Check out this article about infant baptism. I find the conclusion extremely odd. I don’t see how the fact that we talk to a baby has anything to say about whether babies should be baptized.

Talking to babies is something I actually know a little bit about through my formal study of linguistics. Sociologically speaking, a baby learns his/her language by being spoken to (a lot! — babies/children who have been victims of extreme neglect and not spoken to or spoken to extremely little develop no language or develop highly deficient language, for example never understanding the difference between “John hit Bill” and “John was hit by Bill”). That baby will quickly be able to respond to tone of voice, and after that will understand some simple commands, and eventually understand basically everything — some parts of grammar are not mastered (as a part of native speech, I don’t mean here “artificial” grammar such as who/whom which I didn’t “master” until the 11th or 12th grade) until age 12 or so, at least this is the case for English-speakers as shown by research.

I’m not sure (in fact frankly I almost want to laugh) that the fact that a one-month-old can recognize his/her mother’s voice is foundation for further arguing that that one-month-old can have faith. I’d don’t think I like the attempted parallel at all, actually. Should we tie infant baptism to the degree of understanding of speech a child has? “Susie withdrew her hand from the cookie jar when I told her no! Come on, John, let’s baptize her next Sunday!” This just seems laughable, and maybe the author would say I am making a caricature of his argument. But read and decide for yourself — it’s thought-provoking nonethless, and incidentally that’s why I wanted to link to it, not because I agree or disagree with it.

Hmmm, or maybe we who believe in believers’ baptism should not speak to our babies until they come to faith…? ; )

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