De-baptism Thoughts

The title of a recent USA Today article says it all Atheists choose ‘de-baptism’ to renounce childhood faith. I’m not sure that Hemingway could have said it better. When a person becomes a Christian they repent and believe the Gospel. There is a renunciation of the previous life and a proclamation that we belong to Jesus. I imagine this is why we see this reverse of events as far as these de-baptisms go. This is actually another borrowing of the Christian worldview by atheists. Of course, they had another religious element, a de-sacrament.

Hard to Shake Baptisms

I just don’t understand why these atheists give so much credence to their baptisms. I’m not talking about the ones in the article who think de-baptism’s immature or that rituals as such should be left to the religious. Why do their baptisms hold so much weight that they must try to be relieved of them?

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.”

If her baptism meant so little as its meaning became less and less then why all the effort of de-baptism? It’s like getting a tattoo because your boy/girlfriend liked it. You break up and say the tattoo doesn’t matter anymore, but you start a tattoo removal process. Something matters.

“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.”

This person admits that it was “therapeutic”. Why? It helped him to think religious beliefs were silly afterward? It took this act to do so? Right before the act was he still convicted? How did he go through with it since this de-baptism was tied to “religion”? What was so pressing from the act of baptism that this person just had to try to undo it?  The original baptism apparently had some effect if he was finally able to get his mind clear.

Now, what if these de-baptism don’t take either? If their baptism weighed so heavily on them and they can’t really be de-baptized per the act, how can they be so sure they don’t do it again? What if the tension builds again and another type of baptism is needed is all I’m asking.


…said Greg McDowell, the Florida state director for American Atheists, an advocacy and networking group. “It’s a bit of satire. People will play the fool by waving their arms in the air and saying, ‘I got de-baptized!’ But the paperwork is still legit.”

What does it mean that the paperwork is legit? Does this mean that atheism is recognized as a religion and this is one of their legal, religious acts? If not, maybe it’s time they registered themselves as such. If you’re going to borrow a religious act and call it legit (whatever that means) then you just might be a religion. Not to mention you can’t really de-baptize someone since the act looks that same as far as I can tell. And for atheists to even call themselves as such relies on the very God they deny.

No Real De-Baptism

OK, there’s not really a de-baptism. I’m speaking of just the act itself not the act of doing so as would be pleasing to God. As far as I can tell de-baptism looks just like baptism except they try to dry off afterward. Right? Funny thing is that these atheists would really need an act of God to have a true de-baptism.

Just like we baptists go down in the water and come out wet, these atheists would have to go down in the water and come out dry. This would take an act of God.

I think the whole thing is just silly. If I were an atheist I wouldn’t spend any time worrying about my past religion and doing these acts. I’d be living it up only worried about me. The word of God really is living and active dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Heb. 4:12 NIV). I’m guessing that’s why these de-baptisms took place. They need to do something. An action to try and take away any last bit of conviction.

Not only do these atheists borrow God so they can renounce Him. They now borrow His order of doing things as found in communion and baptism to renounce those too. What’s next: de-church, de-altar call, de-prayer, de-praise, de-repent, de-Gospel, etc.

I’m not upset with these folks. I’m sad for them. It’s not their baptism that saved them in the first place and it’s not their de-baptism that’s damning them. It is their sins that are killing them. Their rejection of repenting and putting their faith alone in Christ alone for those sins will ensure death.



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tagged as , , in apologetics,Culture,Evangelism,Gospel,heresy,relativism,theology

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Wes Widner July 27, 2009 at 9:36 am

Like Atheism itself, de-baptisms are really something we (Christians) have created by failing to do our job. If we wouldn’t try to manipulate children into “making a descision” in our children’s programs, VBS, and things like Upwards and Awana we wouldn’t see adults who later on feel manipulated, used and angry to the point they feel the need to publically renounce something they feel was forced upon them in the first place.
.-= Wes Widner´s last blog ..The missing link of a Great Commission Resurgence: Apologetics =-.

2 Jason Smathers July 27, 2009 at 10:50 am

I suspect many that get de-baptized are using it as a means to publicly renounce their religion. Maybe their Grandmother will finally stop calling them a Catholic! 😉
.-= Jason Smathers´s last blog ..Dressing Jesus Up Like Snow White =-.

3 Dan Smith July 27, 2009 at 1:14 pm

This is crazy, but hey, let them do what they want. Just yesterday, a shipmate of mine had me baptize him in the Pacific Ocean in front of who knows how many people. Such an inverted thought (the atheists).
.-= Dan Smith´s last blog ..Baptism in the Pacific Ocean! =-.

4 Mark|HereIBlog July 27, 2009 at 6:22 pm


While I agree in general that manipulation does happen, it’s hard to know whether or not any type of manipulation was in play for these atheists. I’m not quite willing to say that we created this issue of de-baptism though. Sure, there might be some fault from the Christian side where the Gospel wasn’t been clear and people were attracted to and called to something else. Even so, there must have been some kind of conviction for these de-baptisms to even take place.

5 Mark|HereIBlog July 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Dan, you made me think of something that is missing from de-baptisms, privacy. Since baptism is a public profession should it then be made a very private concern in order to be “undone”?

6 Dan Smith July 27, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Ha! Good point. I guess there are some things that just can’t be done right, huh? Oh well! Maybe the next idea the atheist camp comes up with will work better.
.-= Dan Smith´s last blog ..Baptism in the Pacific Ocean! =-.

7 frances peterson August 2, 2009 at 2:19 am

Aetheism is becoming a religion of its own.

8 Mark|HereIBlog August 3, 2009 at 11:20 am



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