Infant baptism vs infant communion

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Comments

  • Yes, the dichotomy of "either scientific-quality proof, or 100% faith based" is a false dichotomy, the fallacy known as black-or-white thinking.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    ...I don't believe I'm getting annoyed about infant baptism. I simply object to baptising children too young to understand what it's about.

    I am an individualist and think the individual should have as much autonomy over their life as possible at all stages of their life. That includes, where necessary, protecting children from a parent's desire that their child conform to their beliefs and values. ...
    You're an atheist on the record as saying that Christian beliefs are "silly." Infants who are baptized still have "autonomy over their life." You are singling out religious belief from all the many "beliefs and values" that parents try to instill in their children.

    And you are, once again, doing it in the wrong place. This thread exists specifically to discuss Christian beliefs. Please take your objections elsewhere.


  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    Thank you, mousethief and Lamb Chopped, for your eloquent and persuasive comments.

    I don't mind in the least the professional atheists holding their own religious beliefs, nor their expressing them, but I do wish they would start another thread for the purpose.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    SusanDoris: I think it is so important that all children learn about beliefs and their history, so that the informed choice can be as unbiased as it can be.
    Am I permitted to be sceptical about the concept of "an unbiased informed choice". Even the caaveat 'as it can be' raises all sorts of questions, doesn't it?
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    edited November 2019
    Kwesi wrote: »
    SusanDoris: I think it is so important that all children learn about beliefs and their history, so that the informed choice can be as unbiased as it can be.
    Am I permitted to be sceptical about the concept of "an unbiased informed choice". Even the caaveat 'as it can be' raises all sorts of questions, doesn't it?
    Yes! It doesn't matter how many times one previews a post, a word or phrase can get through which is not absolutely precise.
  • Here is a new place in which to pursue the tangent:

    Belief, choice and education

    @SusanDoris
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »
    2. The arguments against children receiving apply equally to infant baptism, e.g. if a child is too young to understand communion, they are also too young to understand baptism.
    THis. If baptism and communion are anything other than mildly symbolic, then they are ridiculous to allow a child to participate.
    Ricardus wrote: »
    3. In any case, if lack of rational understanding is a problem, then half the congregation probably shouldn't be taking communion.
    Whilst I agree, there a logistical problems with enforcing this.


    The interesting difference for infant baptism is that someone ‘understands on behalf of the child’ - I mean through the promises made by the godparents and parents (in my Piskie tradition).

    Nothing similar happens when infants participate in communion. I am happy enough with young people (anyone) receiving and understanding imperfectly, in the context of a supportive community. I am not sure that frame has been perfected though.

  • Okay, let's start in on the assumptions. You are going on the assumption that the faith being taught is not true, I the opposite. Therefore I am certainly going to teach my child the faith, because not to do so is in my understanding a clear risk to the child's future and present well-being (and no, I'm not talking about hell, Christianity is for here and now too.) I believe I know the omnipotent and yet caring God, and I get the ability to make it through the days from him--why would I shut my child out of this? It is the best thing in my life. As with all other good things, I intend to share him with my child.


    No, I'm not making that assumption. In fact I would say that your faith is absolutely true for you, just as my faith is true for me. What neither of us can say is whether our faiths are true for anyone else.

    For what it's worth, if I had children I would have made no attempt to raise them as atheists.

  • Would you be happy with a racist parent instilling racist views in their child?

    Do you somehow imagine that they don't?

    Of course they do, and if they do the child should be removed from the parent.
  • Anselmina wrote: »
    My view is that if by baptism we are welcoming someone (of whatever age) into the household of faith, or family of Christ, how long should we expect them not to join in with family meal-times? We don't expect our growing children to learn the deep significance of the food we give them for their nourishment, or give them lessons in how to appreciate their fish and chips appropriately. We guide them in their feeding, alongside them at the table, so they get age-appropriate help to get the most out of their food. And hopefully they grow into a real and healthy relationship with what's happening. That's how I see it.

    In catching up with the thread I had missed that this answer to the points I raised above has already been made...

    Sorry @Anselmina for missing this really thoughtful and helpful observation.
  • Cameron wrote: »

    The interesting difference for infant baptism is that someone ‘understands on behalf of the child’ - I mean through the promises made by the godparents and parents (in my Piskie tradition).
    Which fine if the parents and godparents do understand - sadly godparents aren't necessarily chosen with the "God" bit in mind.

  • Cameron wrote: »

    The interesting difference for infant baptism is that someone ‘understands on behalf of the child’ - I mean through the promises made by the godparents and parents (in my Piskie tradition).
    Which fine if the parents and godparents do understand - sadly godparents aren't necessarily chosen with the "God" bit in mind.

    That is true. I have seen some godparents looking shocked at the promises they are asked to make, and then remain glued to their pew during communion (despite promises of faithful commitment made 20 minutes earlier). To be honest, some of the parents have been similar too - I wonder if it’s just a party prelude in a beautiful place for them, sometimes - and we don’t see them again.

    On the other hand, being asked to be a godparent was a first step back into active faith for me. I realised that I was engaged in something that I found to be very meaningful. So I would not want to be restrictive.

    But I don’t remember being given any instruction or advice before the baptism (I was not a regular church-goer at the time), other than a one-page leaflet explaining the point of the service. I guess not everyone reads that kind of thing, even it is provided.
  • What the hell does "true for you but not for me" mean? Either a proposition corresponds to reality or it does not.
  • What the hell does "true for you but not for me" mean? Either a proposition corresponds to reality or it does not.

    Humans are not very good at ascertaining objective truth. The only tool we have for ascertaining objective truth is the scientific method and that has limited application.

    The best we can manage in most aspects of life is subjective truth. No matter how 'true' God's existence is for you my atheism is equally 'true' for me and both our positions are valid because we have different needs.
  • Give me a freaking break. Difficulty in ascertaining truth is not the same as "multiple mutually contradictory versions of the truth exist."
  • Give me a freaking break. Difficulty in ascertaining truth is not the same as "multiple mutually contradictory versions of the truth exist."

    Much like Schrodinger's cat, God is both there and not there.

    I prefer God to be not there.
  • What has preference to do with truth?

    I prefer not to be disabled, yet here I am.
  • What has preference to do with truth?

    I prefer not to be disabled, yet here I am.

    Well, not preference. Though I think there is something in favour of the argument that if you want God to exist, He does, and if you don't He never will.

    If you look into Quantum Mechanics you'll soon find that fixed notions of truth and reality no longer apply. The Observer Effect is particularly interesting. Often misrepresented as proving 'mind over matter' it does show that reality alters according to how it is measured/observed.

    Just as an example of the sometimes gulf between objective and subjective reality.
    Subjectively, the table I sit at is solid. Objectively, the table I sit at is almost entirely empty space and it's apparent solidity is an illusion cased by the Strong Nuclear Force. Same applies to all apparently solid objects, including you and me.
  • Give me a freaking break. Difficulty in ascertaining truth is not the same as "multiple mutually contradictory versions of the truth exist."
    Could you give a specific example, please.

  • What has preference to do with truth?

    I prefer not to be disabled, yet here I am.

    Well, not preference. Though I think there is something in favour of the argument that if you want God to exist, He does, and if you don't He never will.

    If you look into Quantum Mechanics you'll soon find that fixed notions of truth and reality no longer apply. The Observer Effect is particularly interesting. Often misrepresented as proving 'mind over matter' it does show that reality alters according to how it is measured/observed.

    Just as an example of the sometimes gulf between objective and subjective reality.
    Subjectively, the table I sit at is solid. Objectively, the table I sit at is almost entirely empty space and it's apparent solidity is an illusion cased by the Strong Nuclear Force. Same applies to all apparently solid objects, including you and me.

    Your view of the implications of quantum mechanics does not accord with my study of it. In any case, if God does exist then they are hardly bound by an laws that exist within the universe they have created.
  • Quantum mechanics is about things happening at the quantum level and doesn't even apply to things that happen at the classical level. Why would someone think it applies to God?
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Quantum mechanics is about things happening at the quantum level and doesn't even apply to things that happen at the classical level. Why would someone think it applies to God?

    Quantum mechanics applies to everything, it's just that at large scales it mostly averages out to classical physics (or indeed relativistic physics). Things, of course, get really hokey when masses get large enough you need relativistic physics at levels where quantum physics doesn't average out. At that point all bets are off *side eye at black holes*.
  • Yebbut you can game that one by saying that Quantum Mechanics isn't true for you.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    If you look into Quantum Mechanics you'll soon find that fixed notions of truth and reality no longer apply. The Observer Effect is particularly interesting. Often misrepresented as proving 'mind over matter' it does show that reality alters according to how it is measured/observed.
    I don't know that there is yet an objective (that is, agreed consensus) interpretation of the Observer Effect.
    Just as an example of the sometimes gulf between objective and subjective reality.
    Subjectively, the table I sit at is solid. Objectively, the table I sit at is almost entirely empty space and it's apparent solidity is an illusion cased by the Strong Nuclear Force. Same applies to all apparently solid objects, including you and me.
    Given that you couldn't introduce any other object into the space occupied by the table I question whether it is in any meaningful sense empty space. Its apparent solidity is not an illusion: it's just that this is what solidity consists of at an atomic level.

    Incidentally, the strong nuclear force only applies within atomic nuclei. What's holding the atoms and molecules in the table together is the electromagnetic force.

  • Saying that truth means that a proposition corresponds with reality, (Lamb Chopped), raises interesting questions. However, focusing a bit, doesn't it become a bit queasy with supernatural stuff? I think this is one reason that "true for me" has become a thing, as talking about God seems different from talking about stars. There are probably people who don't believe that stars exist, or don't believe that they are chunks of plasma, but it seems different from non-theism. Here is a telescope.
  • I should have added that "true for me" is used in other areas, e.g., aesthetics.

  • Okay, let's start in on the assumptions. You are going on the assumption that the faith being taught is not true, I the opposite. Therefore I am certainly going to teach my child the faith, because not to do so is in my understanding a clear risk to the child's future and present well-being (and no, I'm not talking about hell, Christianity is for here and now too.) I believe I know the omnipotent and yet caring God, and I get the ability to make it through the days from him--why would I shut my child out of this? It is the best thing in my life. As with all other good things, I intend to share him with my child.


    No, I'm not making that assumption. In fact, I would say that your faith is absolutely true for you, just as my faith is true for me. What neither of us can say is whether our faiths are true for anyone else.

    For what it's worth, if I had children I would have made no attempt to raise them as atheists.

    How would you raise them without in a situation where they were exactly neutral to all faiths and none and had a genuine choice? Remember faith is wider than Christianity, it includes Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Neo-Paganism, Jainism, Chinese Traditional Religions, African traditional and diasporic religions, Zoroastrianism, Juche, Shinto, Spiritism and that is only drawn from a list of the top twenty. Another list may split them up differently. I mean lumping all African Religions together is a bit colonial.

  • What has preference to do with truth?

    I prefer not to be disabled, yet here I am.

    Well, not preference. Though I think there is something in favour of the argument that if you want God to exist, He does, and if you don't He never will.

    If you look into Quantum Mechanics you'll soon find that fixed notions of truth and reality no longer apply. The Observer Effect is particularly interesting. Often misrepresented as proving 'mind over matter' it does show that reality alters according to how it is measured/observed.

    Just as an example of the sometimes gulf between objective and subjective reality.
    Subjectively, the table I sit at is solid. Objectively, the table I sit at is almost entirely empty space and it's apparent solidity is an illusion cased by the Strong Nuclear Force. Same applies to all apparently solid objects, including you and me.

    Okay, back on board after the Sunday crunch. As for quantum mechanics, I will say right here that I am not a physicist, but I would be more than grateful if @Alan Cresswell were about and wanted to say something here. I WILL note that this appeal to qm in the present context seems more than a little hand-wavy--I will apologize if you turn out to be a physicist, but at the moment this appears to be yet another case of "let me appeal to an arcane subject nobody here is likely to understand, in the hope that it will get me off the logical hook!"

    Again, I am not a physicist, but my understanding of the observer effect (should be plural, right?) is that it does NOT affect whether an object exists or not, simply whether we can measure it and/or its attributes at one-and-the-same-moment--so we aren't talking reality/unreality at all. (The other observer effects I'm aware of exist mainly in the social sciences, and again have nothing to do with the reality of a given object or person.)

    Now your second observation on tables is definitely wrong. Being made up mainly of empty space does not mean that the table does not exist, or that it is merely subjective. Nor does it mean that its solidity does not exist or is subjective--your table will still support a cup of coffee regardless of the amount of empty space it contains. It is therefore "solid" (definition: "firm and stable in shape; not liquid or fluid.")

    The fact that uneducated people may have a mistaken understanding of molecular structure is neither here nor there. The table exists, its solidity exists, and you've just handed us a completely irrelevant red herring.
  • Saying that truth means that a proposition corresponds with reality, (Lamb Chopped), raises interesting questions. However, focusing a bit, doesn't it become a bit queasy with supernatural stuff? I think this is one reason that "true for me" has become a thing, as talking about God seems different from talking about stars. There are probably people who don't believe that stars exist, or don't believe that they are chunks of plasma, but it seems different from non-theism. Here is a telescope.

    This is a sensible question, and I can only say that it does not become queasy for me. In fact, what would make me definitely queasy is the notion that something as important as God must be relegated to a special category of truth (excuse me, "truth" with the air quotes) because of an uneasy suspicion that he cannot bear the light of day and must be shielded from rigorous argument and investigation. That wouldn't just make me queasy, it would terrify me. And if you'd had my childhood, you'd understand why. Gaslighting scares the hell out of me, and telling me a soothing lie is about the best way I can think of to make me go running like a bat out of hell. (running? flying? whatever) And this is particularly true when it comes to the big questions, like the existence of God, or what happens after death, or whether I matter in the cosmic scheme of things at all. (It's also why I have a freaking allergic reaction to things like the "Rainbow Bridge" nonsense that some people take such comfort in, though they know it was invented in their own lifetime. Yeesh.)

    I am aware that other people don't necessarily share my reaction, and they don't have to. But you did ask about my queasiness.

    But leaving that behind--

    "Here is a telescope" is purely lovely when there's something you can actually check out for yourself, and I'm all in favor of it. (Given my aforementioned suspicious nature, you won't be surprised that a large amount of my reading is scientific and also that I insisted on learning the biblical languages myself in order to be sure nobody was pulling a fast one on me through mistranslation.) I will always urge people to kick the tires on any proposition where they can realistically do so, including Christianity. But I must ruefully note that most of the things we deal with in the world are not things we can investigate for ourselves, and so we are forced to do the best we can with the help of people we trust who CAN and have investigated them. A case in point--my late cancer biopsy. I received the very technical lab report and could not make heads nor tails of it in terms of "do I have cancer?" I have a doctorate and I have Google-fu; I could understand that they had ruled out hyperplasia and endometritis. What I was missing was the specialized medical knowledge that would have told me "no hyperplasia means no neoplasia either, you're off the hook." My doctor had to explain that, and because I find him to be a trustworthy authority, I am no longer worrying about this.

  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    Cameron wrote: »
    Here is a new place in which to pursue the tangent:

    Belief, choice and education

    @SusanDoris
    Thanks, @Cameron! Okay, may we have our thread back, so that people who don't think parents should be allowed to instruct their children in their faith can argue their points without knocking the original discussion completely off the tracks?


  • At the risk of appealing to authority, I would note that my degree is MSci Theoretical Physics with Mathematics, so I'm probably more qualified than most on this issue.
  • Speak! speak!
  • Speak! speak!

    Mostly what I'd say is that QM is a bunch of maths that seems to model reality in a good number of situations. I'd also say that anyone trying to make definitive statements about broader reality based on those models is engaging in philosophy rather than science. I was very good at the maths, but I take a hard pass on trying to extrapolate from the results.
  • Well, science is not philosophical, except in its foundations. One commonly hears the phrase "science works", which indicates a utilitarian bent, which doesn't aim to describe truth or reality.

    However, this is an instrumentalist approach; scientific realists disagree.
  • Speak! speak!

    Mostly what I'd say is that QM is a bunch of maths that seems to model reality in a good number of situations. I'd also say that anyone trying to make definitive statements about broader reality based on those models is engaging in philosophy rather than science. I was very good at the maths, but I take a hard pass on trying to extrapolate from the results.

    Very conscientious of you!
  • I've seen quantum mechanics invoked to prove reincarnation, free will, telepathy, etc., by people whose understanding of quantum mechanics is probably no better than mine.
  • I've seen quantum mechanics invoked to prove reincarnation, free will, telepathy, etc., by people whose understanding of quantum mechanics is probably no better than mine.

    Quantum entanglement is damn weird by most standards and you can hypothesise all sorts of bizarre things built on it but the key thing is that until you can make testable predictions it's not worth bothering with. One thing you can say with a degree of certainty is that a wholly deterministic universe doesn't match our current modelling.
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    Thanks, @Cameron! Okay, may we have our thread back, so that people who don't think parents should be allowed to instruct their children in their faith can argue their points without knocking the original discussion completely off the tracks?

    Yeah, because a group of people discussing how and when to indoctrinate their children is obviously a private matter that doesn't concern anyone outside the group.
  • It's tricky. I don't see why Christians can't debate stuff on their tod, but this forum isn't set up like that.
  • Rossweisse wrote: »
    Thanks, @Cameron! Okay, may we have our thread back, so that people who don't think parents should be allowed to instruct their children in their faith can argue their points without knocking the original discussion completely off the tracks?

    Yeah, because a group of people discussing how and when to indoctrinate their children is obviously a private matter that doesn't concern anyone outside the group.
    Uh, no. That's not what Rossweisse or anyone else is saying. What's being said is that a discussion on "how and when to indoctrinate . . . children" is not the topic of this thread, and discussion of it derails the topic of this thread. That's why there's a whole 'nother thread where how and when to "indoctrinate" children can be discussed—and has been discussed by people within and without groups.

  • It's tricky. I don't see why Christians can't debate stuff on their tod, but this forum isn't set up like that.

    Of course they can when the subject pertains only to Christians. For example, discussions about church services, how to deal with a wayward vicar, the role church/belief plays in the life of a Christian, and so on, are wholly matters for Christians to discuss with other Christians and I have nothing to contribute.

    But how Christians act with regard to people who are not Christians isn't in that category.

    I get that parents wish to share with their children anything that gives them joy, but sharing is one thing and induction, instruction, and indoctrination are different.

    Despite the accusations and assumptions, I'm not remotely trying to push atheism. My concern is based on my own childhood where religious and spiritual belief were so completely absent I grew up uninformed about them and unable to decide what to believe for myself. I became an agnostic because no other choice was ever presented to me. I then became an atheist because my life experience seemed to preclude the possibility of there being a God.

    I'm an atheist who wishes there had been rather more exploration of belief in his early years than there was.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Since the OP was
    Is there any good reason why, in the Western churches, small children can be baptised but not take communion?
    it is hard to see that arguments that they shouldn’t even have been baptised really address the question.

    Additionally, since in practice the implication of the question is that the children are baptised often at an age when they remember nothing of it, it’s hard to see why from an atheist point of view subsequent receiving of communion matters at all compared to, say, taking the children to church on a regular basis.

    I suppose it could be argued that since it was wrong to baptise them it is even more wrong to compound the error by giving them communion. It is difficult to see an atheist reason for that positions which isn’t fundamentally about it being wrong to take them to church at all.

    There may be some other argument from an atheist perspective why baptised children should not receive communion, and that could be germane to the question asked. Even then, there would be some doubt as to the extent to which it would reflect the thinking in the churches, since it would presumable start from very different premises.

    (BTW irregular verb: I teach, you indoctrinate, he/she brainwashes)
  • There is not a single damn reason why anyone, Christian or non-Christian, should not participate in this thread about whether baptismal theology and practice ought to be seamless with communion theology and practice. If you--any "you," including the Pastafarians--have something to say to that topic, go for it.

    The sucky bit is when people--any people--derail the thread entirely by bringing in their own pet hobbyhorses, because they apparently cannot manage to click the "Start New Topic" button on their own. Grow the fuck up.
  • RuthRuth Admin Emeritus
    ... they apparently cannot manage to click the "Start New Topic" button on their own.

    They don't even need to do that -- there's a thread already started for what they want to talk about.
  • Yep. Because they couldn't manage to start it their own selves. Feh.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    in this thread about whether baptismal theology and practice ought to be seamless with communion theology and practice.

    What an excellent topic for a thread! :smiley:

    It's a question of how well, and in what ways, our rites reflect our theology. From a background of [one strand of] Lutheran theology, I would describe this in terms of "law" and "gospel." Both baptismal and communion liturgies should reflect both law and gospel, perhaps in different ways and at different ritual moments. But, like a drunk on donkey, we tend to slide off toward one side or the other.

    IME the liturgy and expectations about infant baptism had slid toward "gospel" - emphasis on grace, the free gift of God. Which is no bad thing. But in practice it tended to omit the "law" aspects of confession and education, and the serious commitment of parents and sponsors to raising a faithful Christian according to their promises.

    OTOH the liturgy and expectations about communion had slid toward "law" - unless you hit a certain point on an invisible Repent-O-Meter, you ought not to partake of the sacrament. That underlines the importance of the sacrament. But in practice it tended to omit the "gospel" aspects of God's free gift, inclusive welcome, and joy in the hope of the feast to come.

    IME of liturgical change of the past few decades, there has been an attempt to bring both of those rites into a more adequate balance of law and gospel. Baptism ought not to be pure cheap meaningless grace. Communion ought not to be pure serious personal accountability. How do we convey "costly grace" in each rite? ISTM that there is now more instruction and seriousness about baptism, and wider welcome and more joyfulness expressed in communion. This makes sense to me.

  • I think if we're going to be very open with communion then we should be even more open in offering baptism. If we are comfortable giving communion to strangers off the street then we should offer baptism just as readily.
  • Rather as happened in the book of Acts.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Hell Host, 8th Day Host
    ...The sucky bit is when people--any people--derail the thread entirely by bringing in their own pet hobbyhorses, because they apparently cannot manage to click the "Start New Topic" button on their own. Grow the fuck up.
    Some people seem to have unaccountable feelings of entitlement when it comes to these matters. Some people should get over themselves. Post on the proper thread, kiddies.
  • Such a joy to see the 15-month old child at church now making eye contact with the priest and actively receiving communion, rather than merely objecting to being held as previously.
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