There’s been a discussion on the internet recently about de-baptism.

Here’s an excellent article about it from John Beckett over at Patheos: Debaptism: You Probably Don’t Need It, But It Can Be Done

…you can’t unpour water. The baptism happened and we can’t pretend it didn’t.
But we can reverse its effects.

John Beckett

Further thoughts and resources on de-baptism after the jump.

Formal de-baptism (which usually involves adding a note in the baptismal register that you have renounced your baptism) makes sense in countries where part of your taxes are paid to the church, or where anyone who is baptized automatically counts as an adherent of that church, such as Germany and Italy.

As John Beckett discusses in his article, baptism often has spiritual and psychological effects, even if it was performed before you could consent to it. So some people might want to undergo a de-baptism for spiritual and/or psychological reasons as well as practical reasons.

An atheist de-baptism with a hairdryer labelled “reason”

Some atheists have apparently got busy with hairdryers as an ironic gesture. Some witches say the Lord’s Prayer backwards (but as John Beckett points out, this is still within the Christian paradigm). In the past, people would trample on a crucifix, but this won’t work for ex-Protestants as we never venerated the crucifix in the first place. For Protestants, something involving the Bible might make more sense (but as a person who holds most books to be sacred, I don’t think this would work for me).

The Satanic Temple has devised a number of powerful un-baptism rituals (solo, small group, large group) if that’s your jam. One of the suggestions includes gathering and burying artefacts from your Christian past. If it makes you uncomfortable that I’ve included a link to a satanic ritual, consider finding out what Satanism is actually about. It’s about freedom from dogma and oppression.

I think that if you’re going to perform a de-baptism, it has to have specific meaning for you in order to counteract any effects that you feel the baptism is still having on your psyche. Maybe it could involve the other primal elements: air, fire, earth. Some people find fire-walking very transformative (I’ve always been too much of a wuss). Maybe you could have a mud bath— symbolically getting dirty and having a lot of fun at the same time. Maybe you could stand naked in the wind. Maybe find somewhere that is very windy, so that you can lean against the wind. Maybe you could use the liminal energy from an eclipse to create a special moment of transition from your old path to your new one. It also makes sense to include words that specifically repudiate your past tradition, and affirm your commitment to your new path (whether that’s atheism or Paganism or something else).

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