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Dr. D

100,000 Britons want to de-baptize themselves

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Dr. D

LONDON (AFP) – More than 100,000 Britons have recently downloaded "certificates of de-baptism" from the Internet to renounce their Christian faith.

The initiative launched by a group called the National Secular Society (NSS) follows atheist campaigns here and elsewhere, including a London bus poster which triggered protests by proclaiming "There's probably no God."

"We now produce a certificate on parchment and we have sold 1,500 units at three pounds (4.35 dollars, 3.20 euros) a pop," said NSS president Terry Sanderson, 58.

John Hunt, a 58-year-old from London and one of the first to try to be "de-baptised," held that he was too young to make any decision when he was christened at five months old.

The male nurse said he approached the Church of England to ask it to remove his name. "They said they had sought legal advice and that I should place an announcement in the London Gazette," said Hunt, referring to one of the official journals of record of the British government.

So that's what he did -- his notice of renouncement was published in the Gazette in May 2008 and other Britons have followed suit.

Michael Evans, 66, branded baptising children as "a form of child abuse" -- and said that when he complained to the church where he was christened he was told to contact the European Court of Human Rights.

The Church of England said its official position was not to amend its records. "Renouncing baptism is a matter between the individual and God," a Church spokesman told AFP.

"We are not a 'membership' church, and do not keep a running total of the number of baptised people in the Church of England, and such totals do not feature in the statistics that we regularly publish," he added.

De-baptism organisers say the initiative is a response to what they see as increasing stridency from churches -- the latest last week when Pope Benedict XVI stirred global controversy on a trip to AIDS-ravaged Africa by saying condom use could further spread of the disease.

"The Catholic Church is so politically active at the moment that I think that is where the hostility is coming from," said Sanderson. "In Catholic countries there is a very strong feeling of wanting to punish the church by leaving it."

In Britain, where government figures say nearly 72 percent of the population list themselves as Christian, Sanderson feels this "hostility" is fuelling the de-baptism movement.

Theologian Paul Murray at Durham University disagrees. "That is not my experience," he said, but concedes that change is in the air.

"We are in an interesting climate where Catholicism and other belief systems have moved into the public, pluralist arena, alongside secularists," he said.

De-baptism movements have already sprung up in other countries.

In Spain, the high court ruled in favour of a man from Valencia, Manuel Blat, saying that under data protection laws he could have the record of his baptism erased, according to a report in the International Herald Tribune.

Similarly, the Italian Union of Rationalists and Agnostics (UAAR) won a legal battle over the right to file for de-baptism in 2002, according to media reports. The group's website carries a "de-baptism" form to facilitate matters.

According to UAAR secretary Raffaele Carcano, more than 60,000 of these forms have been downloaded in the past four years and continue to be downloaded at a rate of about 2,000 per month. Another 1,000 were downloaded in one day when the group held its first national de-baptism day last October 25.

Elsewhere, an Argentinian secularist movement is running a "Collective Apostasy" campaign, using the slogan "Not in my name" (No en mi nombre).

Sanderson hopes rulings in other European countries will pave the way for legal action in Britain, since European Union directives require a level of parity among member states' legislation.

"That would be a good precedent for us to say to the British Information Commissioner: Come on, what's your excuse?" said Sanderson.

The bus-side posters that hit London in January sported the message: "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

The scheme was in response to pro-Christian adverts on buses directing passers-by to a website warning those who did not accept Jesus would suffer for eternity in hell.

Comedy writer Ariane Sherine, mastermind of the British bus campaign that saw a copycat version in Barcelona and other cities, said she backs the "de-baptism" movement but insisted the two initiatives were separate.

Sanderson meanwhile remains resolute. "The fact that people are willing to pay for the parchments shows how seriously they are taking them," he said.

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Karlis
LONDON (AFP) – More than 100,000 Britons have recently downloaded "certificates of de-baptism" from the Internet to renounce their Christian faith.

The initiative launched by a group called the National Secular Society (NSS) follows atheist campaigns here and elsewhere, including a London bus poster which triggered protests by proclaiming "There's probably no God."

"We now produce a certificate on parchment and we have sold 1,500 units at three pounds (4.35 dollars, 3.20 euros) a pop," said NSS president Terry Sanderson, 58.

~~~ ... (snip) ...

That's a lot of loot, folks. :tu:

Wish I had thought of that idea first. Legal and above-board, :)

Karlis

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redhen

Well, someone's making money at $4.35 a pop. Unfortunately, the paper is worth nothing. Baptism is a character sacrament, it brands you. Whether you pay for an ad in the paper denouncing your baptism, or pay $4.35 for a form letter, the Church will always consider you baptized.

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Sylent Nyte

Three pounds a pop? Couldn't they just draft letters of resignation then hand them into their local parish? :blink:

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Mistydawn

On the side of ‘all’s fair in love and war’ I am delighted to hear some counter-balancing advertising has been introduced to the public transport system.

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Cadaver

well done mates ;)

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Lt_Ripley

I say good for them.. although baptism is only good if you believe in it. otherwise if you don't it means squat. . , but I can see the point of taking a physical step which could be seen as counter acting the physical action of baptism. If baptism were real it wouldn't need the physical tradition .. a priest could phone it in .. or a parent could do it at home without paying a priest. or a child better yet could be allowed to become an adult and decide for themselves.

Edited by Lt_Ripley

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Michelle

Somebody is making a killing...like Karlis said, I wish I'd thought of it. :P

Like anybody really cares. I've personally considered myself de-baptized for years.

I wasn't aware that Catholics had to pay to be baptized, Ripley. Most other churches don't charge.

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Mistydawn
I say good for them.. although baptism is only good if you believe in it. otherwise if you don't it means squat. . , but I can see the point of taking a physical step which could be seen as counter acting the physical action of baptism. If baptism were real it wouldn't need the physical tradition .. a priest could phone it in .. or a parent could do it at home without paying a priest. or a child better yet could be allowed to become an adult and decide for themselves.

With you there Lty..."Lets all get together and show the world that our babe is purer and holier than the rest, bound for God's godforsaken country... let's proclaim to the world that we have done all we can to renounce evil and surround our babe with God's bountiful protection..." ... until of course they grow to be mature and commit dasterdley hideous acts of moral outrage, and then, hey the baptism didn't work, for why?.. well, of course, "God only knows."

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The Silver Thong

A bad day at work is better than a good day in church, ok I twisted it and made it my own :P

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GreyWeather

Kinda pointless. I was baptised, but I'm not petty enough to want to 'de-baptise' myself.

It means nothing to me really, does not conflict in any shape or form to my life. It's just symbology from most Pagan religious practises, and the symbology is strangely calming. I guess I'm a water person.

Edited by GreyWeather

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Lt_Ripley
Somebody is making a killing...like Karlis said, I wish I'd thought of it. :P

Like anybody really cares. I've personally considered myself de-baptized for years.

I wasn't aware that Catholics had to pay to be baptized, Ripley. Most other churches don't charge.

all churches charge one way or another ... for most with a newborn be it catholic or christian since some like to make a difference , you either have to belong to the congregation which costs or you have to pay a fee. If your child is older there are class preparations for most.

Same with a burial mass ( minus the class preparations ) .

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Lt_Ripley
Kinda pointless. I was baptised, but I'm not petty enough to want to 'de-baptise' myself.

It means nothing to me really, does not conflict in any shape or form to my life. It's just symbology from most Pagan religious practises, and the symbology is strangely calming. I guess I'm a water person.

you say it means nothing really but then is calming. the paper of de-baptism too is a symbol. and the price is pretty cheap in this day and age considering .. paper , ink , time. More was paid for the baptism. a symbol.

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Enigmatic Ghost

Kind of pointless could be redundant and a huge waist of trees at 100,000 sheets of paper, and electric resources wasted, not to mention the trees killed for the making of the rubber stamps for certifying 100,000 applications for the de Baptism process.

Actually if you really look at it deeper, it’s rather Meaningless, as in what’s the point, other than paying the fee and self gratification, the down side is killing wasting a whole lot of Trees for what?

Where is the New Fad of Petty Rituals to Declassify thy Self of Religious Praises and practices, where do I sign upon the dead tree, and where do I pay again, and oh yes, by the way will there be a sales Taxes upon the Petty Motion, and does this mean right after and any times thereafter if I sing Praise the Lord or sing I belong to the Band in the Shower, that this Petty motion is there for nil and void, does this also mean the same if I sing Carrying the Torch while I am out within the rain enjoying my Day this declaration and Documentation of De-baptism nil and void, is it my Baptisum there for reinstated and once again valid every time I sing Praise the Lord, will I need to File yet another form, or just stop singing Happy Songs pertaining to God in the rain showers and shower showers.

God Bless. :lol:

Pavot

Edited by Pavot

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Lt_Ripley
Kind of pointless could be redundant and a huge waist of trees at 100,000 sheets of paper, and electric resources wasted, not to mention the trees killed for the making of the rubber stamps for certifying 100,000 applications for the de Baptism process.

Actually if you really look at it deeper, it’s rather Meaningless, as in what’s the point, other than paying the fee and self gratification, the down side is killing wasting a whole lot of Trees for what?

Where is the New Fad of Petty Rituals to Declassify thy Self of Religious Praises and practices, where do I sign upon the dead tree, and where do I pay again, and oh yes, by the way will there be a sales Taxes upon the Petty Motion, and does this mean right after and any times thereafter if I sing Praise the Lord or sing I belong to the Band in the Shower, that this Petty motion is there for nil and void, does this also mean the same if I sing Carrying the Torch while I am out within the rain enjoying my Day this declaration and Documentation of De-baptism nil and void, is it there for reinstated and once again valid every time I sing Praise the Lord, will I need to File yet another form, or just stop singing Happy Songs pertaining to God in the rain showers and shower showers.

God Bless. :lol:

Pavot

well they don't print baptism records on air ya know ! the point is the principle of doing it.. the action. Don't sell your principles short.

how many trees go into making paper money ? it isn't recycled when it's overused ... it's burned.

Edited by Lt_Ripley

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Dr. D
well they don't print baptism records on air ya know ! the point is the principle of doing it.. the action. Don't sell your principles short.

how many trees go into making paper money ? it isn't recycled when it's overused ... it's burned.

Why don't we start some spiritual abortion certificates so that the born again can get unborn again?

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Lt_Ripley
Why don't we start some spiritual abortion certificates so that the born again can get unborn again?

lol

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GreyWeather
you say it means nothing really but then is calming. the paper of de-baptism too is a symbol. and the price is pretty cheap in this day and age considering .. paper , ink , time. More was paid for the baptism. a symbol.

What I meant, was the baptism means nothing to me - the religious aspect. But looking back on it, the symbology is calming. Clean slate-esque.

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Mistydawn
Why don't we start some spiritual abortion certificates so that the born again can get unborn again?

If only I had a quarter of the brain activity I should have, I'd STILL be laughing at that....! NO wait...! hahahahaha!!

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Dr. D
If only I had a quarter of the brain activity I should have, I'd STILL be laughing at that....! NO wait...! hahahahaha!!

I don't know why no one ever takes me seriously . . . .

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JamieSymptom

Fair enough I suppose, but I don't think I'd bother with an official de-baptism - would seem to me to be inferring some kind of meaning to my long ago baptism, that I have considered meaningless for many a year.

But it's good as PR for atheism I guess!

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randomhit10
That's a lot of loot, folks. :tu:

Wish I had thought of that idea first. Legal and above-board, :)

Karlis

yeah, you and me both.....great money maker......

bbbuuuttttttttt, if a church wants to make money or a legit ministry asks for money then they are money grubbing greedy etc. etc......how come?

randomhit10

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Purplos

It seems to me that the only reason someone would need an Official De-Baptism Certificate is if they actually thought baptism DID something or MEANT something and they had to DO something to distance themselves from it.

Do atheists or believers in other religions outside Christianity, who were baptised as infants, REALLY feel the effects of it?

This, in my opinion, is a farce... or a money-making scam.

Principles? What principle is this about? No baptism for babies? The right to informed baptism choice?

I just don't get it. If you don't believe baptism does anything, why does getting some water dumped on your head as a baby affect you in any way at all?

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Dr. D
It seems to me that the only reason someone would need an Official De-Baptism Certificate is if they actually thought baptism DID something or MEANT something and they had to DO something to distance themselves from it.

Do atheists or believers in other religions outside Christianity, who were baptised as infants, REALLY feel the effects of it?

This, in my opinion, is a farce... or a money-making scam.

Principles? What principle is this about? No baptism for babies? The right to informed baptism choice?

I just don't get it. If you don't believe baptism does anything, why does getting some water dumped on your head as a baby affect you in any way at all?

Doesn't a towel de-baptize?

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Purplos

Oooh. Good idea! Official de-baptism towels. $12.95 plus tax.

Your choice of designer atheist colors: lack-of-belief blue, skepticism red, literal lavender and non-religious rose.

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