My favorite atheist, Allahpundit from Hot Air, digs up a marvelpus piece on some atheist guerrilla theater that has him thinking, “I might as well go back to the Church. At least there’s wine and music.” It’s from USA Today:
Up until last summer, Jennifer Gray of Columbus, Ohio, considered herself “a weak Christian” whose baptism at age 11 in a Kentucky church came to mean less and less to her as she gradually lost faith in God.
Then the 32-year-old medical transcriptionist took a decisive step, one that previously hadn’t been available. She got “de-baptized.”
In a type of mock ceremony that’s now been performed in at least four states, a robed “priest” used a hairdryer marked “reason” in an apparent bid to blow away the waters of baptism once and for all. Several dozen participants then fed on a “de-sacrament” (crackers with peanut butter) and received certificates assuring they had “freely renounced a previous mistake, and accepted Reason over Superstition.”
For Gray, the lighthearted spirit of last summer’s Atheist Coming Out Party and De-Baptism Bash in suburban Westerville, Ohio, served a higher purpose than merely spoofing a Christian rite.
“It was very therapeutic,” Gray said in an interview. “It was a chance to laugh at the silly things I used to believe as a child. It helped me admit that it was OK to think the way I think and to not have any religious beliefs.”
Well, actually she does have a religious belief–that God does not exist. Because the existence of God cannot be proven scientifically one way or the other (I’m not saying there aren’t solid reasons for believing in God, just that science can’t be enlisted to give a falsifiable, experimentally demonstrated proof), to declare that God doesn’t exist is a statement of faith, albeit a negative one. Think of it as atheist apophaticism.
Public ceremonies to confer de-baptism, however, seem to be primarily an American phenomenon.
“I think a de-baptism ceremony (in Europe) would strike a lot of secularists and atheists as kind of pointless,” Evans said. “They would leave the ceremonies to the religious.”
Not all American non-believers have warmed to de-baptism rituals. Secularist Phil Zuckerman, a Pitzer College sociologist who studies apostates, said he would never take part in such an event because it “feels intrinsically negative” and “immature.”
I think he’s right about that, but hey–if it makes some people feel better about rejecting their Creator, more power to them. Since feeling better about themselves is about all they have to look forward to, they may as well get all they can. I hope it tides them over through that long, lonely eternity.