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Default Infant baptism

January 25th, 2015, 07:08
I just finished reading a book by evangelical Swiss author Alfred Kuen which was lent to me by a baptist. In the book Kuen explains the evangelical position in favor of adult baptism and analyses the history and signification of the practice through the ages.

I am a Catholic but I found the book extremely well documented and compelling. The author cites all the greatest theologians of the ages who had various opinions on the matter which shaped how the Catholic church, and ultimately the reformed churches would deal with the practice.

He posits that infant baptism was rooted in Roman and pagan influences, and ultimately became the norm for political reasons, in order to convert as many pagans as quickly as possible to Christianity and pretty much make sure that everyone became a Christian.

Indeed, even reformers like Luther and Calvin were initially supportive of adult baptism, but ultimately completely changed their minds for these very reasons. Luther was quoted as saying that if adult baptism became the norm, he wasn't even sure that 10% of his constituents would go along with it.

Where I am really not sure that I agree with the author is when he tries to demonstrate that it is absolutely essential to already have a developped faith in order to be ready to be baptized, for it to be considered legitimate according to the Scriptures. Of course all the examples taken from them concern adult converts since the church didn't exist yet.

The position of baptists on this matter is a bit contradictory in my view: they view baptism as nothing but a symbol and something absolutely not necessary in order to be saved, but yet they are extremely insistent for this symbol to be practiced in strict conformity with the baptisms of the apostles of the New Testament and to the letter. The author compares this to a "military salute" or a "contract sign" but in these cases I found his arguments mostly fell flat.

My two children have been baptized as infants, as was my wife and myself.

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January 25th, 2015, 08:55
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I am not sure if water baptism is even necessary except that they practiced it in the new testament. But I know the decision to become a christian is not something a child can do.
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January 26th, 2015, 02:34
So, do you even play RPGs? Or just create these threads?

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January 26th, 2015, 08:01
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January 26th, 2015, 11:50
When I read this:

"he wasn't even sure that 10% of his constituents would go along with it."

What I am hearing is that without a childhood filled with indoctrination, 90% of people wouldn't buy into the stories that organized Christian religion is pushing.

Which would seem correct … but interestingly stuff I have read shows that while lower educated are more likely to 'blindly follow', the overall trends are not so clear. So i really don't know what any of it means.

Or maybe it is all clouded by the predominance of infant baptism in our society?

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January 26th, 2015, 19:00
I believe a lot of modern sects have confirmation (essentially bible studies followed by a ceremony somewhere in your teens) filling the same practical purpose as adult baptism does for the baptists.

From my (baptised and confirmed Lutheran, but nowadays atheist) point of view the baptist position seem more honest, but the practical difference is not really that large IMHO.

Of course that doesnt prevent this from being a serious issue for some denominations. Religious history is full of conflicts over doctrinal issues that might seem rather small to outside observers.
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January 26th, 2015, 19:58
In the book it said that confirmation was not reliable nor an adequate replacement because it's a set event and the child does not really go along with it willfully because of the social pressure. That really didn't convince me, do you really think many Baptists don't go through a baptism ceremony out of peer and family pressure, or just for the celebrations as well?

Plus you go through confirmation once you reach the "age of reason" and at that age a child is old enough to understand who is Jesus Christ, how he was saved and what the faith entails. I knew I was very excited and eager about it.

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January 26th, 2015, 20:22
Er. Confirmation is still done at an early age though. Like 12 was when i did it. It is still too early.
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January 26th, 2015, 20:40
Originally Posted by Humanity has risen! View Post
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That would make an excellent bumper sticker.

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January 26th, 2015, 21:53
Originally Posted by Damian View Post
Er. Confirmation is still done at an early age though. Like 12 was when i did it. It is still too early.
In the Bible people were baptized as soon as they acquired the faith, so not it is not. I understood all this when I just was in school, children certainly can understand.

And they don't view things through a lens of cynicism like we do.

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January 26th, 2015, 22:09
Confirmation and baptism is about commitment though, it is too early for that part of it.
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January 27th, 2015, 02:19
Baptism is supposed to be an identification with the death and resurrection of Jesus. IMO that should involve a personal choice by the person being baptised for it to have that meaning. Therefore, infant baptism doesn't make sense in that context. There is no clear scriptural reference for the practice.
However, in those churches which promote the practice, baptism is alleged to mean the child is brought into the church and will therefore go 'to heaven'. It's sort of like taking out insurance. I can understand why parents would want that assurance, especially if we look historically at the high infant mortality rate. The counter to this is twofold. First until a child reaches the 'age of accountability' they would be protected by God's mercy anyway and go to heaven, and secondly, once they reach the 'age of accountability' then they can make the choice to be baptised, or not.
The problem for some people is: 'when is the age of accountability'? That is different for each person. Here endeth today's lesson!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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January 27th, 2015, 03:17
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
The problem for some people is: 'when is the age of accountability'? That is different for each person.
Or as some might say … "that is between the person and their creator"

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January 27th, 2015, 05:42
The Bible says that people are born sinners and tainted by original sin. The book posits that it is St. Augustine who started the trend in the Catholic church of younger and younger baptisms, which would lead to widespread infant baptism centuries later, in order to save children from the original sin as early as possible. More than a thousand years later Jean Calvin used St. Augustine's thesis of original sin in his works, this is where it comes from.

Furthermore I'm really not sure the order of "getting the faith, then having the baptism" is really clearly stated in the New Testament as being crucial. If every depiction of such a baptism in the New Testament is there couldn't it be just because there were no Christians at this point?

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January 27th, 2015, 07:12
I know what the Bible says, but what it says and what the RC church says are NOT always the same!! The actual term 'Christians' came later than what's found in the Bible, but surely by any reasonable definition, those early believers and the disciples themselves were in fact what we would consider Christians.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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January 28th, 2015, 20:30
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
However, in those churches which promote the practice, baptism is alleged to mean the child is brought into the church and will therefore go 'to heaven'. It's sort of like taking out insurance. I can understand why parents would want that assurance, especially if we look historically at the high infant mortality rate. The counter to this is twofold. First until a child reaches the 'age of accountability' they would be protected by God's mercy anyway and go to heaven, and secondly, once they reach the 'age of accountability' then they can make the choice to be baptised, or not.
The problem for some people is: 'when is the age of accountability'? That is different for each person. Here endeth today's lesson!!
That is a dangerous lesson.When you read the bible (and not only quotes!!), it depicts a religion that is not one of initiation but one of dedication.
There are all the reasons in the world to try to get a child recognized by the god from the book as this god, among other things, is talented in killing new borns and he is unwilling to distinguish the parents from their children, the parents' faults are the children's faults and parents got punished through the death of their children.
There is no time to waste for a children to be introduced to the god from the books: parents who fail to live up to the task might be punished when their child dies.

It is going to be hard to find one occurrence of the god from the book sparing the life of a newborn while it is so easy to find occurrences of that god killing babies.
That should tell what the correct path is.

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January 28th, 2015, 23:00
Corwin has a good point. Historically infant baptism was seen as an insurance of sorts. There are lots of old folk tales of people struggling to get past various evil forest spirits/trolls/whatever just to get their baby to church for that baptism.

Originally Posted by Humanity has risen! View Post
In the book it said that confirmation was not reliable nor an adequate replacement because it's a set event and the child does not really go along with it willfully because of the social pressure. That really didn't convince me, do you really think many Baptists don't go through a baptism ceremony out of peer and family pressure, or just for the celebrations as well?

Plus you go through confirmation once you reach the "age of reason" and at that age a child is old enough to understand who is Jesus Christ, how he was saved and what the faith entails. I knew I was very excited and eager about it.
There is social pressure in pretty much any situation where you supposedly exercise free will (like voting in an election), so I'd say the two situations are pretty comparable. Confirmation might be a bit worse because it comes at a slightly earlier age. I was 15, and I wouldnt really say I had reached an "age of reason" by then.

Both situations however leave a lot more room to exercise free will than infant baptism… So when I ignore my inner Aspie I mainly see a difference in semantics when it comes to this issue.
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Yesterday, 00:28
Chien, you not only miss the point, but display an ignorance of the Bible. There is no need to 'introduce' your child to God, He knows each and everyone of us before we are born!! Read Psalm 139, especially verses 13-16.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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Yesterday, 00:44
This whole thread, this has been the image stuck in my head:

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Yesterday, 08:27
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Chien, you not only miss the point, but display an ignorance of the Bible.
This was shown to be wrong in the past. This is going to be shown wrong again.
There is no need to 'introduce' your child to God, He knows each and everyone of us before we are born!! Read Psalm 139, especially verses 13-16.
[/quote]
Of course it does. It is an all knowning god. It knows all the births that were, are and to come.

That being said, it is a god that demands to be worshipped. And one god, contrary to many other gods, that has been killing non worshippers by himself. How many other gods killed people for non believing in them? They killed people for disrespecting them, but on the simple ground they did not believe in the right god, those are rare occurrences.

The god from the books does not care for what he already has: what he already has is the knowledge of every single birth that were, are and to come.
What it demands is that people pay homage to it.
It knowing all beforehand worsens the situation: there is no way to escape. You are known, you are tracked, you are monitored. Do not introduce a child and this child is endangered.

The god from the books have killed by himself a lot of new born babies that did know of it.

Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Baptism is supposed to be an identification with the death and resurrection of Jesus.
The death and ressurection of Jesus is the good news that Christians must spread around as a duty.
However, in those churches which promote the practice, baptism is alleged to mean the child is brought into the church and will therefore go 'to heaven'. It's sort of like taking out insurance.
There is no such insurance. Bapticized babies do not go to heavens. This story was a compromise Christians were forced to yield in order to force their beliefs on people whose cultural background drove them to be shocked by the pitilessness shown by the god from the books.
When you read the bible (and not only quotes!!), children who are not introduced to the god from the books are treated the same way as adults that keep ignoring the god from the books. They are damned as well.

Bapticism is one way to pay homage to the god from the books.
It is one way not to go to Heavens (the going to heavens is the story sold to people who could not accept that babies were damned as well), it is one way to try to evade damnation.
Dead babies do not go automatically to heavens (salvation is in the hands of the god from the books), they are not automatically damned.
I can understand why parents would want that assurance, especially if we look historically at the high infant mortality rate.
They did not want that assurance. They could not figure out the pitilessness of the god from the books.
they would be protected by God's mercy anyway and go to heaven,
Mercy? Protection?
When reading the bible, it appears that merciful god killed newborns, or even babies in the womb, probably some in the latest stage.
It is the same god that killed children to punish a father.
That is protection when you kill people? That is mercy when you kill children because of what one guy did? What is cruelty then?
Babies do not go to heavens when they die. It is not automatically done. Only the god from the bible knows. Some might go, others dont. When it is automatically done, being damned when you do not show that you know the god from the books.

Once again, the knowledge is being shown and no answer will come.

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