February 20, 2021

Baptism for children: a choice or coercion?

Being baptized as a child, was this ever really a choice? I grew up in a home where from the day I was born, it was taught that baptism was to occur at the age of eight, it’s what all righteous people that have the truth do. Being younger than my siblings that had already gone through the process of being baptized when they turned eight added additional pressure on top of the expectations of my parents. To add to it, baptism in this high-demand group comes with a lifelong commitment.

Is it really a choice at the age of eight, when all you really want to do outside of the rare occasions, you’re having a tantrum, is whatever pleases your parents? How can it possibly be a choice with all the pressures and expectations? All you’ve been taught your whole life so far is that it’s what you do, and if you don’t then you’re choosing to live in hell with the devil in a fiery abyss forever.

How is it fair to put such pressure of choosing only between heaven and hell on the shoulders of an eight-year-old child? One who’s brain hasn’t even developed enough to connect negative consequences back to the choices this child has made. And to top it off after baptism now the weight of all choices being good or bad will determine if one is to make it back to heaven with God eventually.

Not to mention all of the bad things that had happened to the child at that point no fault of theirs, now we call those things sins and the child must get baptized to be cleansed of them, at the age of eight, an age of innocence and naivety.

No, it was not a choice at all, not for me. It was the difference between doing what my parents demanded with them saying they are proud of me, or them being upset and telling me that I have chosen to follow the devil and will be going to hell when I die. This was not a choice at all for a child, and no child should be forced to make lifelong commitments to anything.