Boyfriends, Babies, & Jesus

Question:

Hey Mary,
I am a Catholic dating, more like a “courting”, a non-Catholic. As a Catholic, I know that it is my duty to raise all of my children in the Catholic Church, so me and my boyfriend have had several discussions on this.

In his church, they are first baptized when they accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and he argues that that is how it was meant to be because that is as the Bible tells it. However, I believe in infant baptism as the Church does. So when we have this discussion, he says that the only reason the Church does it is so the baby’s original sin will be removed and they won’t go to Hell.

I don’t necessarily believe that an unbaptized baby will go to Hell, but I do believe that they should be baptized to remove original sin, so they can grow in the light of Christ.

How can I explain to him in a clear and concise argument the beauty and better reasons to infant baptism?

 Answer: 

Thanks for your question!  I’m reminded of (yet another) CS Lewis quote:

“You don’t have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body.”

As important as it is to nourish our bodies, it is even more important to feed our souls.  In a very real way, this is what baptism does.  It gives us the light of Christ (as you said, and as I’m sure your boyfriend agrees).  Now, if you two do one day get married and have kids, I’d imagine you’re not going to wait until they reach the age of reason to ask for food.  You’re going to feed your children to give them the proper nutrients so they are healthy.  How much truer should that be for the health of their souls!

Likewise, none of us chooses the family we are born into.  In fact, none of us chooses to be born in the first place.  I think it is fitting, then, that many of us do not initially choose our spiritual family in the Church.  We do not choose to born again in Christ.  But regardless of when you are baptized—if you made the decision after several years of study or if your parents decided it for you before you knew what was going on—it was still Christ who chose you first.

In addition, there is in fact Scriptural support for infant baptism (not to mention accounts from the early Christians).  In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus Himself says:

Now they were bringing even children to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.  But Jesus called to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:15-16)

“To such belongs the kingdom of God.”  Unless we become like children, we cannot enter Heaven.  It doesn’t really add up, then, that we have to first “be mature” to accept Christ, does it?

Also, there are accounts in the New Testament of whole families being baptized after hearing the Good News.

Act 16:15 – (speaking of Lydia) – After she and her household had been baptized

Acts 16:33 (of a Philippian Jailer) – “…then he and all his family were baptized at once.”

1 Corinthians 1:16 – I baptized the household of Stephanas also

There are no records of Christians in the early Church intentionally waiting until their children have attained the age of reason to baptize them.  It seems once the parents found Christ, the whole family received Him.  And if baptism is truly the person of the Holy Spirit coming to live within you, why wouldn’t you give that gift to your son or daughter from the first days of their lives?

That would be my answer.  There are plenty of resources you can check out for this.  Catholic Answers is a good place to start.