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Journal drig's Journal: Original Sin

My in-laws are Catholic, I'm Jewish. For the most part, this hasn't caused many problems. My folks are vey liberal Jews. The religion of my wife and child don't really affect them. My wife has always been critical of the church, so her folks don't expect us to raise our child Catholic.

Except they want us to baptize our child.

Their arguments are strange. On one side, they give us Pascal's argument. We're promised infinite happiness if we argree, but infinite pain if we don't. If the chances of the Catholics being right are tiny, but finitely small, then Pascal argues that it still comes out to be infinitely worth it. My argument against this is that it means I should start worshipping Allah, the Sun and performing human sacrifices because the chances of those other religions being right are also finitely small.

Their other argument is that baptizing my baby would make my wife's grandparents happy. It's a small thing to do to give so much happiness to someone. A half-hour out of my life is a small thing to pay to give them such happiness. My wife's grandparents are really nice people, so it seems worth it.

But, I gotta say, the doctrine of original sin really burns me. For one, the Catholics would have my baby as a sinner, although she didn't do anything. She is a sinner, because Eve did something bad (and not even that bad). Euripides said "the gods visit the sins of the father upon the children". In general, Judeo-Christian thought rejects this. In general, except for original sin.

Original sin is really nothing but a way of keeping a meek populace in thrall of a church gone wild. The bible meant to give a reason to why mankind continually screws things up. It never meant to punish babys. Like so many other things (in both Judaism and Christianity), religion has twisted a basic idea into something that makes no sense.

I'm not baptized. So, by insisting our daughter is baptized they are saying that I'm a sinner. Instead of embracing me as the father of their great-granddaughter, they are turning religion into an issue. At a time when I really don't need extra hassles, here's a completely unnecessary one.

Then there's the issue of religious choice. Baptism, like circumcision, is the primary entrance into the Catholic religion. Both my wife and I agree that Catholicism is NOT how we want to raise our children. But, although we've made this clear, we're still getting pressured into it. And the mere fact of her being baptized means that she can never be Jewish.

So, I'm stuck. I don't know whether to be pissed off or simply accept it.

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Original Sin

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