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.
Firstly I need to set my stall out. I was baptised as a child in an Anglican church (by my non-churchgoing parents), and in my thirties I chose to be baptised in my local Baptist Church as an outward sign of my faith. To be honest, I am still unsure about the idea of baptising children, but find the latest idea from the national secular society a bit of a joke. You can get a certificate , “printed on quality parchment paper” if you want to be liberated from, “the orginal mumbo jumbo that liberated you from the original sin you never had.” Yes, its a certificate of Debaptism and it will cost you a mere £3 to celebrate your inner rationality with this outward sign of a parchment certificate.
I am sure there will be a demand for this, but if you really want to do something with your £3 why not give it to a children’s hospice or charity instead, where it will have a practical impact. In fact if you think the Christian faith is a bit of a joke, wy not give your £3 to Comic Relief? After all, you got your original baptism for free…..just like the faith it represents.