The Raving Theist

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God Squad Review CXLI (Involuntary/Conditional Baptism)

September 6, 2005 | 14 Comments

Having someone’s eternal life in your hands is an awesome responsibility. A nurse who works in a hospital asks the Squad if it’s okay to go ahead and baptize a baby that looks like it might not live, and wants to know how to go about it. The Squad has all the contingencies covered:

If a child is in danger of dying and no priest or deacon is available, anyone, even a non-Christian, may perform a baptism. If you know the family would want this, you would pour water over the forehead and say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

If you were uncertain of the family’s desire, you would say, “On condition that you would want to be baptized, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” If the child survives, the family might want to take the child to church to receive the full liturgical rites.

Certainly it’s possible for a non-Christian to pour water on a baby, but I’d think that if the nurse were a Flying Spaghetti Monsterist she’d prefer to boil it in Ragu. Mere water doesn’t get you a stripper factory and a beer volcano. However, a sensible FSMer might forgo the sauce if the infant were dying of a gaping wound to the forehead.

Unfortunately, His Noodly Appendage isn’t fooled by the sort of conditional prayers suggested by the Squad. The FSM is perfectly convinced of his own existence, and doesn’t flit in and out of being depending on the desires of the family or the child. He’s certainly not going to let some dead baby say “yeah, I believed in you all along and you gotta let me in because that baptism was just


14 Responses to “God Squad Review CXLI (Involuntary/Conditional Baptism)”

  1. Vernichten
    September 6th, 2005 @ 10:04 am

    Who are you to speak for imaginary beings?

    And why isn’t a dying baby’s family at the hospital? I suspect foul play on the part of the nurse.

  2. June
    September 6th, 2005 @ 10:22 am

    Based on what they know about Him, they should call themselves the God Squat.

  3. hermesten
    September 6th, 2005 @ 11:03 am

    My plan is to live a life of sin and debauchery until I’m too old to enjoy it any longer. Then I’m going to be “Born Again” and accept Jesus as Lord and Personal Savior. This isn’t a hedge position, I’m fully exposed if I die before my sin engine wears out. And it’s not a trick, just a plan. When I do make the conversion it will be absolutely sincere –a fact that God knows already. Who knows, if something goes wrong, maybe He will cut me a break based on my good intentions.

  4. markm
    September 6th, 2005 @ 11:08 am

    hermesten just rediscovered the St Augustine plan!

  5. Jennifer
    September 6th, 2005 @ 11:18 am

    And why isn’t a dying baby’s family at the hospital? I suspect foul play on the part of the nurse.

    Vernichten, that is what I am thinking! Someone should run over to that nurses house and rub dog doo on the feet of her children so that they may live and die under the protection of the ancient and beloved Sand Zebra that protects all people.

  6. AK
    September 6th, 2005 @ 12:10 pm

    Finally, someone realizes the truth of the Flying Spaghetti Monster! Pastafarianism is the one true path.


  7. Mookie
    September 6th, 2005 @ 12:48 pm

    “On condition that you would want to be baptized…”

    Is this addressed to the newborn? What absurdity to think that a child that age would know what a baptism is. Not only that, but supposing the parents/family (who apparently don’t care for their child) does not buy into the whole water-the-head routine? Ragu would be better anyway. Its probably got enough water in it to appease any non-existent god, and adds a touch of culinary class to the ceremony. After the ritual, the baby can be placed on a bed of pasta, to rest in a representation of the FSM.

    RAmen indeed.

  8. Jennifer
    September 6th, 2005 @ 1:03 pm

    Not only that, but supposing the parents/family (who apparently don’t care for their child) does not buy into the whole water-the-head routine?

    I don’t think that is a given Mookie. She may have learned that the parents were atheists and taken it upon herself to “save” the child.

  9. sternwallow
    September 6th, 2005 @ 8:25 pm

    I must protest. The God Squad was exactly right. Without the parents nearby, for whatever reason, the nurse should have immediately stopped all approved and ordered medical life-saving treatment and begun to administer each and every rite of passage into death that she knows (and she should have been trained in at least the first 500 for current religions as well as 100 or so of the ancient ones which might be the one true religion after all). She should concentrate on the baptism or holy wrapping or ceremonial infant strangulation or whatever, without a thought for her own liability for malpractice, “callous disregard for infant health and safety” and possibly infanticide.

    (The above uses a verbal shorthand and is not intended to imply that all nurses are female)

  10. JCoke
    September 6th, 2005 @ 8:49 pm

    Who does baptism at birth? Catholics, as far as I know.

    What’d ya wanna bet the parents are Protestants who don’t believe in involuntary baptism, while the nurse is a Catholic who thinks that poor babies are going to hell because of the heretical parents?

    They might not be there because the nurse doesn’t want them to be. Given the time between sending the letter and publication, the nurse had to know that any given baby would be dead or healed by the time she got her answer. My guess is she’s going to start an under-the-table baptism business with all the sick babies and she wants clearance from the God Squad.

  11. BORGIA
    September 7th, 2005 @ 2:44 am

    My oh my, The G-Squad has reached heaven-kissing heights of absurdity with this. How many light years are these non compos mentis buffoons from reality? Aside from the niaserie of believing that sprinkling H2O on a human somehow makes him/her worthy of eternal bliss, they also ascribe to infants enough linguistic capacity to understand what a baptism is and whether or not he/she desires such a rite to be performed on him/her. Infants can reason and speak about as well as animals can reason/speak. I wonder if the guys at God squad walk around asking their dogs for the time or their cats to balance their checkbooks.

    ….one man’s theology is another man’s belly laugh.

    p.s. first time visitor to the site…if anyone is worthy of apotheosis its raving atheist…brilliant stuff

  12. Jason Malloy
    September 7th, 2005 @ 10:11 pm

    If a nurse or doctor really believed a baby was up for an eternity of infant lava torture, isn’t it a part of the hippocratic oath that they perform that baptism procedure, with or without the parents permission? I mean are they supposed to withhold medicine from an injured, dying baby if the parents don’t permit it? Also shouldn’t it be, “On condition that your parents would want you to be baptized”, since no such stipulation about the baby’s hypothetiical feelings on the matter is added if the parents are around to give consent anyway?

    Also isn’t torturing an infant in the fireplace for all eternity, while satan uses them for anal sex (according to devout Christian, LucyMuff), just because no one sprinkled some water on their head, a lot more evil than abortion, which the same people say makes god angry? Isn’t this really like a form of Super-Abortion? Can we add OmniAbortient to the list of God’s amazing properties?

  13. Oliver
    September 10th, 2005 @ 4:34 am

    You beat me to it Jason – if the nurse really believes in this then surely she should do it anyway, not worry about the parents’ wishes?

    Fermesten – that was the position adopted by the emperor Constantine I understand (ie the one who made Xtianity fashionable) – he was only baptised on his death bed, presumably to make sure his sins were washed away..
    Also reminds me of St Augustine’s famous prayer – Lord make me chaste, but not yet

  14. hermesten
    September 12th, 2005 @ 3:14 am

    Oliver, let me predict right now, that after my death I too will be made a Saint.

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