Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Avoiding Eternal Damnation Has Its Costs

It's soon time for the Weasel Meme to be baptized.

Baptism cannot be done in just ordinary baby clothes (the kind that are worn 6-12 times before they're outgrown), but in a special expensive gown that they wear once.

Here's the one (I think) we're ordering. It's pretty.

Baptism is largely thought of in Christian circles (depending on denomination) as the means by which people gain entry into a church body and how new infants are "saved" from their inherent "fallen" state. The logic behind the second part is built on the concept of (the strong form of) "original sin", possibly the most offensive concept that I have ever encountered. It manages to bundle aspects of self-hatred, collective/hereditary guilt, creationism (in its anti-science form), and devaluation of life, knowledge, and personal responsibility into just two words. Some may argue that the concept provides a tempering effect on human hubris, a warning or a trick to encourage prudent behavior. I don't buy it. Other metaphysical arguments regarding admission to paradise are both unprovable and irrefutable (i.e. uninteresting).

My own thoughts is that baptism a nice way to stand up before your community and affirm your membership and support, and remind them that, at times, their support for your little one will be necessary. Overloading a community building ritual with broader dogmatic and theological issues (as I just did) tends to ruin things for the participants. Also, shelling out the cash for traditional vestments is a little off-putting but I'll probably forget about it as soon as I see how cute (I'm confident) she'll look in the thing.


ish said...

This is a lovely and mature way to look at it. I anticipate facing many of the same issues, and equally have no real use for mythology, but find real value in ritual and community. I just wish we could find ways to accept the second without having to resort to the first. But then, the universe doesn't obey my commands yet.

Hey, are you gonna have lunch with me tomorrow? And do you ignore all those emails I send, or just the one where I already asked this?

The Really Sarcastic Weasel said...

"Hey, are you gonna have lunch with me tomorrow?"


"And do you ignore all those emails I send, or just the one where I already asked this?"

Just parts of the last one that were in small font (the parts about lunch and getting started with Google Reader).

The Really Sarcastic Weasel said...

Also, I'm not dreading the baptism at all. I don't believe all the things that some other people believe about it, so they don't actually matter (they do make good blog filler).

To me it's a nice day with family, where I'll get to see a beloved (presently retired) pastor (who will perform the ceremony), and there's a dress and water involved... in case there's some confusion.