1. Hmmm . . .
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    12 Nov '07 01:06
    In the context of affirming the resurrection (along with the verse in which Paul says, “For as all die in Adam, so some will be made alive in Christ” ), this interesting verse occurs—

    >>> 1 Corinthians 15:29 Otherwise [that is, if there is no resurrection of the dead], what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

    Is there anyone here whose church practices “baptism on behalf of the dead”? Has anyone here received such baptism? If so, what is it’s purpose?

    (I do think that the Mormons practice this, but as a Lutheran/Anglican it was never part of any liturgy that I was ever aware of.)
  2. Donationkirksey957
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    12 Nov '07 03:26
    Originally posted by vistesd
    In the context of affirming the resurrection (along with the verse in which Paul says, “For as all die in Adam, so some will be made alive in Christ” ), this interesting verse occurs—

    >>> 1 Corinthians 15:29 Otherwise [that is, if there is no resurrection of the dead], what will those people do who receive baptism on behalf of the dead? If the dea ...[text shortened]... ice this, but as a Lutheran/Anglican it was never part of any liturgy that I was ever aware of.)
    I have baptized a dead infant on several occasions. My understanding of why I did it is that it was the family's request and that it seemed to give them some comfort. I do not see it having a salvific function, but more of a ritual to validate their love in the midst of great pain and loss.
  3. Cape Town
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    12 Nov '07 08:13
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    I have baptized a dead infant on several occasions. My understanding of why I did it is that it was the family's request and that it seemed to give them some comfort. I do not see it having a salvific function, but more of a ritual to validate their love in the midst of great pain and loss.
    I find it amazing how many people take part in rituals which on the face of it have a specific function but where some or all of the participants have a totally different function in mind and do not actually believe the apparent or claimed function at all.
    Baptism is a good example, as many of the people who baptize infants do so for cultural reasons not religious ones.
    Others are more obvious such as the number of people who celebrate Christmas or easter without believing in the religious significance of the events.
    But in the case of baptizing a dead infant to comfort the parents aren't you essentially lying to the parents? Is that justifiable? Aren't you helping to promote a religious practice that you do not believe in?
  4. Melbourne, Australia
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    12 Nov '07 08:42
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I find it amazing how many people take part in rituals which on the face of it have a specific function but where some or all of the participants have a totally different function in mind and do not actually believe the apparent or claimed function at all.
    Baptism is a good example, as many of the people who baptize infants do so for cultural reasons not ...[text shortened]... at justifiable? Aren't you helping to promote a religious practice that you do not believe in?
    Are you serious?
    I don't see any problem at all with doing something that comforts parents at the loss of a child. I can't imagine anything worse than losing one of my kids. Anything at all that comforts them at such a time is okay.
  5. Donationkirksey957
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    12 Nov '07 08:59
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I find it amazing how many people take part in rituals which on the face of it have a specific function but where some or all of the participants have a totally different function in mind and do not actually believe the apparent or claimed function at all.
    Baptism is a good example, as many of the people who baptize infants do so for cultural reasons not ...[text shortened]... at justifiable? Aren't you helping to promote a religious practice that you do not believe in?
    I guess I left the impression that the baptism was the only thing I did. It was only a small piece of my interactions in the situation.

    I guess I could argue that what you are saying may be true on many levels that we "lie" a lot when we do things in life that may have no significance at all in the whole scheme of life.
  6. Cape Town
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    12 Nov '07 09:47
    Originally posted by amannion
    Are you serious?
    I don't see any problem at all with doing something that comforts parents at the loss of a child. I can't imagine anything worse than losing one of my kids. Anything at all that comforts them at such a time is okay.
    Obviously you do not seriously mean "anything at all". I am questioning what is reasonable and what is not. I think that what is essentially lying to them that their child has a better chance of getting to heaven because of the baptism is wrong. For the same reasons, although many people find religion in general to be comforting, especially in times of loss, I believe that it is wrong to promote a religion you do not personally believe in simply to comfort people. Would you promote Islam for example if you felt that it was comforting for its followers?
  7. Cape Town
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    12 Nov '07 09:53
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    I guess I left the impression that the baptism was the only thing I did. It was only a small piece of my interactions in the situation.
    No, I do not see how what else you do is relevant.

    I guess I could argue that what you are saying may be true on many levels that we "lie" a lot when we do things in life that may have no significance at all in the whole scheme of life.
    I am questioning:
    1. To what extent lying for the purpose of comfort is reasonable.
    2. Why that particular lie. eg why don't you tell them that Santa Cause will take care of their child.
    3. Whether you have really thought about the long term consequences of your lies.

    I have noticed a similar tendency amongst parents when trying to comfort their children. ie telling outright lies for the sake of comfort. I personally find that very disturbing and believe that it can have serious consequences when taken to extremes. Using it on adults is even worse. Of course politicians use it all the time. Bush is an expert at telling comforting lies.
  8. Donationkirksey957
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    12 Nov '07 11:44
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Obviously you do not seriously mean "anything at all". I am questioning what is reasonable and what is not. I think that what is essentially lying to them that their child has a better chance of getting to heaven because of the baptism is wrong. For the same reasons, although many people find religion in general to be comforting, especially in times of lo ...[text shortened]... ple. Would you promote Islam for example if you felt that it was comforting for its followers?
    I think there is a difference in "promoting" and "comforting." I'm short on time this morning, but will get back to this later.
  9. Hmmm . . .
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    12 Nov '07 13:582 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    No, I do not see how what else you do is relevant.

    [b]I guess I could argue that what you are saying may be true on many levels that we "lie" a lot when we do things in life that may have no significance at all in the whole scheme of life.

    I am questioning:
    1. To what extent lying for the purpose of comfort is reasonable.
    2. Why that particular rse. Of course politicians use it all the time. Bush is an expert at telling comforting lies.[/b]
    Do you think lying is ever justifiable simply for the purpose of alleviating suffering/anguish? Does it ever depend on the mental state of the person you're dealing with? Does the cultural conditioning of the person in question have any bearing--e.g., is the death bed the place to challenge someone about their lifetime beliefs about an afterlife? (If you don't believe there is an afterlife, why would that matter more than doing/saying whatever seems needful to ease their anguish in the face of death--or at least not to increase it?)

    _______________________________

    With that said, I am interested if there is anyone on here who sees the baptism on behalf of the dead, as mentioned in Corinthians, has some thelogical import.
  10. Cape Town
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    12 Nov '07 14:12
    Originally posted by kirksey957
    I think there is a difference in "promoting" and "comforting." I'm short on time this morning, but will get back to this later.
    You are comforting with a lie which results in promoting something that should be undesirable. You are promoting beliefs which they hold but which you yourself do not hold in the hope of comforting them. Surely you can see that this can have long term side effects and that those side effects may be undesirable.
  11. Cape Town
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    12 Nov '07 14:19
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Do you think lying is ever justifiable simply for the purpose of alleviating suffering/anguish?
    I am not certain, but I am sure there are limits. I think many people overstep those limits.

    Does it ever depend on the mental state of the person you're dealing with? Does the cultural conditioning of the person in question have any bearing--e.g., is the death bed the place to challenge someone about their lifetime beliefs about an afterlife? (If you don't believe there is an afterlife, why would that matter more than doing/saying whatever seems needful to ease their anguish in the face of death--or at least not to increase it?)
    I do realize that it might be wrong to directly challenge someones beliefs at a time of mourning especially for example an non-theist approaching a Christian mourner and stating that heaven does not exist.
    However, in this case, it would seem that the priest could perfectly well explain that the baptism is theologically unsound without causing excessive distress to the mourners.
    I do not know what would be best if the priest actually thinks that the child is destined for hell. What do you think? Is it OK to encourage people to believe in lies for the sake of comfort? Should all religions however wrong be encouraged for that reason? I personally prefer to know the truth and would hope that other people would not lie to me.
    I notice that many Christians have no problem telling me that I am going to hell. Hardly comforting is it?
  12. Standard memberNemesio
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    12 Nov '07 16:311 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    But in the case of baptizing a dead infant to comfort the parents aren't you essentially lying to the parents? Is that justifiable? Aren't you helping to promote a religious practice that you do not believe in?
    You are making the assumption that it's important for Kirk to believe what the family believes.
    Kirk believes that it serves no salvific function. So what? Maybe the family believes it means
    something. As long as Kirk didn't say 'this serves a great salvific function,' he didn't lie. He
    simply did the good pastoral thing and helped the family with a religious gesture. He didn't testify
    that the religious gesture made any ontological difference and I'm sure if asked he would have
    said that he didn't believe it had any effect.

    But you'll notice that Kirk said that he didn't 'see that it had any salvific effect.' He didn't
    pronounce it from on high as a theological Truth. He admits that maybe it does, just that he
    doesn't believe it. And since he isn't doing anything contrary to the things he believes -- he
    doesn't believe that it hurts the baby or the family or contradicts one of the Truths in which he
    does believe -- then he's done nothing wrong. I'd like to think that Jesus would have done the
    same thing even if Jesus knew that it made no ontological difference to the baby but because
    it made a spiritual difference to the family. They were relieved, healed, received closure and
    so forth.

    If Kirk is a good pastor -- and I have reason to believe he is -- then he doesn't require uniformity
    of belief amongst his flock on obscure issues (the ontology or not of Baptism, Real Presence,
    whether Creation is literal or not) but only on the essential teachings of Christianity: compassion
    for those in need, charity, forgiveness, and so forth.

    I think it's pretty clear from his writings that, whether or not he himself is a Creedal Christian,
    he doesn't particularly require it of the people he shepherds.

    Nemesio
  13. Hmmm . . .
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    12 Nov '07 17:191 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I am not certain, but I am sure there are limits. I think many people overstep those limits.

    [b]Does it ever depend on the mental state of the person you're dealing with? Does the cultural conditioning of the person in question have any bearing--e.g., is the death bed the place to challenge someone about their lifetime beliefs about an afterlife? (If t many Christians have no problem telling me that I am going to hell. Hardly comforting is it?
    [/b]Is it OK to encourage people to believe in lies for the sake of comfort?

    Generally, no; sometimes, yes. (I’m thinking of the almost archetypal “ugly baby” case, here and other “courtesy lies”, as well as cases where severe anguish is involved.)

    I have often stated on here, for example, that I do not think there is any individual afterlife. In the case of the person suffering on their death-bed, who has believed that there is an after-life, who is nevertheless fearful and looks to me for assurance—I would lie.

    Should all religions however wrong be encouraged for that reason?

    No.

    I personally prefer to know the truth and would hope that other people would not lie to me.

    So would I. But that is a personal choice. So much of this is situational; and entails some risk. I once had to affirm to my father that, according to the doctors, he was, in fact, going to die shortly. That was based not only on the conclusiveness of the diagnosis, but also on my knowledge of my father, his views about death, his state of mind at the time, etc. To someone else, in different circumstances, I might have acted differently.

    I recently placed this in the Spiritual Quotes thread:

    “When it comes to shaping one’s personal behavior, all the rules of morality, as precise as they may be, remain abstract in the face of the infinite complexity of the concrete.”

    —Hans Urs von Balthasar, Presence and Thought: An Essay on the Religious Philosophy of Gregory of Nyssa (from the Foreword).

    I notice that many Christians have no problem telling me that I am going to hell.

    Me too. 🙂 However my reaction is likely to be different in the context of a religious discussion of beliefs (even a heated one) than it is if they were to tell me that a loved one of mine who had just died was going to hell. To dump one’s “truth” on someone in a weakened emotional state seems far more callous to me.

    With that said, I will simply affirm Nemesio’s post.
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    12 Nov '07 18:26
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    You are making the assumption that it's important for Kirk to believe what the family believes.
    Kirk believes that it serves no salvific function. So what? Maybe the family believes it means
    something. As long as Kirk didn't say 'this serves a great salvific function,' he didn't lie. He
    simply did the good pastoral thing and helped the family with a ...[text shortened]...
    he doesn't particularly require it of the people he shepherds.

    Nemesio
    I cannot think of any situation that justifies lying.

    Kirk could have simply asked the parents why they wished to have a baptism. If his beliefs did not coincide with theirs, he could have told them that. The parents could then decide whether or not Kirk was the right person to perform the baptism.

    A little honest communication can go a long way.
  15. Hmmm . . .
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    12 Nov '07 18:581 edit
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    I cannot think of any situation that justifies lying.
    You wouldn’t hide Jews in your attic, and lie to the Nazis who knocked on your door? You wouldn’t help a runaway slave if it meant you’d have to lie about their whereabouts? Or would you say, “Look I’ll hide you as long as no one asks, but then I’ll have to give you up for the sake of honesty”?
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