Atheists “de-baptize” with a blowdryer…

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.

Comments (3)

  1. mrtsax wrote::

    stu­pid is as stu­pid does =/

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 9:22 am #
  2. rlew wrote::

    Thanks mrt­sax for the note; I’d like to avoid call­ing peo­ple stu­pid. (But I sup­pose I’m not shy about call­ing what peo­ple do “insipid and uninspiring” — there’s a sub­tle dif­fer­ence. Really!)

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008 at 10:26 am #
  3. James wrote::

    Hello Richard! Ah, I’ve got a slightly dif­fer­ent take. I think that using these guys to judge athe­ists is a bit like using Benny Hinn to judge us. I’m not say­ing that there’s any­thing wrong with Benny Hinn (well, ok, I maybe I am) but his cul­tural con­text is just so for­eign from my bor­ing college-educated sen­si­bil­i­ties that it is ter­ri­bly easy to make fun of him.

    Friday, August 22, 2008 at 1:45 am #

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  1. Oh noes! My religion has been mocked! « Making My Way on Monday, August 25, 2008 at 10:10 am

    […] of this ten­dency toward emo­tional over­re­ac­tion, abeit on a milder scale, when chanc­ing upon a recent blog entry from a Chris­t­ian remark­ing on an athe­ist “de-baptism”.  It seems some athe­ists are […]