What is the Atheistic Equivalent of a “Godparent” Called?

An atheist friend has an interesting question for me. I didn’t know what to say to her, so, with her permission, I offer the question to you:

Random question: is there an atheist version of a Godparent? I know that anyone can be named as a legal guardian in the event that we die, but is there a non religious term for it? I’d like to have someone for Em and I know it doesn’t need a cutesy name, but it would certainly be easier. It was just something that passed through my mind recently and I wondered if you knew of anything.


Have any atheists developed words for this kind of relationship? Should we set out to make one? What should my friend call her little girl’s legal guardian that’s a little more intimate and personal than the somewhat formal and dramatic term “legal guardian”?

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.