Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Magic water...

I've been asked a lot about whether or not I'm going to have my baby baptized.

First things first. I was raised catholic therefore I am no longer a catholic. Trust me If you were raised catholic you would understand. I have been baptized, held first communion, and was confirmed in the catholic faith. Why? Because I didn't have a choice. I'm sure If i had competent Sunday school teachers I might have kept that faith a little closer to my heart but the close minded harshness of most catholics never ceases to amaze me.

As a first attempt to ingrain good catholic morals we were held by a strange man, whom we have never met before, and dunked into magic water. As if some ceremonial bath forced upon us would remove original sin from the most innocent stage we will ever be part of. I get it I do. Every religion has ceremony and dedication, but most of them are a coherent admission of faith by the follower. Where-in catholic ideals make us force faith onto an unsuspecting child. Still that isn't enough.

Later on in life, when we are just beginning to establish our own identity away from our parents, we have an other right of passage. For a few years we had waited in line at church being repeatedly denied snack time in the middle of mass. I remember following my mother faithfully (while my father sat in the pew) mimicking everyone else's hand gestures in the way a child does. As I sat through the classes, I remember thinking I would receive some magical feeling of holiness once I took first communion. I couldn't wait.

The result was disappointing. After all what first grader really comprehends an omnipresent god or wants to ingest him? 

Then after more years of torture-some catechism, our faith is tested. Literally. Before being confirmed in the catholic faith I was forced to spend 8 hours locked up with a large group of peers I didn't get along with. Not because of faith, because of school district. In our incarceration we were forced to play faith games that made no sense, create plays, and take a test. Quite seriously a pen and paper test about catholicism . I have no idea how I passed.

After a long ceremony, my family threw me a party. Where my dad played appropriate music such as "you'll never make a saint of me". I get my cynicism from him.

Not only did I affirm my faith, I did it three times. Does it count? No. I was forced to, as most of the children in my class. It really is a vicious cycle. I was forced to because my mother was forced to. If Mom didn't send her children through the process she would never hear the end of it from my grandma. Catholicism seems like a very long line of forced tradition. Stand, sit, kneel, shut up, repeat.

Now will I have my daughter baptized? Probably, but not because anyone is forcing me to and she certainly wont be baptized in a catholic church. Despite all of my religious cynicism I still strive to have a relationship with God. I want my daughter to have an educated start in her religious pursuits.Maybe baptism will be a start in religious education. Do i think the water is magic? No, but I do think it will help her to be accepted into most religious communities. Sometimes acceptance makes everything that much easier.

Maybe its more for us then her.  Maybe thats the way it has always been.

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