Did You Support Children Getting Baptized?

by minimus 23 Replies latest jw friends

  • minimus

    Yeah, child baptism is just wrong! Little kids don't know how to make major decisions for their lives. Imagine telling a child that he or she must make a choice now, to get married! That would sound ridiculous!!! Yet, baptism is considered more important than any marriage could be.

  • Lady Lee
    Lady Lee

    I posted this a while back

    The Issue of Consent

    The issue of whether a person has consented to a particular action is a core part of our social relationships whether they be personal or group interactions. To participate in any social relationship a person must on some level consent to that participation. For consent to occur a person must know what it is they are consenting to and must have true freedom to say yes or no. Unless both of these criteria are present and valid true consent cannot occur.

    For example, for a person to "consent" to joining a group they must be fully aware of the rules of the group. Non-disclosure of the rules before the consent is given would be fraudulent on the part of the group and would therefore make any implied "consent" invalid. This is true in all legal contracts whether written or verbal. Both parties must clearly have stated what they are consenting to before the contract is valid. With-holding information vital to the contract invalidates it. However if all the articles of the contract are clearly spelled out and one party refuses to read the articles, often referred to as "the fine print," then that refusal is taken that full acceptance of the contract is valid.

    A point can be made about children and the issue of consent. In some cases children can and do consent" to certain relationships. A boy may get a job as a paperboy. He is instructed on the rules of the job and the compensation for his work. Many children fulfill this type of contract responsibly.

    But in our society legal experts agree that children do not have a legal right to make certain contracts. Due to the lack of maturity and knowledge inherent in being a child giving "consent" would not fulfill the two criteria required for that consent to be valid.

    In regards to a child giving consent to joining a religion such as the Jehovahs Witnesses (JWs), as a full member, this issue becomes very important. Can a children fulfill the conditions in regards to full membership in the JWs.?

    Even if full disclosure was given to the adults who join the JWs (which they are not given), it is clear that children cannot. Children lack the information necessary to make an "informed" decision about the matter. They are ignorant about how adult contracts are made and enforced. More important, they are generally unaware of the social meanings of religious commitment. For example, they are unlikely to be aware of the rules and regulations surrounding religious expectations what they are supposed to signify. They are uniformed and inexperienced about what criteria to use in judging the acceptability of any religion except the JWs. Children most often agree to certain behaviors out of fear or loyalty or a desire to please the adults in their lives. This would preclude the issue of freedom invalidating the contract. And finally, children have little way of knowing how other people will react to the experience they are about to undertake what likely consequences it will have for them in the future.

    In discussing the issue of consent, social psychologist David Finkelhor states, "For another thing, a child does not have the freedom to say yes or no. This is true in a legal sense and also in a psychological sense. In a legal sense, a child is under the authority of an adult and has no free will. In a more important psychological sense, children have a hard time saying "no" to adults, who control all kinds of resources that are essential to them. Food, money, freedom all lie in adult hands. In this sense, the child is like a prisoner who volunteers to be a research subject. The child has no freedom in which to consider the choice." In a desire to please the adults around him or her the child makes a decision based on wrong motives and inaccurate knowledge.

    The basic proposition here is that child baptism is wrong because the fundamental conditions of consent cannot prevail in the relationship between a religion and a child. "It adds a moral dimension to the empirical one" (Finkelhor). Thus even if it could be shown that in many cases children were helped by religion affiliation, one could still argue that the experiences were wrong because the children could not consent. The wrongness is not contingent upon the proof of a positive or negative outcome.

    Due in part to the emotions religious affiliations create, we know that these relationships often come into conflict with other kinds of roles and other kinds of social responsibilities. (This conflict becomes apparent, for example, when the JWs forbid certain social or scholastic activities with their peers.)

    Growing up in a family brings a certain social stigma to a child. People in our society react with both alarm and prejudice toward a child who has been involved with the JWs (even after the child grows up). This stigma may be unfair but it does exist, and it is unfair of adults who wish it didnt to inflict such stigma on children, who cannot be fully cognizant of its existence. Finkelhor states, "To rear a child in a stigmatized status cannot be considered a crime in and of itself, or else we would have to support laws to make it a crime to bring up a child to believe in communism."

    The reality is that few adults are fully informed of the WTs rules and regulations until after they have been baptized. There is a clear set of rules for those who are not baptized and a much stricter set of rules for those who have been baptized. To allow a child to submit to this double-standard without a clear explanation of what that standard is would be fraudulent.

    Children also would not be fully able to consent to such an issue due to the fact that they are still developing in their minds. What a child wants at 10 or 11 is very different from what they want at 15 or 18. For a child to give consent at a younger age when his or her brain is not even developed enough to understand certain concepts which can only occur at a later developmental stage is absurd. To hold this child to his or her "consent" would be immoral.

  • JH

    A simple answer would be NO

    Below 18, you're not an adult

    From 18-25, you're still discovering yourself.

    I would say above 25, like Jesus did.

  • freedom96

    While I have no problem with someone young wanting to please God, I do have a problem with a cult allowing such young ones to get baptized with such harsh penalties that the WTS imposes if one does not follow their beliefs.

    The young have no idea of the ramifications of leaving the religion down the road. They do not have a clue about the evil's the WTS has done unto their people.

    Never did support the young ones getting baptized, and still don't.

  • minimus

    Perhaps, that's the reason for the new YOUTH book that's being provided at the District Convention. If the Society can'tconvince today's youth that this is the truth, what will tomorrow be like for the Society? It really doesn't matter, does it? The future of the Society is already known.

  • fairy

    I dont agree with children getting baptized....thats one way of theirs to get them young

  • ikhandi

    I had nothing to say about for I was once in the situation where I was pressured to get baptized. I promised myself I would not exert that pressure on anyone. They got me when I was 15 and I was not ready.

  • rocketman

    Children are always in a conundrum with the baptism thing: If they wait too long, they get some real heat from parents and congregation members. If they get baptized too early, they stand a very good chance of having made a premature decision in a major undertaking of their lives.

    When I was active as a jw and an elder, I saw several instances of critcism given to kids and their parents for supposedly waiting too long - which in jw eyes is around age 18, give or take.

    I think age 18 should be the earliest anyone should be baptized, and it should be common to wait until ages 21-30. A certain guy named Jesus waited till he was 30.

  • caligirl

    I brought up the point to my mother that Jesus was 30 when he was baptized and using it as a point against child baptism.Her explanation was that Jesus was fulfilling prophesy, so he HAD to wait until he was 30 and that his age should not be used as any kind of guage. I pretty much knew at that point that the conversation was pointless if that was the "logic" being used.

    The only reason I got baptized at 14 was because other girls my age were doing it and it seemed the "in" thing to do at that age - it had absolutely nothing to do with any kind of spirituality. And when I started hearing about 7-10 year olds, and in one case I believe I heard about a 5 year old, getting baptized I thought it was outrageous and ridiculous even when I was a teenager. Now I look at my own almost 7-year old and think of all the kids his age who are raised fear armageddon and other so much that they lose their childhoods to service and meetings and having their lives and thoughts controlled, and it makes me appreciate to an even greater extent the thrill of watching him enjoy the simple joys of childhood that we missed out on.

  • minimus

    What prophecy did Jesus fulfill that says he had to be 30???

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