about being a grown-up kid. ;)

doktorholocaust sagde ...

My parents are atheist, but we still celebrated all the conventional almost-completely-secularized Christian festivals like Zombieday (easter) The Feast of the Blessed Leprechaun (St Patrick), Night Of The Creepy Guy Who Is Definitely Not A Pedophile Even Though He Spies On Children All Over The World (Christmas) and the like.

One X-mess during my teenage years (or maybe it was college) I asked my father why we celebrated the holidays even though we weren't religious. He paused in thought, sipped his coffee, watched my kid sister unwrap some expensive tchotchke from Grandma, and said "to make childhood memories for you and your sister," which I believe is dad-speak for "for CASH AND PRIZES!"

I joined a church later in life, after moving out on my own, and my religion is perfectly okay with lying about one's religiosity to get free stuff. Hellz, I'm Odinist on Yule, American-secular for St PAtrick's Day (I'm maybe an eighth irish, but i like drinking), Church of the ZOmbie Jesus for Easter, and Postmodern Snarky Chaos-Magick-practicing neopagan for Halloween. Whatever'll get me the most candy and toys.

Then I go back to being a SubGenius when it's convenient. so I vote for letting the kid have a Store Bededag confirmation party thing if they want one, but doing it the way THEY want it done rathe rthan in the traditional hours-of-sitting-in-a-church way (as i recall, churches haven't figured out comfortable seating yet), so the kid gets a childhood-milestone party that they enjoy (and presents!), the grownups get a "stand around commenting on how much the kid's grown" milestone with photo-ops and cheek-pinching to satisfy they're i-have-a-little-kid-relative urges, and everyone gets cake. and as long as you believe the lie while you say it, it's not really lying, if you're a stickler for morality.

and no, if you're wondering, I wasn't confirmed. as I understand it, I pitched such a fit at my baptism (it was my dad's parents' idea to have me baptized) that I was not brought back for any further religious indoctrination.

and no, I'm not the antichrist. if i was, I'd be in politics by now.

missalister sagde ...

Big Prayer Day? 4/18/08? Dammit! I missed it! Just saw this and it’s 4/19/08! And I didn’t request anything big from the cosmic genie on 4/18/08! I would add, "story of my life" here but in honor of "The Secret" I won't.

Anonym sagde ...

I was forced to be confirmed. I didn't want to, but my parents insisted (and also insisted that I did not wish for any presents worth more than 500 kr.).

I'm still resentful about it today, I hated the party and the fuss and stress, and I didn't believe in the whole religious aspect of it. Something I had made very clear to my parents AND the priest (who then quite fittingly read the passage about the lost sheep when he confirmed me).

I've since officially left the church, so this sheep, at least, never came back. Funny thing is my parents aren't particularly religious either, but it was in their eyes "the thing to do".

There was a girl in my class who wasn't confirmed, instead she and her parents went on a vacation to Spain. :)


Greg Mills sagde ...

I spent Big Prayer Day in Burbank, which suggests that Big Prayer Day is not all that effective.

I'm totally for faking religious beliefs for gifts, and for the nice community aspect of it. One thing about being a secularist -- no good public holidays to see family and friends in one big stew-y mees.

kimananda sagde ...

Bluefish, that's a good reason to not get confirmed.

Ms. Mood, it's a Danish holiday. I think it'd be easier to go against the flow at age 6. By age 14, it's all about what the other kids are doing, or at least that's how I remember it.

Dok, I like your style. And I can totally see celebrating the fun aspects of holidays, from all religions, as cultural/educational opportunities. I just really don't want my child to grow up to be a Christian. Not for any particularly good reason, by the way. Maybe it's just that there're so many of them in the world, and some of them believe such silly things.

One thing though that might make it all not a big deal, is that you can't just show up, be confirmed, and collect presents. You have to go through many months of religious education. You also have to be baptised, which my child shall not be, though of course, if she's serious, she can have it done closer to the confirmation date.

Miss A., it's not that sort of prayer day, as far as I can make out. Though if you're the type to pray to the Christian saints, then that would be a good day to do it!

May, I'm remembering your story to use later as ammunition. And I like the idea of a trip instead. I could definitely work with that one. I will have to remember to tell the konfirmand not to mention that he's gotten himself a trip to New York as one of his confirmation gifts.

Greg, nope, Burbank is not the place I would pray to be, either. And, no secular holidays? What about Thanksgiving?

doktorholocaust sagde ...

many months of religious education? what kinda freaky churches are they running in Denmark? I'm an ordained minister (I prefer Reverend Doktor, of course) in two different churches here in the US, and all I had to do was pay shipping and handling.

my reccomendation: rather than have a Confirmation requiring baptism and much preliminary brainwashing, stage a Consternation, in which the child is presented with ordained ministership (in the Church of the SubGenius, an organization that exists primarily to parody conventional religions) and then lavished with attention and presents, culminating in the very somber thwacking of a crucifix-shaped pinata (with some death metal playing, or perhaps "everything you know is wrong" by Weird Al Yankovic).

of course, organized parodizing of religion is not always looked upon kindly by the law. here in the states, people have had their kids taken away for such behavior

erin sagde ...

Aha! You've hit on something that makes me really uncomfortable too and one of the many reasons why I can't ever see myself having children. I don't like how all of this stuff seems to infect all rites of passage, and how you get frowned upon for not participating.

Growing up I was the one athiest kid in a sea of Catholics who chose not to understand why I made the choice to boycott the school Remembrance Day assembly when I was 7 because I refused to sing religious hymns at school, and I objected to the teachers changing the lyrics to John Lennon's Imagine to "one religion too".

I don't mind that people do religious things. Sometimes I'll even participate out of respect, but I don't like not having a choice about it.

I don't agree with the whole idea of making kids go to church until a certain age and then letting them 'choose what they believe'. The choice has already been made by that point.

To this day my grandmother is upset that I was never baptized. She is the first to tell you that all religions are bullshit, and that I'm amazingly wonderful in every way, and yet was supposed to make me 'moral' or something. It just doesn't make sense.

doktorholocaust sagde ...

I'm with Erin's grandma. Religions are not about God, or morality, or the soul, or anything like that. They're about Money. Religions establish the holiday traditions that bolster the economy (here in the US, we have Black Friday, the big first-official-day-of-Christmas-shopping, when retailers finally start to show a profit for the year). Religions provide gainful employment to people who just want to babble about important-sounding stuff in front of an audience without ever doing actual work for their money (sort of like professional bloggers in the modern world), and, as L. Ron Hubbard would happily tell you if someone plugged his pickled brain into a speaker, religions give the mediocre sci-fi writers something to do.

if you're going to introduce a kid to religion, even if it's just so they can milk the extended family for presents, i would heartily recommend explaining all this to them.

kimananda sagde ...

Dok, I read about Rev. Magdalen's case a while seemed a bit of a waste of court time to take the child away from her to begin with, if I recall correctly. As for religion=money, yes, for some, I'm sure. But for the average actual believer in religion, it's probably more about spending money than making it. I'll try to introduce big business and religion separately as well as together.

Erin, I've never been a fan of the whole 'you need religion to keep you moral' argument. And it's good to hear from fellow non-believers about this. Interestingly, no one around me seems to mind that, for example, I'm not having my child baptized. In fact, I get the sense that there'd be more shock if I was going to do it!

missalister sagde ...

Not that sort of prayer day? Oh. Well, as Emily Litella would say ...

kimananda sagde ...

Thanks, that made me smile! I hadn't seen that sketch in aaaaages! :-D