Friday, August 7, 2009
HILARIOUS OR BLASPHEMOUS
According to the newspapers I read, the debaptizing mania is growing like crazy. I'd not heard of it before, but apparently it has been around for a couple of years and when I read the first article I nearly died laughing.
In some places a "mock" ceremony is held in which a "mock" officiant uses a hairdryer that has the word "reason" painted on it to symbolically blow away the waters of baptism on those who have given up on religion or the church. It is called "debaptizing. Sometimes there is another part of the ceremony, in which the newly debaptized person eats crackers spread with peanut butter as a way of "desacramenting" themselves. Once the ceremony is finished, certificates such as the one above are awarded.
One newspaper reported that last summer a town in Ohio experienced a lighthearted gathering of atheists called an "Atheist Coming Out Party and DeBaptism Bash." Some participants felt the ceremony gave them a chance to spoof all the silly things that they once but no longer believed.
One fellow mailed his debaptism certificate to his old church and asked to be dropped from its baptismal record. The church told him that he was all wet. They would not remove names from registers but would place a note alongside his name that he had left the Roman Catholic Church. The priest added "I hope that God surprises you one day and lets you know that He is quite well."
Apparently debaptism efforts are not limited to the United States. "More than 100,000 Brits downloaded debaptism certificates from the National Secular Society between 2005 and 2009," and upwards of 1,000 Italians did so prior to Italy's "Debaptism Day" last year, according to Italy's Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.
I found this whole "goings on" very funny, and I burst out laughing when I visualized the hairblower part of it. And of course personally, I don't believe debaptizing has any real efficacy any more than does one religion's belief in proxy baptisms. However, I do feel that there is a somewhat tasteless element to the debaptism practice that is bound to irk a bunch of people and drive another group of people to their knees in prayer for what I suppose they would consider "these heretics."
However, I really have to look at this as a clever spoof of a religious ritual, maybe not in totally good taste but funny nevertheless. What'd'ya think?