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De-Baptism: Evidence of an Atheistic Faith?

Categories Theology

Learn more about de-baptism

A group of atheists have devised a ritual of de-baptism in which they dress up like monks and use a hair dryer to take away "the stigma... and the stain of baptismal water."

You'll find some intriguing commentary on this ritual at an anthropology blog called Savage Minds. In the post Bible/Darwin: Here Come the Hair Dryers, blogger "Rex" argues the de-baptism ritual demonstrates that Christianity and atheism are just two examples of the same phenomenon.

Need convincing? First, Rex offers this excellent joke: "One side believes it possesses an infallible book written by an omnipotent author with a huge beard with completely explains the dynamics all living things on earth. The other side believes in the literal truth of the [B]ible."

But on a serious note, the rest of Rex's analysis has me scratching my head: 


"This de-baptism makes clear in a single ritual what is at the heart of much of this debate: that within American culture, science and religion are two different things but two versions of the same thing, both of which rely in shared, rather intellectualist understandings of human nature and the role of the [B]ible/Darwin: humans attempt to ‘find meaning in the universe’, explain natural phenomenon, and live regenerated lives free of the corrupting influence of earlier, false doctrine."

Let's pass over the false opposition between religion and science (I'm hoping Rex just misspoke, writing "science" when he meant "naturalistic atheism"). I often wonder: is atheism not so much a lack of belief, but actually a belief system that incorporates faith and is therefore comparable to Christianity? The atheists I've spoken with would disagree, arguing that naturalistic atheism is categorically different from a faith-based worldview.

What do you think: are Christianity and atheism fundamentally two kinds of the same thing?

(Sub-questions: should the behavior of Christians distinguish them from non-Christians to such a degree that anthropologists would have to notice? Can Christians learn something from Rex's perspective that Christianity relies on "rather intellectualist" [cerebral?] understandings of human nature and the Bible?)

Learn more about worldview in Glenn Sunshine's Why You Think the Way You Do and David Naugle's Worldview: The History of a Concept. For apologetics resource, check out Who Made God? And Over 100 Other Answers to Tough Questions on Faith edited by Ravi Zacharias and Norman Geisler. For a key New Atheist text, consult Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion and cf. Alister McGrath's The Dawkins Delusion.

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