Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Lying For Heaven

My son is going to be two years old soon, and we still haven't gotten him baptized. It's a moral conundrum for me, because I don't believe that for going to heaven, if such a place exists, baptism is going to be the deciding factor. But that's my belief and the church has scared me into action as an insurance policy.

We got Jackson, my oldest son, baptized when he was around the same age, and of course he was one of the oldest kids there. First we had to go to an orientation where they explain to you that the god parents must be active in guiding the child in his faith in the church and Jesus Christ. It was like getting married, saying vows, promising something so the church will grant your child passage to heaven. This really upset me, because according to the Catholic faith, there is no other way to get into heaven unless you are baptized and forgiven of original sin, committed in a far away garden by presumably the first two people--or if you combine evolution with the theory of Intelligent *cough* Design, two monkeys--on the planet. So they dangle the carrot of eternal salvation but make you beg pretty please to get it. That would be like, say a company like Pfizer developing a cure for cancer, but only giving you access to the new drug on the condition that you only use Viagra, swearing off any false fertility drugs such as Levitra and Cialis, and that you accept CEO Hank McKinnell as your personal savior. The church espouses good will to all men, but what they really mean, is good will to all men and women who will bow to their way of thinking.


jenbeauty said...

I seem to be facing the church issues more frequently. My daughter started up CCD again this past Sunday. I continue on with her religous education through the Catholic faith but still encourage her to be open about other faiths.

Basically I am continuing with the Catholic religion at the moment more for my family's sake. My thoughts and emotions regarding my belief in a higher being are becoming more and more mixed the older I get. Wisdom (not that I have much) comes with a price.

Sadie Lou said...

At our church--non denominational--we "dedicate" our children.
This means that we say before the church that we, as parents, will raise our children up in the Lord and that we ask the church to keep us accountable to this promise and to bear witness to it.
At this time we also ask people who are going to be their God parents, to make this same promise.
It puts all the responsibility on the parents and adults until the child is ready to be baptized of their own free will.

Scott said...

Jen - I know exactly how you feel on this one. I'm so far removed from the church at this point that I don't want to even go there with my children.

Sadie - Well, according to Catholicism, your children are in danger of damnation if something happens to them in the mean time. Isn't that a little dire? I like the way your church approaches the subject; it gives the children a choice in the matter.

mr. schprock said...

Alright! I qualify for the new cancer drug!

Oops, I mean…

My oldest daughter's godfather is Jewish. It was kind of a "they didn't ask us, so we didn't tell them" situation. We slipped it by ’em that time, didn't we?

I personally think you should be hazed to get into heaven, like joining a fraternity. A forced chugging of three bottles of communion wine comes to mind. Or having to recite the Lord's Prayer backwards while suspended by your ankles outside a third floor window.

Scott said...

Mr. Schprock - Now that is funny, having to go through a fraternity like initiation to get into heaven.

But see, the whole having to lie thing, that's what upsets me. Of course, we are ALL lying when we baptise our children, and they KNOW it. So change the rules already, and stop making us feel guilty because we are starting to think with our heads and disregarding the fear that has gulled us into the pews for centuries.

Ben O. said...

Isn't it strange how we all have a God-shaped hole in our lives, but we sometimes find the most bizarre things to try and fill it?

It reminds me of the kid with the blocks - trying to hammer a square peg into the round hole.

Keep praying - it certainly can't hurt.

Nice site - I love it when a blog actually makes me think.

Ben O.

A. Darcy said...

We finaly baptised my daughter(we are cathoic-ish) when she was about a year and a half old. Same issues you had, and add to that family pressure, lotts of old and religous grandparents. After the ceremony, where I and her new god mother were still suffering from last nights hangovers, Gramma came up to me and said... "I knew you two would find god!" ...sigh.

Sadie Lou said...

Yeah, I know a little bit about Catholic tradition. My in-laws go to mass and my grandfather that pssed away last year was a Deacon in the church for a long time.
I can't imagine how little children would be in danger of damnation if they were not baptized. It isn't the baptism that saves you--it's Jesus Christ and his death and ressurection.
I never understood why Catholics put so much stock into the baptism if the child doesn't even fully understand that they are sinners in need of a savior.
I have faith in a God that loves little children, He says so in His word.
Do you honestly think that in the Old Testiment, when God talks about Pentacost and all those first born males of the Egyptians who's lives He took because of Pharoah's rebellion, that He sent all those innocent children to Hell?
I don't think so, although I could be wrong.
What do you say?

Scott said...

Ben - Glad you liked the blog. Come back any time. I agree that it doesn't hurt to pray, and I often do.

AD - Yeah, I know what you mean about the family. My aunt is desperate to have me find Jesus, and she believes I'm damned if I don't. It's not that I don't believe that the man existed, but I wonder if he is really the son of God. I feel that God would forgive me for doubting, and I intend no disrespect. God is perfect, so I know he understands.

Sadie - No, I don't believe that a God that loves all his children equally could so haphazardly wipe could commit such a genocide. Same with flooding the whole world, or destroying cities. In fact, I think he is mostly hands off, if in fact he is a he or a she. Maybe he created the universe which is like a huge operating system and we are a sub-creation of his larger creation, and maybe he doesn't even know we are here. I don't know. But according to most religions, he loves us more than we could ever love our own children, and not in a zillion years could I intentionally bring harm to my own children to establish some law and order. If God loves me like I love my children, then we will be tossing the pig skin around when I get up there to stay.

Tee said...

I know it's such a struggle. You saw my blog a week or two ago when my son decided he wanted to be baptised... He is already baptized according to the Catholic church (My MIL insisted on it when we were in El Salvador and it meant nothing to me so I didn't see what a little water sprinkling could hurt.)... See, as a protestant we believe that the person has to make the choice themselves when they're old enough... So anyway, I empathize with the feelings you have. You want your child to be "safe", just in case. I've been where you're at, basically not believing at all... but amazingly by working out my thoughts through blogging and things like that, I feel I'm really learning some things. I might not always be the best Christian - and I don't want to be if that means being fake. I just have my little faith in God and go from there.

Scott said...

Yeah Tee, I'd like to go to the church of being decent to one another, with no pressure to believe one way or the other. I love the comraderie, but I hate the threat of eternal damnation.

Trevor Record said...

I actually sort of find the idea of getting your children get baptized a bit offensive. What if they don't want to be christians when they grow up? I guess it's not going to hurt them, but from an idealogical standpoint it sort of seems like peer-pressure. Well, parental-pressure I guess.

magnetbabe said...

I tend to agree with you (big surprise...). It almost seems like churches are selling a product rather than offering a support system in the community. I can't tell you how many friends' weddings I've been to lately where they are married in a church and vow to do all these things for the church when I know they don't attend services. It seems hypocritical to me, and baptism is an extension of that. Churches naturally want you to commit to them because they need to survive in the wake of competition as well. It gets even trickier trying to give your children a good attitude about an institution that can sometimes frown upon independent thinking. I don't say this to offend anyone, I'm sure there are still lots of good churches out there. The "God-shaped-hole" that we are indeed seeing these days in my opinion has to do with society evolving much faster than religion. How do we reconcile what the Bible says with what we see thousands of years later? Sure, religion has tried to compensate for some of this, but they are not moving faster enough. And some say they shouldn't have to at all. If it is any comfort to you, if the Catholics are right about all the sinning and eternal damnataion, think of all the awesome people that wil be in hell with us ;)

Jenn said...

I'm not touching this one. I'd really like to, but I'll be here all night.

Mrs.T said...

I'm all about options and choices...

I was baptized 7 times. Only twice of my own volition.

I can only say, I resent the religious power struggle I was in the middle of. Anything forced usually chafes.

Tee said...

Scott - while I believe in Christianity (in my very small way), what you're looking for does exsist. There are "churchs" which don't teach one particular doctrine - they explore different relgiions and ways of thought, how to be better people, and let the congregation discuss and think for themselves. I am not sure if this type of group has a specific name.

Miranda said...

Well, I don't believe in infant baptism as a key to salvation, but
I also don't believe baptising infants hurts them.

Good luck with your decision :)
I hope, either way, that your
Son turns out to be at least
a little like his father and
that he will have a long, happy,
good life.

Mr. T said...

Ohh... a religious post...
here is me and my 10 ft pole.
here is me not touching this with it.


Sometimes we have to do things we don't necessary agree with to satisfy those in our lives that grew up in another time where they were taught these things mattered.

Scott said...

All - I apologize profusely for not replying. I'm swamped at work and don't have time to spend right now. More later. Thanks for coming by.

Beth said...

Dude, if you've read my latest blog, you'll see yet another run-in I have with holy men. I had my children in church early on and then took them out. I can't stand the hypocrisy of it all ... right in the same book, forget about the men who speak it.

I don't know if I made the right choice, but I try to live a good life. I hope that's enough.