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The Folly of De-Baptism

DeBaptism

Following the successful campaign in England to mount placards on buses saying “there's probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life”, the land that gave us Thomas a Becket, Edward the Confessor, Anselm of Canterbury, Thomas More and John Henry Newman is now producing hundreds of thousands of people who are endeavoring to renounce their Christian identities by de-baptizing themselves.

A group called the National Secular Society is encouraging people to buy a parchment (which the NSS sells for a reasonable five dollars) announcing that they have formally abandoned their Christian faith. Others of a more aggressive spirit are pestering churches to remove their names from the baptismal registers. One ex-Christian named John Hunt insisted that he was entirely too young to make any decision for himself when he was forcibly baptized by his parents, and a certain Michael Evans has explained that baptism is a form of child abuse.

Well, I hate to break it to these good folks, but they are attempting the impossible. Try as you might, receive as many notarized documents as you can, huff and puff all you want, once you’re baptized, you can’t be unbaptized.

A valid Christian baptism effects something in the baptized person so profound that it obtains at the most fundamental level of his being. This is why in the older books of theology, baptism was described as a “character” sacrament; this meant that it branded the person in a spiritually indelible manner. Baptism is not the joining of a club; it is the act by which one is grafted onto the mystical body of Jesus Christ, becoming a cell or an organ within that living spiritual organism. And because it reaches so deep into the heart, because it involves a re-configuration of the self, baptism just can’t be undone.

I was about to say that unbaptizing oneself is as impossible as renouncing one’s nationality or changing one’s eye-color, but then I realized that both of those can, of course, be accomplished. The staying power of baptism is greater even than that of those densely textured social and physical states of affairs.

Another of the character sacraments is holy orders: once you’re a priest, you’re always a priest. You can cease to function as a priest; you can even be formally laicized by the church, you can renounce your priesthood, but you’re still a priest, like it or not.

While on retreat just in advance of my ordination, I heard a talk that gave an interesting twist to this traditional teaching. The retreat master reminded my classmates and me that, after ordination, even if we married, we’d be married priests, even if we left the active ministry, we’d be ex-priests. Our priesthood, he explained, would be part of our ontology, the structure of our being.

I fully realize how strange and counter-intuitive this all sounds. Perhaps the greatest value of modernity (and we are all moderns) is autonomy, self-direction, freedom of choice. We feel it is our sovereign right to determine our identity, to pursue happiness as we see fit. In accordance with this basic freedom, we can choose to join certain organizations, political parties, or social clubs, provided that they conform to our expectations. The moment they don’t, we feel utterly entitled to abandon them and try something else.

Now as far as it goes, this is a valid intuition, for there is indeed a legitimate arena in which self-determination holds sway. But problems arise when we attempt to transfer this to our relationship with God. In regard to spiritual matters, the prior choice always belongs to God.

Jesus told his disciples (in a line that always takes my breath away): “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you" (John 15:16).  Everyone, Catholics and atheists alike, exist and breathe and live and think because our existence, our breath, our life, and our mental capacity have been willed into being by the power of God. Whatever we choose to do with those powers is predicated upon the prior and greater choice of God to gift us with them.

The upshot of this is summed up by the spiritual writer Richard Rohr: “Your life is not about you.” It’s indeed your life, but your life has been given by another and exists, finally, for his purpose. Paul tells the Ephesians: “There is a power already at work in you that can do infinitely more than you can ask or imagine" (Eph 3:20). The thrill of the spiritual life is to surrender to that power which will, necessarily, “take us where we don’t want to go" (John 21:18).

The church’s understanding of baptism is situated in this context. Christians don’t choose to be grafted onto Christ; rather, Christ grafts us onto him so that he can use us for his purposes. This choice of his cannot be undone by any choice of ours.
 
 
Originally posted at Word on Fire. Used with author's permission.
(Image credit: Meetup)

Bishop Robert Barron

Written by

Bishop Robert Barron is Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He is an acclaimed author, speaker, and theologian. He’s America’s first podcasting priest and one of the world’s most innovative teachers of Catholicism. His global, non-profit media ministry called Word On Fire reaches millions of people by utilizing new media to draw people into or back to the Faith. Bishop Barron is also the creator and host of CATHOLICISM, a groundbreaking, 10-part documentary series and study program about the Catholic Faith. He is the author of several books including Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master (Crossroad, 2008); The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path (Orbis, 2002); and Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith (Image, 2011). Find more of his writing and videos at WordOnFire.org.

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  • Peg

    Admittedly this comparison is used often, but ...
    It is analogous to being in a part of a family. We may be fortunate enough to have both mother and father present, but even without their presence we are still genetically linked. Despite adoption, abandonment, death or renunciation, their DNA is what formed us. Spiritually Baptism serves the same function.

    • ziad

      Well put Peg :)

      • 42Oolon

        Yes, this would be a public declaration that you no longer want to be part of that family.

        • Howard

          Right. Yet you remain your parents' child, however alienated you may be from them and however dysfunctional your family may be. You cannot change your ancestry any more than you can choose to become a pentagon living next door to A. Square in Flatland. You can wish you were never born, but you cannot undo your birth.

          • David Nickol

            You cannot change your ancestry any more than you can choose to become a pentagon living next door to A. Square in Flatland.

            That is not Fr. Barron's argument, though. His argument is that "baptism effects something in the baptized person so profound that it obtains at the most fundamental level of his being." There are countless facts about your ancestry and birth that you can't change, but they are not analogous to baptism (as Fr. Barron understands it). You can't change who your father and mother were, the time and place of your birth, the position of the sun, moon, and stars at the instant you were born, and so on. Those are simple facts. Everyone would agree that you can't change the fact that you were baptized. But Fr. Barron is arguing you can't undo baptism because it fundamentally and permanently changes a person in some supernatural way. So analogies to ancestry and the like aren't valid. If baptism is not what Fr. Barron says it is, but instead a ceremony inducting you into a church, you can't undo the fact that you were baptized, but you can undo your induction into the church by simply quitting.

          • Howard

            "So analogies to ancestry and the like aren't valid." Says you. Someone much more important than you, Fr. Baron, or me said otherwise. Read John chapter 3.

          • picklefactory

            So an appeal to biblical authority, then. Is that meant to be convincing, somehow?

          • Howard

            Yup; it provides the only context in which baptism has meaning, as it does for David Nickol and me. This is not to prove that Christianity is correct, but it does tell you what the answer is within the Christian context.

            By analogy, you (probably) and I (certainly) have no particular respect for the office of Tenno. If, however, someone wants to know whether the Tenno could be a woman, or a Christian, etc., the only way to find out is to ask the people who take this seriously -- the Japanese.

            Likewise, you (probably) and I (certainly) consider Buddhism to be baloney, but there is no point in arguing that Kobe Bryant is the true Dalai Lama. If the position of Dalai Lama is real, then the Buddhist method of selecting a new one is correct; and if their method is not correct, then the position is simply unreal.

          • David Nickol

            Someone much more important than you, Fr. Baron, or me said otherwise. Read John chapter 3.

            I don't get your point. Fr. Barron does not say that trying to undo baptism is like trying to change your ancestry. He says baptism cannot be undone because "baptism effects something in the baptized person so profound that it obtains at the most fundamental level of his being." Why weaken Fr. Barron's point? Chapter 3 of John certainly attests to the importance of baptism, but it doesn't make an analogy to ancestry. It makes an analogy to birth. Nicodemus doesn't understand what Jesus is saying, but Jesus isn't talking about being "de-baptized." It is an utterly trivial point that you can't change who your parents or your ancestors were. Fr. Barron is not making such a trivial point about baptism. He is saying baptism changes a person profoundly, and those changes cannot be reversed.

          • Howard

            Thank you, Nicodemus.

            Most people have the crazy idea that BIRTH and becoming a member of a family actually have something to do with each other. You are the first person I've come across who sees no connection.

            If you don't find John 3 sufficient, try John 1:12.

            And if you think that using the same language as Jesus and John the Beloved is "weaken[ing] Fr. Barron's point", you have a very inappropriate view of the importance of Fr. Barron, and in fact you have not understood his point at all.

          • Howard

            OK, let me try one more time.

            The last time I was at Walmart, I went through a line where a cashier rang up my purchases and accepted payment. That is now an unalterable part of history, but it is of practically no importance whatsoever, even to me. Certainly it did not affect me at a fundamental level or turn me into a "new creature".

            You seem to think that being born into a family is just as arbitrary, and that parents are as meaningless to a child's very being and identity as the doctor who delivers them. This, however, is an extreme modernist idea, one that flies in the face of both biology and human culture all around the world. Your genetic makeup comes from your parents, and that affects not only your body, but your personality. In fact it would not be wrong to say that it strongly influences the form of the body, and the soul IS the form of the body, so it affects the soul, too. I do not say that it determines the soul or that it is the only influence, but there is an influence at all levels that you are simply ignoring, undoubtedly because we live in a culture of radical individualism. The final evidence of this influence is Original Sin, which we pass on to our descendants.

            So being part of a family is NOTHING LIKE BEING PART OF A CUB SCOUT DEN. It is fundamental and unalterable, and that is why there is so much talk of family throughout the New Testament -- including why the Virgin Birth was important.

          • Roger

            Much more important? Have you no self pride? This Fr. Baron makes a living upon you ignorance.
            You'd do best to stand up, question the authority of these bullshit artists and Charlatans, unless you like the land of make believe.

  • Octavo

    Do you feel the same way about Protestant baptisms?

    • David Nickol

      Baptism is baptism. Since anyone can baptize anyone, it doesn't matter whether baptism is Catholic or Protestant or Anglican or Eastern Orthodox. Any baptized person from a Christian church is baptized.

      • Octavo

        Fascinating. So, you can be baptized as an infant without one's consent and be mystically grafted into the body of Christ. It reminds me of the Mormon practice of baptizing the dead of other faiths. In that case, autonomy and consent are also not up for consideration.

        • ziad

          A step further to what david said. The Catholic Church also accepts Baptisms of anyone with no Christian faith in very strict circumstances. When, for example, a danger of death (for example, a new born that has deadly health complications) even an atheist doctor could baptize the child using the right formula of Baptism (using water and saying: I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit).

          • 42Oolon

            Seems we mostly agree on this no harm either way. It seems like a bit of a petty form of activism, maybe it is about trying to raise awareness of the number of people who were baptized and now reject Christianity.

          • Howard

            Both sides could agree that it was accurate if they only called it a certificate of apostasy.

        • David Nickol

          In that case, autonomy and consent are also not up for consideration.

          Exactly how much would you like to put off until a child reaches the age of consent? I didn't choose my own name. I didn't choose to be a US citizen. I didn't choose to be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, or polio. I didn't even consent to go to nursery school, kindergarten, elementary school, and high school.

          If Baptism is what Christians claim it is, any sane person would want it, and would want their parents or guardians to make sure they get it as soon as possible after birth. On the other hand, if it is merely a man in a costume pouring water on a baby's head and mumbling some words, I don't see how anyone can complain that it was done without his or her consent.

          • JAK

            That is an excellent post, David.

            Right on point. Clear, concise, accurate and honest.

            Nice!

          • Kevin Aldrich

            I want to add, that while I have the most posts on Strange Notions (at this point), David Nickol has the best!

          • Octavo

            I agree, it's not something I care about. Historically, there have been people, mostly protestants, who objected to being baptized as infants.

            I don't care for the tacky, pricey, debaptismal certificates. I do know that some atheists do feel strongly about being removed from the rolls of their former churches. Such a thing never mattered to me, but I respect the people who feel otherwise.

          • Micha_Elyi

            Historically, there have been people, mostly protestants, who objected to being baptized as infants.
            --Octavo

            That's because "mostly (P)rotestants" believe they can earn their way to salvation. An infant can do nothing to earn salvation, hence the mostlies oppose infant baptism.

          • Octavo

            Ha, when I was a Protestant, I was taught that it was the Catholics who believed they could earn their way to salvation. The faction I was a part of were vociferous in their condemnation of "works salvation."

          • Which is why it's so ironic that Catholics baptize infants but many Protestants require people wait until the age of reason to *choose* baptism--a "work" if there ever was one.

          • Octavo

            That's mostly accurate. They do make kids wait until they feel they can make the choice to be baptized, but the group I belonged to (Assemblies of God) did not teach that baptizing was a requirement of salvation.

            The only requirements of salvation were public confession of faith and internal belief in the resurrection. You could call them works, and the protestants would call them manifestations of faith.

          • MoeKiller

            Atrocious comparison. Your nationality says nothing about your beliefs, politics or person. Religion implies some very subjective opinions, which babies don't have. There is NO SUCH THING AS A CHRISTIAN CHILD!
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CULGslK2vrw

          • David Nickol

            This is a two-year old debate, and I have little interest in reviving it, but I think Dawkins is mostly (though not entirely) wrong to compare being a Christian or Muslim child to being a "Keynesian child" or a "postmodernist child." Being of a certain religion is more than having a specific set of beliefs. It is being accepted into a community of which the parents are only two members. And certainly by age 4 any child raised in a particular religion has, at least in rudimentary form, the fundamental beliefs of that religion.

            Much as I wish it had been possible in my case, I don't see any way to raise children in a "fair and balanced" manner so that they can choose a belief system when they are 12, or 16, or 18, or whatever.

          • I totally agree with you, David. Well said.

          • MoeKiller

            I'll add a few things and that's it.

            1. There is no such thing as a "Christian child." At least, no such thing as a "Christian child" or "Muslim child" until the age of 10. Why label by religion? Because of tradition? Because you were born "into" a Christian family? Absurd. Religions aren't communities. They are a set of beliefs, most of them are garbage and subjective. There are communities of people who subscribe to said garbage beliefs, but these people are mostly old enough to have conscious thought about it. Babies and young children know not of subjective and religious thought. They may be curious about new faces, but virgin births, resurrections and the tenets of Christianity fly through their head. If you don't believe in the Semitic-Abrahamic God, you can't be a Christian, a Jew (debatable) or a Muslim (not debatable) and since babies lack belief in God, they are better described as "atheists" since atheism is not active or even positive, but is just there. Babies don't believe in God or any gods, so they're not theists.

            2. I resent the fact you didn't quote the Christian or Muslim part. Would you call a baby a Jehovah Witness, simply because they were "born" to the community? Well, hope that baby doesn't get injured, taken to the hospital and dies because of their parent's dumbass labeling and negligence. JWs don't do blood transfusions, so if anything should happen to their child, a fatal occurrence could occur. But it's okay, the "Jehovah's Witness" baby is fine with it. NOW do you see the problem with labeling?

            3. The genetic/nationality argument. I'm ethnically Japanese, as I should tell you. My Y-DNA is halpogroup D, a common occurrence within Japanese people. That comes from my dad. I can't help that. My nationality, whilst I can change, it is more of legal document than anything else. I'm a dual Japanese-Canadian citizen. What am I? You could attempt to stereotype me, but my citizenships tell you squat about my personality, political beliefs or way of life. As mentioned before, religion is personal baggage and is highly opinionated. Key word. OPINIONATED. What opinions do kids have about Marxism? None? Then why call Peter a "Catholic"or Sayyid a "Muslim?2 Because their parents are? Give me a break. You can't have it both ways. Either I was a social-democrat at the age of 3, or Peter's not a Catholic. Choose one. It IS the same thing. Both Catholicism and Marxism are opinionated, subjective and often dangerous ideologies not understood by adults, let alone kids below the age of 10. You should teach kids how to think, not WHAT to think. We share DNA with each other as it is. Don't push your silly fairy tales on your children, or you are guilty of abuse. You have no right.

  • lehnne

    charging people to by meaningless paper is a great idea to create a cash flow; governments having been doing it for years

  • David Nickol

    There are two possibilities. Either Baptism is what Fr. Baron says it is and does what he says it does—that is, "effects something in the baptized person so profound that it obtains at the most fundamental level of his being"—or it is an induction ceremony into a group just like any other induction ceremony into a group (Lion's Club, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, urban street gang, etc.). In either case, it's rather pointless to undo it. In the first case, as Fr. Barron argues, it can't be undone. In the second case, once you move on and leave the organization behind, the induction ceremony has no significant meaning or choice. If Baptism is a purely human ceremony—kind of like a benign equivalent of an initiation into a fraternity—when you walk away from your church (or fraternity), you have effectively undone whatever the original induction did.

    I very much doubt that there is any way to discern a difference between a baptized person and an unbaptized person (or an ordained man and an unordained man). So what Fr. Barron is saying is purely a matter of faith or religious belief. So it is rather unclear to me why people who have lost their faith would both trying to undo their baptism, since presumably they don't believe it actually did anything in the first place. I do understand, if one no longer considers oneself a Christian, the desire not to be counted by one's former church as a member if that church benefits in some way from claiming members that are no longer affiliated with it.

  • Timothy Black

    But why bother with de-baptizing if you don't believe what it is? That's what I find odd. If it's all just nonsense, you just had some water poured on you. What are you trying to undo, if the thing you are undoing is meaningless?

    • Micha_Elyi

      Yeah, why do the unbelievers bother?

      The Gospels demonstrate that even demons know who Jesus is. And now the "de-baptism" headlines demonstrate that even unbelievers know who He is too.

  • Sean van Staden

    I agree that a list of practicing Christians would be a more just representation of the Christian demographic (for statistics purposes). The biological family comparison makes most sense - nothing you can do can make your biological parents no longer be your biological parents. Their DNA made you and that's that. Baptism makes you part of Christ's body and that's that. So by all means make a new list but don't remove anyone from the Baptism register (which wouldn't make any sense).

  • As far as I can tell, baptism involves getting wet. There's no reason to worry about some undetectable yet indelible character that God put on me if I'm not so sure God even exists.

    There's only one reason I can see for getting removed from Baptismal registries. It means you get counted as a member of a religion you are no longer part of.

    Even this doesn't bother me much. The overcounting errors will be corrected within the space of a generation or two (I don't imagine that my kids will baptize their kids, but if they do, it won't be overcounting).

  • Vickie

    I googled debaptize and the first site on the list is debaptized.com. and the title on the tab when I click on it is Debaptized/Take your Soul back. The first incongruity is that I didn't think that atheist believed in souls, so why take back what does not exist?

    As has been said in other posts today...if baptism is what atheist say, nothing but pouring water and mumbling words, why worry about undoing something that is meaningless. If it is what the Church says that baptism is permanent then it can't be undone. So what is the point?

    The point is to get our attention, to call attention to the viewpoint of these particular people and their message.

    According to debaptized.com they perform 4 services

    Self debaptisms

    Debaptism by proxy

    Apostasy counceling

    Debaptism products

    Debaptize by proxy? Aren't they protesting their own "forced" baptism yet they can debaptize by proxy someone who may or may not know they are being debaptized?

    There are also articles and in one of the articles it says "Our mission is to spread apostasy to as many people as we can."..."Our other focus is on Debaptism. We feel strongly that we provide people who are fully committed to leaving their old failed ideas behind them to mark the occasion with a positive, life affirming ceremony to mark their journey into that bright new beginning."
    From what I have been reading part of the ceremony of debaptism often includes using a blow dryer to dry up the waters of baptism.
    So according to this site Debaptism could be viewed as a campaign to promote a message and a mission. We could spend the day debating the validity of baptism or we could share our thoughts about this. What do we think? Atheists, what do you think about this? Is it an accurate portrayal of your viewpoint? Catholics what does this mean to you as well?

    • Octavo

      Heh, some atheists do believe in spirits. I still use the terminology of "soul", but I use it to refer to the mortal lump of flesh between my ears.

      I dislike the little rituals that some of the atheist subcultures have produced. If I needed therapy for my apostasy, I'd go to a licensed therapist, not some atheist org.

      • Howard

        There seem to be very few atheists these days who are not materialists. That always struck me as odd; I would expect all possibilities to be represented.

    • Mikegalanx

      From Michael Newsham (sorry, don't know how to change my Disqus username)

      Uh, it's a joke- the hair dryer should have been a giveaway- as is this:

      "By submitting this form, you request that we perform the Debaptizing Ceremony for you by our Trained and Ordained Debaptizors. This sacred and mysterious ceremony is an irrevocable rite to remove your submission to a baptism."

      http://debaptized.com/?q=node/2

      More serious was the "Count Me Out" movement in Ireland, by people disgusted by the Catholic Church's manifold coverups of abuses.

      It brought a response from the Vatican- they changed canon law so you may no longer quit.

      The reason for this is so that Church officials can make spurious claims as to the number of church members when demanding that the rest of society's laws and practices conform to their belief. That the Catholic Church changed their own rules in response to this shows how seriously they took it.

      http://debaptized.com/?q=node/2

  • picklefactory

    A valid Christian baptism effects something in the baptized person so profound that it obtains at the most fundamental level of his being.

    Because magic.

    Why be debaptized? Rituals have meaning even to atheists even without a concept of numinousness. If an atheist feels that he or she has been harmed by membership in a Christian church (and that membership being made official via the ritual of baptism), what's wrong with another ritual to say so publicly, even if there's no magic involved?

    • MattyTheD

      "Because magic." Which definition of "magic" do you mean? If you mean, as it's commonly understood, "mysterious tricks, such as making things disappear and appear again, performed as entertainment", then, no, you're incorrect. That's not even remotely how it's understood by the Church. I'm perplexed by this assumption among atheist activists that just because *they* don't understand something, it's not worthy of being understood. They remind me of kids who reject Shakespeare because he talks weird.

      • picklefactory

        No, I meant "a ritual associated with mysticism and the supernatural."

        • Picklefactory, thanks for the comments! You're likely aware the word "magic" is used in a different sense, typically, and is usually applied to religious actions only as a pejorative. If you're interested in serious, respectful dialogue I'd caution you against using it. It adds nothing to the conversation.

          • picklefactory

            Should have used it with a k, then. But perhaps I'll back up and try again.

          • Mikegalanx

            "It's like kids who mock Shakespeare by making up a bunch of words that sound old"

            You mean serious respectful dialogue like this?

  • markiemarie

    Father Robert Barron is quoting Pro-Homosexual Activist and Heretic "Fr." Richard Rohr ??????????????!!!!!!!! WHAT??????

    • Marie Van Gompel Alsbergas

      Rohr's opinion about one issue does not make his other opinions instantly invalid. Why would you want to categorize the whole person by one act?

      • picklefactory

        The genetic fallacy: fun and easy for everyone.

  • 42Oolon

    It is also the land that has given us Richard Dawkins, Christoper Hitchens, Eddie Izzard, Stephen Fry, Douglas Adams, the first protestants,

    • Howard

      An interesting list. Everyone on it is from the 20th century except "the first protestants", who weren't English but German by most reckoning. (Maybe you're thinking of Wycliffe? But that's still a bit of a stretch, both because he was not really like later protestants and because protestants see forerunners in even earlier characters.)

      But I'll see your list and raise you David Attenborough, Stephen Hawking, Roger Penrose, John Cleese, and Benny Hill. But you should build a hotel on Douglas Adams.

      • Mikegalanx

        David Hume, Charles Darwin, John Stuart Mill, Bertrand Russell, and George Orwell.

        • Howard

          Well, you're deviating a bit from what I perceive to be the spirit of the list. Since you've gone back to the 19th century and early 20th, here are some Englishmen I'd like to gather in a pub and just listen to the resulting conversation:

          St. Thomas More, Samuel Johnson, William Cobbett, G. K. Chesterton, Winston Churchill.

          There are a few others I am tempted to add, but I want to keep the group small enough that each has a good chance to contribute.

  • Howard

    This is not especially new. Julian the Apostate tried to to this also.

  • Mikegalanx

    My two older sons have not been baptized; my youngest, who was raised by my wife's brother and his wife, a devout Catholic, was baptized when he was an infant. My brother-in-law's wife asked me, as the blood parent, if I was okay with it, and I said sure, as long as I didn't have to have anything to do with it.

    At about the same time a friend of mine, an equally devout Taoist, asked if he could, enroll my sons on the list of those protected and blessed by the Celestial Emperor. I again consented, with the same proviso.-(it involved burning a piece of paper with their names on it while prayers were chanted and gongs...gonged).

    So my youngest is both grafted onto the body of Jesus Christ and eternally wrapped in the robe of the Jade Emperor (according to this particular sect.)

    I hold both beliefs to have equal validity, and to be equally worthy of respect- as much as the belief of some Mormons and Moonies that they can baptize my grandmother into their faith.

  • Jay

    From my understanding, baptism is a sacrament that can be received once and only once. What's scary about this whole thing are those who are suing the church to get themselves de-baptized (get their records of being baptized erased) and winning. It's such a ludicrous and unnecessary intrusion. I believe it's just France where that has won. Fortunately, the church is appealing. Who knows how it will end... Anyone know of any others?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/18/europeans-de-baptize-church_n_1214256.html

  • NYPinoy

    Yakkity yakkity yak. There is a way to get out of this "graft" with Jesus. The Bible provides for an unpardonable sin. Blaspheme the Holy Spirit and you could never be forgiven. (So, Holy Spirit, I reject and blaspheme thee. Amen.)

    That's it. Now, if only the Church remove me from their count so they could not misrepresent their true size.

  • Hardworker50

    You are baptised - it is done.
    You are initiated - it is done.
    You are married - it is done.
    You can be divorced from marriage - it is done.
    You can quit your club of initiation - it is done.
    You can reject your baptism - it is done.
    The above author is making the erroneous presumption that there is an actual god who is giving him the rules written in stone.
    He must then provide this proof in a court of law of the people; he must give undeniable evidence, irrefutable proof of his claims; otherwise as in business it is fraud and his claims are not just unethical but also illegal.

  • dagobarbz

    Any ritual can be undone. You put magic water on a baby and expect that it's magically changed forever? The kid doesn't even know what's going on! (well, except those dunking Baptists who wait until you're older)

    Of course, since it's discussing magical water and spells, it's witchcraft and I want no part of it. I unbaptized myself and never felt better. Out of the sheep pen and into the wild, you might say.

  • MoeKiller

    Don't compare religion to ethnicity or nationality. The latter imply cultural and legal implications. You're not saying that babies can believe in Jesus Christ, now do you? Babies aren't old enough to decide whether or not they believe in Christianity, so why isn't de-baptism an option? But okay fine. What about Hitler? What do you say about that? Don't try any revisionist history. Hitler WAS baptized.