You Leave The Ritual To Get… Ritual?


USA Today:

Up until last summer, Jennifer Gray of Columbus, Ohio, considered herself “a weak Christian” whose baptism at age 11 in a Kentucky church came to mean less and less to her as she gradually lost faith in God.

Then the 32-year-old medical transcriptionist took a decisive step, one that previously hadn’t been available. She got “de-baptized.”

In a type of mock ceremony that’s now been performed in at least four states, a robed “priest” used a hairdryer marked “reason” in an apparent bid to blow away the waters of baptism once and for all. Several dozen participants then fed on a “de-sacrament” (crackers with peanut butter) and received certificates assuring they had “freely renounced a previous mistake, and accepted Reason over Superstition.”

[…] Within the past year, “de-baptism” ceremonies have attracted as many as 250 participants at atheist conventions in Ohio, Texas, Florida and Georgia. More have taken place on college campuses in recent years, according to Hemant Mehta, chair of the board of directors for the Secular Student Alliance, a group that promotes atheism among high school and college students.

Allah Pundit:

Hey, remember when one of the benefits of not following a religion was being spared that religion’s rituals? What’s next, Sunday atheist mass?

I might as well go back to the Church. At least there’s wine and music.

Patrick Appel:

The “rituals” are more satire and political demonstration than anything. The mockery of religious sacraments reminds me of PZ Meyers desecration of the Eucharist awhile back, but this is a little more complex:

Some of the so-called “de-baptized” have used their certificates to petition churches to remove their names from baptismal rolls. One argument: they were baptized without their consent as children and should now be declared de-baptized. Some churches, however, aren’t budging on what they regard as an irreversible sacrament.

I can understand why some atheists would find this cathartic.

Rod Dreher:

They don’t seem to take it altogether seriously, but I still find it creepy, and sense that it says something about the lack of confidence these people have in their atheism.

Blair Scott:

I can’t think of a single time that I have mocked religion with malice – with the specific intent to offend someone. However, I recognize that the very nature of the subject matter that many will be offended. For that matter, my very presence for many believers is already offensive to them.

With or without malice, I am never worried about offending people because as I told Mr. MacDonald, “you’re going to offend somebody. There’s just no way around that.”

Jack Smith:

A good symbol also requires no label, unlike the atheist hairdryer labeled “Reason”. The symbol for “Reason” should be obvious and powerful enough that it requires no label. But there is no clear connection between a hairdryer and “Reason”. Someone who labels things is more of a sloppy editorial cartoonist than a powerful image maker. Isn’t that one reason we hated those 70s felt banners?

Leaving that aside, what does a hairdryer do? It blows hot air. Umm, on second thought maybe they picked a revealing symbol for atheism after all.

Democratic Underground

UPDATE: James Joyner


Filed under Religion

2 responses to “You Leave The Ritual To Get… Ritual?

  1. Some people need a ceremony to mark an important part in their lives. Being “de-baptized” is a choice they make to mark the beginning of their lives free from the nonsense of religion. I find the ceremony silly, especially because it is using the Christian concept of baptism to reverse something that any atheist knows is tripe.

    I have no issue with atheist groups meeting, organizing and having rituals (which any group has). Again, I think it is silly to name it a “mass”, “church” or anything that is associated with religious concepts. It is the wrong idea to be a reverse-church or have “de-baptism”, it give religion more clout than it deserves…well actually religion deserves no respect.

    Wanna have a ceremony? Invite your friends and family, have food and drinks and celebrate getting that piece of nonsense out of your life.

    Faith = blind belief. That is for the religious, not the atheists. I don’t expect any religious person to understand or even try to listen to what is being said. I still await any proof from any religion person to show their “whatever” is real. It will never happen. You guys deal with metaphysics and the supernatural which cannot be proven, they are matters of faith. I am always hopeful when I hear about addition of another atheist to the ranks.

  2. Pingback: What We’ve Built This Weekend « Around The Sphere

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