Today I read that 1,500 people in just one week paid £3 each to be ‘debaptised’ by sending off for a parchment certificate from the National Secular Society. I don’t know whether to feel sorry for people who need to pay for sort of formal recognition to confirm that they no longer believe in something their parents arranged for them, or to be concerned about those who share my Christian faith being worried about this stunt undermining the fabric of our faith. It turns out that the certificate was designed by former NSS President Barbara Smoker who once considered becoming a nun and she feels it is popular because there is the need for the sacramental “It’s always in the background, everybody has still got that residual echo of religion in their heads even if they rejected it intellectually.” I guess that’s because whatever we do our say, Barbara, God still believes in us and has a hope for us.
In David Peace’s book on Brian Clough, The Damned United,the atheist Cloughie lets us into his thoughts after the cremation of his mother:
“The end of everything good. The beginning of everything bad…. When you’ve gone, you’ve gone, you’re gone: that’s what you believe-The end of everything good. The beginning of everything bad….No afterlife. No heaven. No hell. No God.Nothing-The end of everything good. The beginning of everything bad…. But today, for once in your life, just this once, you wish you were wrong.”
Certificate or no certificate..baptised or debaptised..Christian or atheist, may today be the beginning of everything good rather than the beginning of everything bad and may we know the truth of the grace of of God who lets us make up our own minds. May we be blessed and at peace with whatever we decide.