So should we baptize machines?

The hype about artificial intelligence has some speculating that at some point a computer might have what we might call a soul.  So some theologians are wondering if machines advance to that point, should they be evangelized?  Should they be baptized?

Thomas D. Williams writes about this line of reasoning and why it is unlikely that machines would be able to become Christians.  In addition to “artificial intelligence” meaning something completely different from the human ability to reason, machines would not have inherited original sin so would not be in need of saving (the AI apocalypse crowd may be projecting human-style sinfulness on inanimate objects), and Jesus, according to the Athanasian Creed, came “for us men and for our salvation,” not for animals, much less for machines.  See Williams’s argument after the jump. [Read more...]

New baptisms for the transgendered?

At a baptism, the baptized person is given a name.  That’s not all that happens, but that’s what a lot of people associate with the rite.  So in the Church of England, some transgendered individuals have asked to be re-baptized, so as to have the Church affirm their new name and new identity.  So far, a sympathetic vicar decided not to repeat  the baptism but has devised a new liturgy to bestow the new name.  The Church of England is discussing how to handle this. [Read more...]

Baptists who baptize infants

A Baptist minister has stirred controversy within his tradition by baptizing an infant.  Yet it has become a common practice to baptize children 5 years old, or even younger.  This all seems to be in the context of reconsidering what baptism is, that it is more than just a symbol.  (To be sure, one might think, “well, it’s just a symbol,” so what difference does it make?  But this seems to be something more, which we Lutherans can appreciate.)

After the jump, read the account of the pastor baptizing the baby, then read  a seminary president’s response. [Read more...]

Christ’s resurrection and yours

Have a joyous Easter, everybody!

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  (Romans 6:3-4)

Drinking His cup, being baptized with His baptism

Our sermon for the beginning of Passiontide was Mark 10:32-45, the passage about James and John asking Jesus if they could sit on His right hand and His left when He comes into His kingdom.  I had studied this text extensively for what it teaches about authority and vocation (how authority is not to be used to “lord it over” others, but to serve those whom you have authority over).  But somehow I never noticed that the passage is also about baptism and Holy Communion.  Read the connection after the jump.  And see whom God prepared to be on His right hand and on His left.

[Read more...]

The comfort of Baptism

Dr. Benjamin Mayes is working with Concordia Publishing House on the new translations of Luther’s Works.  He was researching what Luther wrote about where Christians can find comfort.  Dr. Mayes writes, “Baptism is one of the comforting things, alongside various Bible passages, that console us regarding God’s particular love for us, giving peace of conscience and certainty of salvation. See LW 51:166 for an example: “Then, in this Christian church, you have ‘the forgiveness of sins.’ This term includes baptism, consolation upon a deathbed, the sacrament of the altar, absolution, and all the comforting passages [of the gospel].”  After the jump, two powerful quotations from Luther on the comfort that we can find in Baptism. [Read more...]


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