“Belief in God symbolically evaporated when more than a hundred atheists were ‘de-baptized’ with a blow dryer yesterday,” writes the Columbus Dispatch. The article quotes the ceremonial formula intoned by Frank Zindler:
“Do you agree that the magical potency of today’s ceremony is exactly equal to the magical efficacy of ceremonial baptism with dihydrogen oxide, and do you agree that the power of all magical ceremonies is nonexistent?”
If this didn’t make me so sad, I would find this rather funny.
A couple notes: First, this ceremony, albeit funny, shows that atheists continue to define themselves by what they are against. Sarcastic humor unites by tearing down a foe, but sarcasm is hardly creative. Nor does it create community.
Secondly, the de-baptismal formula quoted is utterly devoid of any sort of moral demand. Baptism in the Bible is about both faith and repentance from sin. At it’s barest meaning (i.e. devoid of “magic”), baptism is a statement and commitment to humility, growth and change. The de-baptism formula above is simply about declaring “unfaith,” which I find insipid and uninspiring. As such, and quite ironically, Christian baptism is more humanistic than this atheistic de-baptism.