Fighting Fundies

You’re not allowed to read this unless you have viewed, liked and sent this video to a bunch of your friends.

Want to know how we Papists will bring that mass of fundamentalist, sorta-evangelical, sorta-Baptist, ‘accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior‘ kids back into the loving arms of the Church? Because you are relatively good-looking and follow my blog, I’ll tell you: Babies, babies, babies.

You see, babies are cute. Let’s be as honest as we possibly can, and let’s agree with our man, Gilbert Keith The Freaking Chesterton, when he said “[it is] the humorous look of children [that] is perhaps the most endearing of all the bonds that hold the cosmos together. . . [They] give us the most perfect hint of the humor that awaits us in the kingdom of heaven.” That’s right. Not only are babies beautiful, rolling balls of joy, but they are prophetic images of what heaven is like.

For an idea of what we will therefore experience in heaven:

So – you may ask, sipping bemusedly from a caffeinated beverage and idly scrolling through this (likewise caffeinated) post – why will these infant delights bring the fundamentalists back to incense and holy water? Well, because type A American fundamentalism is currently in the business of damning unbaptized babies to hell.
It’s simple logic folks. If the only way to get to get to heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, then those who cannot will not get to heaven. Babies aren’t good at making personal declarations of faith, so if they die before they are baptized – or I suppose, if you were really hardcore, if they die before they stand up in front of the congregation and accept Jesus – then they’re on their way to hell, without even a Purgatory to fall back on. 
Now I imagine a few of you “we put the FUN in fundamentalism!” folks are up in arms, and as well you should be. For I have not yet met an individual who, when confronted with the above logic, has said, “Yeah! Let ‘em burn! Stupid babies, up and dying before baptism.” No. That would be categorically insane. The constant response is, “Well we don’t know what happens to them, we cannot fathom the mercy of our God, so we can hope that in his great mercy he has prepared a place for them in heaven, and when I’m raptured there next weekend I’ll see.” And all in all, that’s not a bad response. Besides the rapture part. That’s just stupid. 

But it is here where you really, really ridiculously good-looking Papists need to slam them on the head with a miter. What is the difference, you should ask, with a face caught between vast intelligence and humble reasoning, between an unbaptized baby and someone who has no knowledge of Christ? Neither the baby nor the Muslim who has been constantly taught to reject Christ is to blame for their lack of knowledge. Neither unbaptized babies nor the millions of people who have not heard of Christ are to blame for their inability to accept Him as their personal Lord and Savior. In my experience, this is heresy-talk to your average Baptist. “You see, Jesus is the way the truth and the life, NO ONE comes to the father except through Him!” they’ll cry, deflecting your miter with their King James Bible. But what happened to all the “God is merciful” talk? As soon as a human being stops being cute and tiny, God is no longer merciful? You no longer trust the mercy of God? And so you dig at this incongruity, this odd teaching that would damn all unbaptized adults but save all unbaptized babies. 

You might even mention that, indeed, no one comes to the Father except through Christ, but this is because Christ’s sacrifice opened the gates of heaven to the whole human race. Whether you are a Muslim, a Buddhist or a  Christian, if you get to heaven, it is because of the cross. It is through Jesus Christ. This does not mean that Hindus are obliged to show up at altar calls in Mississippi. That kind of thinking – so prevalent in the states – effectively limits God’s ability to save. So the fundamentalist is left with two options. Damn babies to hell, or deny the teachings of fundamentalism in favor of the incense-laden Church’s. That, my friends, is the position we should hope every Baptist finds himself in, for as I have found, even in the face of being a hideous apostate, humans will be human, and defend the eternal happiness of babies.  
I speak specifically of a gentleman who, after I had this discussion, said, “Well, before Christianity people were judged by the law, by their obedience to the ten commandments…”

“Is it not possible,” says I “that the same can be said of many people of other religions? That for them – in a real, personal sense – it is before Christianity, and that we can trust God’s mercy that he will judge them as such? That Paul’s words, that ‘since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so men are without excuse’ apply to those who have not yet heard of Christ?”

“It’s possible.” concedes he, adding, “God knows.”

Indeed He does. And thus a Baptist concedes to a Papist point, the angels rejoice, babies laugh, and a seed is planted in the Baptist’s/Average American Born Again Christian’s heart. Because if salvation isn’t always about a “one-time assent” then maybe Paul was right when he said to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” – maybe faith without works really is dead. Then the possibilities are endless because frankly, the fundamentalist has just rejected the fundamental of fundamentalism. Gotta love babies.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05185433444648099531 beez

    I love the video, because I have a priest friend who, when he is having a bad day, goes to YouTube and looks up "giggling baby." He says that it never takes more than two (or possibly three) videos of giggling babies to bring him out of his deepest funk.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    Oh i agree. If you can't be joyful because of a laughing baby, you aren't human.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04444704944288002925 The Ranter

    And not just babies! What about those who are mentally retarded (God help me, I know that's not the P.C. phrase but I can't think of what we're supposed to call it right now!!)?They are adults, but what if they do not have the capacity to make that decision? Are they just left out in the cold?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17814899666244618561 Brent Stubbs

    to be fair, I don't think that fundies believe this regarding babies but it is the consequence of their position. they hold to something like, "We know God wouldn't do that!". But, if the helpless life is a 12 year old in Indonesia then fry away.Either way, what will bring unity to the faith is asking our separated brothers to consider both the ludicrousness of their first argument and the godliness of their intuition.Peace to you on your journey,Brentwww.almostnotcatholic.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    absolutely, to both brent and theranter.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18014672329453331576 Patrick Button

    How do you crank out so many great posts and still get all your work done? Do you have a secretary or something?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15208323445262128178 Libby

    Marc I love you but you need to meet some more theologically-knowledgeable Protestants.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    @LibbyYeah, I didn't want people to think I meant ALL Protestants. The majority of Lutherans, Episcopalians, etc.. DON'T think the views I expressed above, but it DOES seem to be a prevalent view amongst born-again Christians…THERE ARE TOO MANY DENOMINATIONS TO KEEP TRACK OF!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15396201693030286919 Manny

    At the core of Fundementalism is pure exclusion. It seems to me they look for reasons why people will not be saved. Great blog Marc.

  • http://herenvardo.livejournal.com/ herenvardo

    Babies' laughter is one of The Things That Makes Life Worth Living.Makes me want to grab the missus and get down for some…. erm, sorry, ladies present, ahem!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00582879246114515344 Peter Liao

    @Libby, by theologically-knowledgeable do you mean not Fundamentalist?

  • Chloe Austyn Holley

    Ummm, when I clicked on the video it said “sorry, this video is private”. I’ll try again later, but that might need checked out?

  • Josh S.

    Query: Have you ever met a fundamentalist who actually said babies go to hell when they die? I’d be willing to bet that if asked, they would say babies go straight to heaven, but I could be wrong. Catholicism, on the other hand, is still open on the question of what happens when unbaptized infants die; St. Augustine said they go to hell, if I remember correctly, though other theologians disagree. In short, I don’t think you can really make a strong argument for conversion here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elizabeth-Weinrich/100000425699014 Elizabeth Weinrich

    Careful about the attack on Baptists (should probably change all instances of the word to Fundamentalists). There are as many Baptist viewpoints as there are Baptists (which is a problem of its own) and some of them agree with you on Christian Inclusivism. Some of them take it further and are Universalists, but that’s a different story.

    Sorry to comment long after you posted this, but one of my friends just reposted this on Facebook.

  • Sara

    I just joined and am poking around and as a born again Christian who goes to a non-denom church, I feel like I’m part of the tribe you are discussing. I don’t think babies are going to hell simply because they can’t reject God. They cannot know good and evil (see Deuteronomy 1:39, Isaiah 7:15) It is people who know good and evil and reject Jesus though rejecting good who go to hell, not people who don’t pray a prayer or aren’t sprinkled in water. The Bible makes it clear that all have access to knowledge of God, if they wish it: “26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” (Acts 17) So the difference between the difference between an unbaptized baby and someone who has no knowledge of Christ is the ability to know good and evil for if they know good they can seek good and in doing so they will find Christ.

    I don’t think fundamentalists believe salvation is a “one-time assent.” Jesus made it clear that just calling him “Lord, Lord” isn’t enough, we must have a relationship with him. But it is also clear in scripture that we must be born again. I’m disappointed that you have such a low view of fundamentalists that you don’t take into account what argument can actually be made from the Bible.