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Featured Infant baptism in Christianity

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Eddi, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. Eddi

    Eddi not liking it doesn't make it untrue

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    As a non-Christian (I cannot meaningfully accept Christ as my lord as I am agnostic about his existence) who was subjected to the rite of infant baptism I’ve always been interested in the rights and wrongs of the practice and in the differing perspectives there are on the issue.

    Whilst trying to better understand the practice as well as why I was baptised and what my baptism means to me my thoughts on the matter lead me to this:

    Subjecting children to the rite of infant baptism is about setting children off onto the first step towards them becoming Christians rather than a practice that instantly makes them Christians.

    What do people think of this? How do others view their own (infant) baptism?

    That is how i understand my own baptism - as the unknowing first step on a journey I which would later abandon but become interested in at a much later stage in my life. I don’t see it as something that did anything to actually change who or what I am.
     
  2. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    In the above video at around minute:second 10:54 the bishop says they don't believe in knowledge and belief tests for baptism -- or something like that. I don't remember exactly what he says. I bet, though, that adult converts have to jump through some hoops. He doesn't comment on that though.

    Its different for me, baptized at the age of 7 in one of the new modern charismatic churches. I had to take a class first, and I had to say that I understood that the old man was buried and a new man emerged from the tank. In hindsight I don't think this little bit of verbiage makes much difference. If you ask me, now, I'd say that I don't have a problem with infant baptism. You could be baptized daily, but it wouldn't be enough to make up for other things. Its just water isn't it? It doesn't cure cancer.
     
  3. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Within Catholicism, the view is that infant baptism does two things, one is the forgiveness of "original sin", and the second is an admittance into Christianity.

    There's a follow-up sacrament within the Church called "Confirmation", and this is where the candidate renews his/her baptism and dedicates themselves to God, Jesus, and the Church. However, none of this is binding as a person may leave at any time, such as what I did for quite a few years after being baptized and confirmed in a Protestant church when younger.
     
  4. robocop (actually)

    robocop (actually) Well-Known Member
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    We had a conversation here:

    infant baptism


    Here is my Church's official stance:

    Little Children and Baptism

    From latter-day revelation, we know that little children are redeemed through the mercy of Jesus Christ. The Lord said, "They cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me" (see D&C 29:46–47). They are not to be baptized until they reach the age of accountability, which the Lord has revealed to be eight years of age (see D&C 68:27; Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 17:11). Anyone who claims that little children need baptism "denieth the mercies of Christ, and setteth at naught the atonement of him and the power of his redemption" (Moroni 8:20; see also verses 8–19, 21–24).

    I think that little Children are good but not trained. I think someone else shouldn't decide another person's salvation.

    This is a hot potato; be forewarned posting about it that wars have been fought over this.

    I got baptised at 8 and rebaptized at 39 so this is a to-the-heart topic for me.
     
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  5. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    In Acts, there's a reference to an entire family being baptized, although we don't know their ages. The point is back then the view was that if Pop's converted in, wife and kids were part of that package deal.
     
  6. Woberts

    Woberts The Perfumed Seneschal

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    I prefer not to drown babies, thanks.
     
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  7. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    The ^ above ^ would have been ' adult children ' because before baptism a person makes a dedication to his God.
    A baby can Not do that. The baptismal person makes that choice for his or herself.
     
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  8. Jumi

    Jumi Well-Known Member

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    I always wondered how you could "have believed" when you were still not a year old, even before I understood baptism as just symbolism for "gnosis"
     
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  9. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Well, as a member of a Christian denomination that does not practice infant baptism, I'm opposed to it primarily because (a) I don't believe in original sin and therefore see no need for a sinless infant to be baptized and (b) I believe baptism should be preceded by faith in Jesus Christ and repentance of one's sins, as can only be the case if the person is old enough to believe in Christ, be able to distinguish between right and wrong, and repent of his sins.
     
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  10. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    You are looking at this through today's western eyes, not ancient Jewish/Christian eyes of nearly 2000 years ago. Families back then were highly patriarchal.

    Generally speaking, adult baptism was certainly the norm, but we also know of some under that age of consent being baptized in the 2nd century, although it wasn't until the plagues when infant baptism became more commonplace. .
     
  11. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Just for the record, neither do I.

    OTOH, some Catholic theologians take a position that o.s. may be viewed in another way, namely that we will sin at some points in time as it being a byproduct of our free will and the bad examples that some others set for us and there being social pressure to conform to them.

    Either way, I don't lose any sleep over this, especially because what one may do with their life over the years is of more importance, imo, thus no ritual will likely save anyone.
     
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  12. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    Same here. I was baptized as an infant, made my First Holy Communion at age 7, my Confirmation at age 12. At age 23 I was chrismated into the Eastern Orthodox Church. As far as both of those churches are probably concerned I'm still a member of each, neither one the wiser that I walked away almost 30 years ago.
     
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  13. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    I'm not a massive fan of it, but ultimately it's non-invasive, so whatever.
    As an adult I've been asked to be a godparent more than once, declined due to the nature of the vows to be sworn to, then been surprised at how cavalier others are with making all sorts of promises 'before God' they have no intention of keeping, including the parents.

    It's strange.
     
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  14. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    Err...if that happens, someone is doing it wrong. My kids got far wetter in swimming lessons.
     
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  15. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    At age 23 I wrote a letter to the church at which I was baptized as an infant asking that my name be withdrawn and why from their records.
    Years later at a family funeral the family got very upset because apparently Not only had they removed my name but they took it upon themselves to remove every family member's name as if none of us ever never even existed.
    They No longer even had the recorded cemetery records, but because I had the original deed they had to honor it.
    And to think my late grandparents Not only were generous givers, they even supplied the convent with groceries each week.
     
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  16. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    :eek:
     
  17. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    I used to be married to a Catholic. We never had kids, but we tried for a while, so we had some discussions about them and I read about and reflected on Catholic baptism. I eventually came to the decision that my conscience would not allow me to have any part in the baptism of any child of mine.

    The rationale for infant baptism in the Catechism is something close in effect to "we can't be sure that unbaptized infants go to Hell if they die, so better get it done to be on the safe side."

    Another way of putting it: "when you're born, your child is such a reprehensible little ball of evil that it's possible - not certain, but possible - that a perfectly wise, perfectly good God might decide to torture him forever because of how evil he is, so we'd better splash water on him in a special way to erase that evil."

    The splashing water part is just silly, IMO, but there was no way I'd stand up in front of my friends and family and nod in agreement with the idea that my innocent newborn baby is evil at all.
     
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  18. syo

    syo Well-Known Member

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    the parents feeling good.
     
  19. Katja

    Katja Member

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    I've never been into it, myself. It's just water unless it has meaning for you; I would feel if I'd been baptized as an infant that I was cheated out of choosing it for myself and having the experience. I chose it for myself as a teenager (as a baby I was "dedicated to God," probably something along the lines of "we plan to raise this child as a Christian" etc.). Funnily enough I was also confirmed not long after, because at the time we were attending a denomination that tends to do infant baptism. I asked why I had to be confirmed since I'd only been baptized a year earlier at the most, but apparently that's also just the way the church accepts young people as full adult members (though we'd only joined this church not that long before my baptism, so you'd think between the two I'd still have my bases covered and wouldn't need confirmation. But I guess it was also probably supposed to be a "fitting in/being social with the other kids" type of thing, not that I would've felt weird if I'd not done it or worried that other people might've wondered about it).

    Infant baptism only has meaning for the parents, not the child. It would be like two infants getting married because the parents think it's cute... wouldn't mean a thing to the babies involved, and probably would have little meaning to them growing up since it wasn't a choice they made for themselves or an experience they were aware of. Sure, there's confirmation (often still done at an age when a child isn't autonomous enough to truly choose for themselves whether to do it), but I don't know that it has the same ring... Someone once explained it to me as "it's just that the parents are making a vow to raise the child as a Christian." That sounds like it should be a separate ritual involving the parents more than the child-- perhaps similar to the "dedication" my parents did. But I feel baptism should be personal to the person doing it.
     
  20. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Which is why some churches, like the Catholic and Lutheran churches, use both infant [and adult] "baptism" followed years later with "confirmation", the latter of which is a confirmation of one baptism.

    BTW, most religions have ceremonies of one type or another with infants.
     
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