Why I Won’t Baptize Anyone

As I have begun to start preparing myself to offer ministerial services to people, I keep coming back to how I might handle baptisms.  Weddings or Handfastings or Funerals and the like I don’t seem so petrified of.  Baptisms on the other hand seem a great deal more important to me and leave me feeling less willing to mess up such an event. (Not that I have any desire to mess up any ritual!)  After careful consideration I have figured out why: I don’t believe they are necessary. Not in the traditional sense.  Let me explain. To do that I need to share what I know of the concept of ‘baptism.’  Baptism, to me is the man made ceremony that bonds a child or an adult, depending on the tradition, to a particular religion.  Some traditions will say that its welcoming the child into the family of Christ. Some traditions will say it’s how a person fully becomes a member of their church. 

Some may say that if an innocent little baby isn’t baptized then it is in danger of winding up in purgatory if it should happen to pass away before its christening.  I find that last thought to be particularly appalling.  What so called “God” would punish a baby in such a way?  So if we look on baptism as a means by which we protect a baby from possible eternal damnation should it be unfortunate enough to die before such a ritual can be forced upon it, then no I will not baptize a child.  I do not believe in Hell nor do I intend to participate in a fear based ritual.

Now, having said all that.  I do believe that for many people the archaic fear based belief that a person or child will burn forever in the pits of hell if they are not baptized is not really what a lot of people think anymore.  (yes I know plenty do, but let’s forget about them for the moment)  I DO however wholeheartedly believe that many baptisms and christenings occur in the spirit of celebrating the mere existence of a person. For many people the ritual of baptism, particularly on babies, is quite a bit colored by the desire to formally introduce the new little miracle to family and friends. 

It is in that vein that I WILL create rituals to celebrate the birth of a child.  I WILL absolutely call in the divine powers that be to bear witness upon a group of human beings celebrating a new member to the human race.  I will gladly offer blessings for a healthy, happy life to unfold on a child’s journey.  There is no need to protect anyone from eternal damnation as it simply does not exist. There is no need for a ritual that will bring the Sacred to the child as a child is the purist expression of the Sacred. 

So then, celebrating existence?  Celebrating the newest expression of the divine in the being of a child?  That, that is what I will do. 

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