I had a discussion a few years back with a good friend of mine over why one should baptize their newborn. This was before my wife and I even thought about having a child and quite frankly was just a random discussion that we got into at 3 in the morning. With both of us having been raised in the Catholic faith, our discussion initially started off with religion but eventually moved towards baptism. If I remember correctly, the question posed to me was, "Why would I want to have my child baptized?" While I don't remember my answer at the time, I will give the one I have now as my son will be baptized this coming Sunday. The reason we are having our son baptized is because we both feel that religion should play an important role in our son's life and feel that the best time to start is early on. Baptism for Catholics and Christians is the rite of being cleansed of the world and being accepted by God into the Church. There are many other meanings behind baptism and what it signifies, but I simply provided the quick answer. As parents of a baptized child, we will raise our son in the Catholic faith and teach him about religion, spirituality, and the mysteries of the Church. So why make the decision for our child that he will be raised a Catholic? (I believe this was another question posed to me). Why make the decision for him instead of letting him decide which religion is best for him later on? Isn't it in a way saying that Catholicism is the only way to spirituality and a good life? Why not teach him every religion and let him decide for himself?
Well, the decision we make for our son is one that he can not make for himself right now. Having grown up Catholic, I know more about the Catholic faith than I do about any other religion. Personally, I feel that it is better for him to have one faith that he can learn about from an early age and utilize to find balance in his life than to have too many. For the sake of argument, we could technically not baptize him and teach him about every religion, but I feel that would be a disservice to him as he would only receive snippets of each religion and not have one he could learn about in depth. That is not to say that I will not expose him to other religions as he gets older, but the emphasis will be on the Catholic faith. I feel that for him to know about other religions is vastly important as well, but to begin his life learning about every religion would overwhelm him and in essence teach him no religion. So am I then saying that Catholicism is the only correct or true religion? No, I am saying that Catholicism is the correct religion for myself, my wife believes it also, and as such we will teach our son the faith. I don't believe that Catholicism is right for everyone. What I do believe is that religion is important as a means of balancing one's life and becoming in tune with the spiritual side of life. What is the ultimate goal of almost every religion? In my mind it is assist people in leading a good, wholesome life, helping others, and finding balance by doing so. If my son decides later in his life that he wants to leave the Catholic faith for another religion then I will support him. For now however, and for the foreseeable future, he will be a little Catholic boy.
Some people may even field the argument about all the BS that has gone on in the Catholic Church in recent years. Why would I want our son to be brought up in a Church that has in essence shielded priests from child abuse scandals? Frankly, if people put all their faith in priests, then they are setting themselves up for failure because priests, while perhaps knowing more about the faith and guiding us, are human as well. They are not divine, not perfect, and as such are prone to error. Does that excuse their behavior? No, but to be a Catholic is not to idolize priests, but to gather with fellow Catholics and assist each other in their faith journeys. That last part, being part of a community who is there to help you is perhaps the biggest driving reason to baptize our son. Without community, we are forced to stand alone and figure things out for ourselves whereas if we have a community to support us, we are more likely to succeed, not only deepening our faith, but in living a good, wholesome life. I am not in any way saying that people can't lead a good, wholesome life without religion, I am simply saying that it offers a more constructive way and means of doing so. I am sure I missed answering a few questions here and there and could probably go on for a while, but lets suffice it to say that regardless of the argument, any discussion that arises out of an argument, our son will be baptized and raised in the Catholic faith.