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Finding faith in later life.

(39 Posts)
Judy54 Wed 30-Mar-22 14:25:03

My Niece who is in her forties has been going to church for a while and has decided to get baptised. All the family are really happy for her but some of her friends cannot understand and have made derogatory remarks and a few have shunned her. This has really upset her, she just wants people to respect her decision even if they may not necessarily agree with it. Her faith is personal to her and she does not enforce it on other people, she has got to the point where she fears telling others as she cannot be sure of their reaction. This should be a joyous time for her but she feels let down by friends. Should she just keep this to herself or is she right to tell people about her intentions?

Shelflife Wed 30-Mar-22 15:36:07

Some people are very insensitive! They are not true friends if they make derogatory remarks about her personal decision, as for shunning her - unbelievable ! I am not a religious person , although I was a regular attender at the Methodist church where I grew up. No regrets at all , only happy memories of Sunday school . My social life was based on the church , youth club , brownies and girl guides. Your niece should not be afraid of people’s reactions , goodness me she is only following her beliefs ! and arranging to be baptised. Hardly running off to join a dubious religious cult!!!
You niece should be happy , tell her friends if she wishes , those that shun her should not be so shallow! I wish her well .

PECS Wed 30-Mar-22 15:52:00

People are often embarrassed by people with an active faith. It is unusual for people to be baptised as adults (unless you belong to a Baptist church) so will seem strange to many & they may worry she will change and not be the same person they liked before her finding a faith. She will have good friends who will accept her personal choices and it will not affect the friendship. Those are good friends.

Shelflife Wed 30-Mar-22 15:59:32

I agree , but those people who are embarrassed because of someone else’s faith should get a life of their own! Getting baptised at any age is a personal decision and should not be a big deal to anyone else . For goodness sake , tell your niece to rejoice in her faith .

grannyactivist Wed 30-Mar-22 16:08:00

I’m sorry your niece is having such a difficult time because of her decision. I was also baptised as an adult, as was my husband. The worst intolerance I came across was with my peers at university who were very accepting of just about anything except Christianity and lauded themselves for their tolerance.

Fortunately I was able to slough off the ridicule and relentless snide comments, but the only other Christian in my year couldn’t take it and eventually she withdrew from the course. There were a few people wanting to have genuine discussions, but some were nothing less than venomous in their animosity and they felt completely justified in their bullying behaviour. Ironically those same people were often challenged about their behaviour towards us by the Muslims on our course - none of whom came in for the same intolerance.

I hope your niece is able to rise above the personal comments and perhaps find friends who are more accepting.

Septimia Wed 30-Mar-22 17:50:09

A lot of people think that those who actively follow a religion are a bit weird. The religiously inclined are as diverse a group of characters as any other group. I spend quite a bit of time trying to show people how "normal" I am !!

Your niece is brave to be baptised as an adult. Given time, I hope, her friends will find that she's still the same person and will get over their prejudices.

Kim19 Wed 30-Mar-22 18:08:43

I guess this could be called a test of her faith? Certainly is a test of her 'friends'. Does she need them? I'm delighted for her that she has found a faith at this stage in life. Great stuff!

Casdon Wed 30-Mar-22 18:14:37

Judy54 I don’t understand why she needs to inform people of her decision, or indeed of her faith at all. It’s a personal choice, it shouldn’t impact on her relationships in any way, and I don’t think there is any reason for her to bring it up with others.

MrsTagain Wed 30-Mar-22 18:44:00

After 50+ years of being a conventional Christian, I found I just couldn't go on saying and believing the Creed any more.
I left the C of E church I loved, tried the Unitarians, tried the Quakers, and 20 years later I'm now a tea lady at the Spiritualist church.
Many people find Spiritualism either laughable, or dangerous , or both (look at another thread on this forum!)
I don't -it makes a lot of sense to me.
But I'm VERY, VERY careful who I tell!
I hope I know my friends and relations well enough to guess their likely reaction.
I'm also a strict vegetarian. If you believe something is right for you, it doesn't do to get too upset if other people don't think the same way or congratulate you! Life isn't like that, is it?

lemsip Wed 30-Mar-22 18:53:29

a private matter and no need to inform people at all.....unless you are going to have a gathering of some sort!

nexus63 Wed 30-Mar-22 19:08:39

my sister in law decided to become a minster at the age of 40, anytime she tried to turn my late husband to what she thought he always said the same know i am an atheist....thank god, she always hated him saying this. when he died she arranged the funeral without me having any say and it was a very religious affair that he would have hated. everyone has the right to follow whatever religion they want and if her so called friends are making remarks then they are not true friends.

HolySox Wed 30-Mar-22 19:12:47

Judy54 lovely to hear your niece is getting baptized as an adult. Although I was Christened as a child I felt I had to get baptized as an adult in my thirties when I 'came to faith' as an adult. Lovely her family are supporting her and hopefully will be there on the day.
As for telling other people I think it comes down to would they attend the service. If they are not Christian then I would expect not, so no point telling them. Not all are called to be 'evangelists' so don't let your niece stress about thinking she needs to tell everyone about this. Baptism can be a very intimate, private time and not really for non-believers - having said that one of DD's friends decided to become a Christian after attending my DD's adult baptism service when she was aged 18.

Blossoming Wed 30-Mar-22 19:19:43

I’m an atheist but would never belittle another’s faith. I have happily attended weddings and baptisms and supported friends and family. I just bow my head and stay silent if there’s something I can’t honestly join in.

BlueBalou Wed 30-Mar-22 19:49:14

Me too Blossoming, my faith, or rather lack of, is nothing to do with anyone else.

Hithere Wed 30-Mar-22 22:06:51

Religion is very personal

I agree with a PP who questioned why her friends know or even need to know

With this post, we do not have enough to go for feedback
Could her friends be mean or playful?
Could your niece be pushing her faith on them?
Could your niece be talking about just religion?

Judy54 Fri 01-Apr-22 14:30:42

Thanks everyone for your replies. My Niece just wanted to share her happiness with her friends. We all often talk to friends about our news whether good or bad so that they can rejoice with or commiserate with us. She could just have easily been telling them that she had a promotion, new job, new house etc. It was just the fact that she told them that she had been going to church and wanted to get baptised that did not go down to well. I understand that religion is not for everyone and it is a shame that her friends could not be more supportive or kind to her.

Hithere Fri 01-Apr-22 14:42:03

In my experience, born again religious people can get overwhelming, in some cases, trying to recruit you too

I hope it is not the vibe your niece gave

Her friends all suck and are unsupportive - your niece could look for better friends for sure
Your niece may have done something to alienate them all

grandtanteJE65 Sun 10-Apr-22 12:48:12

Your niece is by no means alone.

All of us who actively believe in God and either say so, or make this apparent in other ways, like DH and I who have a crucifix in our sitting-room have experienced the kind of comments that are troubling your niece.

In time she will become more thick-skinned about these remarks.

In the meantime, I would suggest that she doesn't mention her beliefs unless asked about them. If reactions are then demeaning, she is at liberty to ask her friends to show some respect for her choices.

After all from what you say, she is not trying actively to convert them, so there is no reason I can see for her friends and acquaintances to shun her.

Caleo Sun 10-Apr-22 13:29:42

If her faith were personal to her she'd not want to join a religious group.

greenlady102 Sun 10-Apr-22 13:31:47

I would say that those friends aren't friends

greenlady102 Sun 10-Apr-22 13:33:06


If her faith were personal to her she'd not want to join a religious group.

what nonsense! There are plenty of things in life that are personal and yet people choose to share them with a group of people who will understand and accept. The first one that comes to mind is breavement.

Skye17 Sun 10-Apr-22 13:41:50

I think it’s important that Christians as a group don’t allow themselves to be made invisible out of fear. In her place I would tell people, but I’d be prepared for some not liking it. She will probably make new (Christian) friends who will hopefully be better ones.

I was baptised around her age myself, but nobody I knew objected.

DillytheGardener Sun 10-Apr-22 13:42:31

I wasn’t christened and didn’t christen my children, and was a little taken aback that my Catholic dil baptised my gc, though I should have anticipated this. She called herself a bit of a holiday Catholic, but it’s her family culture. But watching via video link it was very moving seeing dil and son and the god parents dedicate themselves to gc spiritual journey.
The god parents are very involved with gc, baby sitting and Sunday dinners etc. If I can’t be there to be involved it’s lovely to know GC isn’t missing out on extended family activities.

silverlining48 Sun 10-Apr-22 14:00:40

I was christened and confirmed as a child because it was expected. I went to church and Sunday school until a young teenager when I stopped.
I did not marry in church or christen my children as I felt it was disrespectful to use the church for these occasions just as an opportunity fur a big Party.
I am still not a believer but am interested in different religions and love the peace of a churchyard.
My dd has not had her children christened, and neither dd married in church.
As for being baptised as an adult it’s a current story line in the Archers. I wish all who wish to do this well. It’s really rather nice because it’s actually been properly thought out and decided upon. It means more.

red1 Mon 11-Apr-22 16:20:08

i would never tell anyone my faith, i don't have one at the mo!
it is highly personal, you leave yourself to shot at, it brings in the old divisions of tribalism etc.As for friends, i would say keep your enemies closer.