Babies Don’t Need Ashes March 9, 2011

Babies Don’t Need Ashes

They’re not Catholic religious. They’re not even old enough to know what religion is.

There’s no need to put ashes on them.

That is all.

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  • Ben


  • Also: ashes taste terrible. Why not something like barbecue sauce?

  • Slider33

    @ miller

    Too funny!!! 🙂

  • kallisti

    Erm, that shirt definitely says Presbyterian in the top picture.
    So you’re right. They aren’t Catholic.

  • Katie

    I find the (dirty forehead) practice ridiculous; however, so is spreading false information. These babies ARE Catholic, as defined by practitioners of the faith, as they’ve already been baptized as such. (Whether they’re capable of understanding or not.)

    Under ordinary circumstances, states Canon #867, parents are to see to the Baptisms of their infants within the first few weeks: “As soon as possible after birth, even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child and to be themselves prepared for it.”

  • Fett01

    Total ash-hole move.

  • Parse

    Catholic babies: they now come prepackaged with artificial smoke flavoring!

  • beckster

    Didn’t realize Presbyterians did the ash thing.

  • Sir Craig

    I saw a woman walking around today with what I thought was a bruise on her forehead and I had to remind myself that today is the day people willingly walk around with an unwashed forehead. So many rituals, and not a one of them makes any sense.

    I do like the bbq sauce suggestion, though.

  • Deiloh

    Odin laughs.

  • ACN


    Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it so. Just because the Catholic church calls them “Catholics” doesn’t change the fact that these are babies who don’t hold any specific beliefs about deities. If they have Catholic parents, they are no more Catholic than children born to democrat voting parents are democrats, or that children born to republican voting parents are republicans.

  • Lion IRC

    If its OK for adult atheists to say babies are born as atheist why can’t adult theists hold a contrary view?

    Besides parents do heaps of stuff for their children to which the child cannot give informed consent.

    Nothing happening here limits that child’s freedom of choice in later life.

  • Stephanie

    Oooh, thanks for the head’s up. I’m totally the oblivious person who feels the need to quietly let someone know they have a dirty spot. Every year or two I do that. I guess it’s just practicing my humanism, because if I had something on my forehead, I’d want people to know so I could get it off.

  • JR

    @Lion IRC

    The idea that everyone is born an atheist is more about saying religion is a learned behaviour; Meaning you have to be taught to be a god-fearing person. So whilst a baby is unable of understanding any religion it is incapable of believing in any religion, ergo atheist. Thats not a parent pushing their views on the baby, infact a complete lack of it.

    Saying a baby is theist on the other hand, means that they not only understand the concept of a higher power, but believe in one. Which is completely ludicrous in comparision, so that is why atheist parents can say babies are born atheists.

  • DR

    Praise Odin, he’s the reason for the season!

  • Ron in Houston

    Isn’t it just a form of prep before they’re put into the smoker?

  • kbeen

    Interesting. I never new about the ash on the forehead thing (grew up in Lutheran home). But now I live in Japan and my daughter (at least her photo) got “ashed” the day she was born – it just happened to be the day of a local festival where we burn the previous year’s “good luck charms” (for lack of a better translation) and the children of the village have a great time spreading the ashes on the faces of people who had something significant happen that year. ( )

    It is fun and part of the community and tradition. Granted, I doubt that many people “believe” anything about it, but it is tradition and I, as an athiest, am able to enjoy it without being Shinto.

  • Jagyr

    These people are horrible parents! Sending their babies into battles!

    Wait, they’re not going into battle? Then why anoint them with the ashes of Sigurd who slew the dragon Fafnir and was made invulnerable?

    What, you mean it means something different now? Boy, Odin’s going to be pissed when he finds out.

  • Fribnit

    Silly Atheists we are trying to use logic to combat voodoo.

  • Boz


  • Azkyroth

    If its OK for adult atheists to say babies are born as atheist why can’t adult theists hold a contrary view?

    Is there the slightest bit of evidence that infants have some mental conception of gods, distinct from their recognizable human caregivers, whose existence they posit?

  • Yes, Ash Wednesday is stupid for those who aren’t old enough to understand what the hell is going on, but I just read an interesting argument for the tradition of infant baptism. More than just a religious ceremony, it’s a chance for all of the family to gather and meet the child, as well as to assign backups in case of parental death. It’s a nice tradition if that’s something your family does.

    Babies aside, I quite liked Ash Wednesday back when I was still going through the motions of being a Christian. It’s good for people to be reminded, I think, that this is the only life we have to live, and to accept that someday we will die. But then, I always liked the ritual cannibalism, too.

  • TXatheist

    Off topic…just when I think TX isn’t braindead

  • Of course they aren’t Catholic. Any Muslim could tell you that we are all born into Islam. The prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) said, “No babe is born but upon Fitra (as a Muslim). It is his parents who make him a Jew or a Christian or a Polytheist.” (Sahih Muslim, Book 033, Number 6426).

    Then again Hindus believe that the karma of previous life will determine the caste an individual will be (re)born into and so everyone is born as a Hindu.

    A child isn’t a Catholic until they are baptized in a Catholic Church.

    It says so in a holy book so it must be true.

  • stogoe

    Didn’t realize Presbyterians did the ash thing.

    It’s spreading. My parents’ mainline protestant church never did when I was growing up there, and only in the last few years have they gone all smudgy. I suppose it’s just them trying to be ecumenical or recapuring those Cool Old Rituals that suburban christian rock jam sessions church services seem to be missing.

  • Alexis

    When I was a kid, I was often threatened with ashes during the lead up to christmas, but not to easter.

  • Margy

    And so the indoctrination begins…

  • Eric Lawrence

    It was my understanding that you couldn’t receive ashes prior to completing communion. I remember my younger brother was denied ashes for this reason some ten-odd years ago.

  • Kevin S.

    Eh, this isn’t something I can get worked up over. If a baby is wearing a Yoda onesie, do we actually think the kid is a fan of Star Wars? Obviously not, the parents are. The baby doesn’t care beyond the utilitarian purpose of the outfit. Parents do all sorts of things with their children that said children could care less about and is really for the parents benefit. If the child isn’t harmed in any way, who cares?

  • Willie

    Is ceremony and tradition necessarily a bad thing? When my son was born, we put him in his great great great grandfather’s christening gown and introduced him to the community with a nice humanist ceremony. We didn’t etch the symbol of a bronze age torture device on his forehead, though.

    Also, keep in mind the difference between implicit and explicit atheism. A baby is born an implicit atheist because they don’t believe in a god because they have no concept of theology.

    We readers of this blog are explicit atheists because we understand the concept of theology but we reject it.

    So yes, ” All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God”. It takes the influence of others to teach us about religion and then it becomes a personal decision as to whether we become theists or atheists.

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