[ExI] atheists de-baptize unbelievers

Ben Zaiboc bbenzai at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 18 15:13:05 UTC 2010

> Will Steinberg wrote:
> Pretentious atheism ruins atheism.  A smart, sensible
> atheist ignores
> baptism, because it has zero meaning outside of its
> believers.  
> Wouldn't it be more
> productive to
> just...ignore the whole thing?
> Every
> "A for Atheist" shirt only pounds home the idea of Faith,
> Symbol, Faith!

John Grigg <possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I used
> to think hardcore Evangelical Christian fundamentalists
> took the cake
> on this stuff, but I now give the nod to their obnoxious
> opposition.

> On 7/18/10, Giulio Prisco <giulio at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Agree with Will.

You all seem to be concentrating on the effect this ritual has on religious people, but one of the reasons many atheists are drawn to it is because of the psychological effect it has on *them*.  

Yes, it's silly and objectively meaningless, and yes, they could just say to themselves "ok, I'm going to just ignore the fact that I was baptised".  Many of them, however, feel that it marks a formal shaking off of the shackles of belief, and feel a lot better for it. I don't think we should belittle them for that.

Think of it this way: One of the things that religion offers that's usually missing from atheism is the sense of community and shared activities.  I've often heard people say they like the social aspect of religion even if they don't really believe any of the superstious silliness.  If the existence of some funny rituals (that they take far less seriously than religious people usually take theirs) helps people to feel they belong to a community, and maybe be more comfortable with saying "I'm an atheist", then I'm all for them.  If you just don't like the idea of having your baptism being blow-dried away, make your own little ritual up, if you like (and post it on YouTube!).  After all, the most ancient and revered rituals of any religion were just made up at some point, as well.

Personally, I think the idea of de-baptism is great.  It can give you a feeling of washing away the bullshit, solidarity with other non-believers, and it sends a message that "Look, there are actually a lot of these pesky atheists, they're just normal folk, don't eat babies (most of them, anyway) and they have a sense of humour.  And they're finally willing to stand up and be counted".

Ben Zaiboc


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