Imagine if you were baptized as an infant, but then decided you wanted nothing to do with Christianity as you became older. Or, perhaps you became so angry at some of the things the Church was saying and/or doing that you wanted to make some type of statement. What would you do?
Well, in England many are willing to pay for certificates of “de-baptism.” In fact, over 1500 people have paid $4.35 for certificates from the National Secular Society.
I admit that I am not Catholic and I belong to a Protestant tradition that does not practice infant baptism (we only baptize those who choose to be baptized). But here are my thoughts about “de-baptism”:
- It is unnecessary theologically. If one wants to deny their baptism, there is no church tradition that I am aware of that will say “Too bad. You are still a Christian.” People walk away from the Church and Christianity at every age. Baptism does not prevent this from happening.
- Save your money! Since you can legitimately walk away for free, why pay to have a certificate? It sounds like the National Secular Society has just found an easy way to make a little money to me.
- There is no officially published list of those who have been baptized. Why be on an official “de-baptized” list? What do you gain by it?
- If your motivation is political, rather than theological, you may want to think twice. I understand that a person can legitimately become angry with the Church (in this case the Church of England). However, your baptism is bigger than any single church or denomination. It signifies a believer’s relationship with God. If you wish to be “de-baptized” just to show you are upset with a particular church group, you should find another way to do it. Are you ending your relationship with the Church or with God?
What are your thoughts? Would you pay to be de-baptized?