Hey, remember when one of the benefits of not following a religion was being spared that religion’s rituals? What’s next, Sunday atheist mass?

I might as well go back to the Church. At least there’s wine and music.

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 mainline Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christians, baptism is commonly understood as a sign or means of grace and a covenant that God maintains even when humans turn away, said Laurence Stookey, professor emeritus of preaching and worship at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington. He said “de-baptizers” misunderstand baptism when they caricature it as an attempt at magic.

Baptism “is a kind of adoption where you become a child of God, of the church and of the family,” Stookey said. “You can renounce your physical parents, (the church and God), but they cannot renounce you because you are their child. Anybody who makes fun of baptism probably hasn’t gone into it in enough depth to know that.”…

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.”…

Meanwhile, organizers of de-baptisms are broadening their mockery to include other religions. At the American Atheists’ national convention in Atlanta last April, the de-baptism event included a dance where women in burqas stripped down to red-sequined leotards, according to Blair Scott, the group’s national affiliate director.

Coming soon: Atheists dressing in robes and scourging themselves as punishment for the sin of youthful religiosity. Exit question: Has the godless movement outlived its usefulness? Why, er, no.

Tags: religion