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I recently had an interesting discussion with a person who did piercing for a living at one point in time in his life. He told me that the shop he worked had a policy where the would not pierce a baby's ears. To him it was an issue of ethics. He told me that the shop he worked for would only pierce a girl's ears if she was at least 5 years of age and only if the child / girl specifically asked for it herself.

I have done some soul searching and I have come to realise that this issue of ethics has come to encompass my views on infant baptism as well. I don't believe that any person has the right to choose to have another baptised. It is to me a deeply personal decision that everyone must come to ass they become of age.

Ultimately I would like to share what religious beliefs I may have with my children, but I must give them the chance to become Richard Dawkins, junior if that is what they want to become (Even if that would to happen it would grieve me.)

I'm just wondering what kind of denomination holds these beliefs or a reasonable facsimile thereof. My upbringing was entirely secular so I'm completely ignorant on how a person would choose a church. This issue is important to me, if I do ever get the chance to have a child.

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    I'm astonished to find that there appears to be no duplicate of this. Apr 7, 2021 at 18:31
  • With respect to your reasoning, I would commend you to also look into why various churches do or do not believe in infant baptism, and particularly, to examine what biblical references they cite. As this article says, "no one should make the decision to change church allegiances without taking time to consider the biblical evidence".
    – Matthew
    Apr 8, 2021 at 19:08
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    A mainstream sect is an oxymoron isn’t it?
    – user23657
    Apr 8, 2021 at 23:36
  • I agree that baby ear piercing is an ethical issue, but it should instead be compared with baby circumcision (if the baby is a boy). Baptism does NOT have a permanent effect if the child wants to reject the faith later, so why is it an ethical issue? It is so very very easy to fall away, but much harder to stay on course. In some denominations baby baptism is for the remission of original sin in case the baby dies before being able to choose (so the baby enters heaven). Therefore, if I'm a parent and I care for my child's freedom of choice, I would definitely err on the side of baptism. Apr 9, 2021 at 2:03
  • @GratefulDisciple Baby circumcision has, at least, a strong old covenant basis whereas infant baptism is biblically tenuous. Apr 9, 2021 at 11:29

1 Answer 1

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Paedobaptism is the practice of baptising infants. The Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Coptic and Oriental Orthodox Churches, Lutheran Churches, Anglican and Episcopal Churches baptise infants.

Credobaptism, or adult baptism, is the practice of baptising only believers. Baptists and Anabaptists, as well as many nondenominational Evangelical churches reject infant baptism. The following denominations say that belief must precede baptism and infants cannot believe.

  • Baptists
  • Pentecostals
  • Churches of Christ
  • Christadelphians
  • Jehovah's Witnesses
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS/Mormons)

As for U.K. Methodist churches (which are similar in many respects to the Church of England), please read this article: https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/life-and-faith/life-events/baptism-and-confirmation/

Reformed Protestant groups such as the Presbyterian Church in America practice infant baptism, but unlike the Roman Catholic Church, does not teach that such baptism saves the child. Instead, it teaches that infant baptism is a covenant sign and does not save, just the same as Old Testament circumcision was a covenantal sign that did not save. Lutheran Churches, like the Roman Catholic Church, practice infant baptism and maintain that such baptism saves the child.

Christian denominations that oppose infant baptism would include the Baptists, Churches of Christ, and Pentecostal groups. They would deny infant baptism by saying that belief must precede baptism and that infants cannot believe.

Believer's baptism is one of several distinctive doctrines associated closely with the Baptist and Anabaptist traditions, and their theological relatives. Among these are the members of the Restoration Movement. Churches associated with Pentecostalism also practice believer's baptism.

In many nondenominational Evangelical, Baptist and Pentecostal churches, a ritual known as child dedication. However, unlike baptism, the rite is centered upon the parents, who dedicate the child to God and vow to raise him or her in a God-fearing home. Although Dedication often occurs at the same age as infant baptism, it is not considered a replacement for baptism nor is it considered salvific for the child.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints completely rejects infant baptism. Little children are considered both born without sin and incapable of committing sin. They have no need of baptism until age eight when they can begin to learn to discern right from wrong, and are thus accountable to God for their own actions. People completely incapable of understanding right from wrong, regardless of age, are also considered as not accountable for their actions, and are not baptized.

In the Seventh-day Adventist Church, immersion baptism is not required for membership. However, if a person feels that he has received new information that makes a difference and/or has experienced a reconversion, it is available if he wants it.

Source: Believer's baptism (Wikipedia)

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    Methodists are generally paedobaptists: methodist.org.uk/our-faith/life-and-faith/life-events/… Apr 8, 2021 at 18:11
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    "Most evangelical" may be misleading (if not, depending on your perspective, outright wrong); outside of the US, most Lutherans call themselves "evangelical". You probably mean "American (non-Lutheran) Evangelical"?
    – Matthew
    Apr 8, 2021 at 19:11
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    Saying "non-denominational Evangelical" would probably be true. Apr 8, 2021 at 20:53
  • @DJClayworth - Many thanks for the Methodist link, which I have incorporated into my edited answer. The UK Methodist church I once attended did adult baptism by water immersion and once had an infant service of dedication where the parents and the church members took on the responsibility of bringing up the child in the Christian faith. I didn't see any infant baptisms, but I've edited my answer according to that article. Thank you.
    – Lesley
    Apr 9, 2021 at 6:52
  • @Matthew - Appreciate your comment and have made an edit. I know very little about American churches because I live on a different continent. The term 'Evangelical' can be applied to a large number of churches, not all of them being denominational.
    – Lesley
    Apr 9, 2021 at 6:57

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