Peer pressure - and resisting it.
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There was a letter to Billy Graham a couple of months ago in which the writer said he had become an atheist in college along with all his friends, now, 20 years later, he wanted to return to Christ, but was afraid of what his friends would say to him about this.
I don't particularly remember Graham's answer but my own thought was "Good grief man! You're at least forty. Stand up for your beliefs."
But I was reminded of this particular letter when I received an email over the past weekend about our unbaptismal certificates.
Any chance you could have an un-baptism form for a child? I baptized my child, under pressure, and would like to un-baptize him. The form you get for putting your own name in doesn't really apply.
Probably the pressure here is from family and in-laws and is significantly more difficult to stand up to than that from old college buddies. But still - if you are old enough to be a parent, shouldn't you be standing up for your beliefs - or disbeliefs as the case may be? And shouldn't you be standing up for your child's right to eventually make his or her own decision?
Of course, this is a two sided issue. Not only should we be prepared to stand up for our feelings about religious belief against pressure, we should not be party to applying pressure (as opposed to engaging in rational discussion) to get others to follow our own views.
- Paraphrased from memory, not an exact quote.
- That was followed up by a three word thought which, if spoken out loud, could be misunderstood as a suggestion to go and plant a pear tree.
- The reply sent was as follows:
Philosophically, we are not in favour of baptizing or unbaptizing without consent. I realize you may regret the decision to allow your child to be baptized, but having done that, it is now out of your hands. My recommendation would be to ensure your child is given a firm grounding in disbelief as he grows up, and when he is old enough to decide for himself - then let him unbaptize himself.