A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Baptism

But at present in Asia, the Catholics and the Orthodox Church plunge newly born children into water mixed with olive oil, and many of them become ill from the shock; at the time of baptism they struggle and become agitated. In other places, the clergy sprinkle the water of baptism on the forehead. But neither from the first form nor from the second do the children derive any spiritual benefit.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 95)


For material water does not purify the heart of man; no, it cleanses his body. But the heavenly water and spirit, which are knowledge and life, make the human heart good and pure; the heart which receives a portion of the bounty of the Spirit becomes sanctified, good and pure—that is to say, the reality of man becomes purified and sanctified from the impurities of the world of nature. These natural impurities are evil qualities: anger, lust, worldliness, pride, lying, hypocrisy, fraud, self-love, etc. Man cannot free himself from the rage of the carnal passions except by the help of the Holy Spirit. That is why He says baptism with the spirit, with water and with fire is necessary, and that it is essential—that is to say, the spirit of divine bounty, the water of knowledge and life, and the fire of the love of God. Man must be baptized with this spirit, this water and this fire so as to become filled with the eternal bounty. Otherwise, what is the use of baptizing with material water? No, this baptism with water was a symbol of repentance, and of seeking forgiveness of sins. But in the cycle of Bahá’u’lláh there is no longer need of this symbol; for its reality, which is to be baptized with the spirit and love of God, is understood and established.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 91)


In reply to your letter of 5 September 1984 saying that a ... believer will soon marry a member of the Roman Catholic Church and asking whether it is permissible for their children to be baptized, the Universal House of Justice has instructed us to convey its guidance. Children of such a union may be baptized if the Christian parent so wishes; from the Bahá’í point of view the baptism has no effect. It must be emphasized, however, that the Bahá’í parent, while perfectly free to attend the baptismal ceremony, should not undertake any commitment or vow contrary to Bahá’í law and should not surrender her parental right to impart the Bahá’í teachings to her child.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 139)


In reply to your letter of 5 September 1984 saying that a ... believer will soon marry a member of the Roman Catholic Church and asking whether it is permissible for their children to be baptized, the Universal House of Justice has instructed us to convey its guidance. Children of such a union may be baptized if the Christian parent so wishes; from the Bahá’í point of view the baptism has no effect. It must be emphasized, however, that the Bahá’í parent, while perfectly free to attend the baptismal ceremony, should not undertake any commitment or vow contrary to Bahá’í law and should not surrender her parental right to impart the Bahá’í teachings to her child.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 139)


In the time of John the Baptist it was not so; no, at first John used to exhort the people, and to guide them to repentance from sin, and to fill them with the desire to await the manifestation of Christ. Whoever received the ablution of baptism, and repented of sins in absolute humility and meekness, would also purify and cleanse his body from outward impurities.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 95)


Other peoples are amazed and wonder why the infant is plunged into the water, since this is neither the cause of the spiritual awakening of the child, nor of its faith or conversion, but it is only a custom which is followed.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 95)


Question.—Is the ablution of baptism useful and necessary, or is it useless and unnecessary? In the first case, if it is useful, why was it abrogated? And in the second case, if it is useless, why did John practice it?
Answer.—The change in conditions, alterations and transformations are necessities of the essence of beings, and essential necessities cannot be separated from the reality of things. So it is absolutely impossible to separate heat from fire, humidity from water, or light from the sun, for they are essential necessities. As the change and alteration of conditions are necessities for beings, so laws also are changed and altered in accordance with the changes and alterations of the times.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 93-94)


Reflect, also, that baptism in the days of John the Baptist was used to awaken and admonish the people to repent from all sin, and to watch for the appearance of the Kingdom of Christ.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 94-95)


Regarding your question whether there is any special ceremony which the believers should perform when they wish to ‘name ‘ a baby; the Teachings do not provide for any ceremony whatever on such occasions. We have no ‘baptismal service’ in the Cause, such as the Christians have. There could be no objection, however, for the friends to come together on such happy occasions, provided they do not hold an official public ceremony, and provided also they strictly avoid any uniformity and rigidity in all such practices. We feel that this activity should be left to the discretion of the parents.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 138)


The House of Justice has noted your strong emphasis upon the social and economic aspects of co-parenthood in your country, and your mention of the religious basis for the custom. While the diminution of Christian fervor among the rank and file of Dominicans may be great, nevertheless the baptismal origin and other religious aspects of godparenthood cannot be minimized, particularly for rural people who may well be under pressure from parish priests. Your Assembly understands that a conscientious Bahá’í couple must not have their children baptized, nor should Bahá’ís ordinarily participate as godparents in a baptismal ceremony for this also may seem to imply their affiliation with the church.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 143)


The future christening of the ... child should present no problem, for the Bahá’í parent should have no objection to the baptism of his child if the Catholic mother wishes it. Similarly, the use of champagne upon that occasion is a matter which she is free to undertake, but of course the Bahá’ís would not partake of alcoholic beverages.
(Universal House of Justice, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 253-254)


The performance of baptismal celebration would cleanse the body, but the spirit hath no share; but the divine teachings and the exhortations of the Beauty of Bahá will baptize the soul. This is the real baptism. I hope that thou wilt receive this baptism.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 390)


Thou hast asked regarding the naming of children: When thou wishest to name a babe, prepare a meeting therefor; chant the verses and communes, and supplicate and implore the Threshold of Oneness and beg the attainment of guidance for the babe and wish confirmated firmness and constancy; then give the name and enjoy beverage and sweetmeat. This is spiritual baptism.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 149-150)


We have your letter of September 14th inquiring about the baptism of a child where one of the partners to the marriage is a Christian and the other is a Bahá’í. Obviously, if both parties are Bahá’ís they cannot baptize their child, however, in the case of a non-Bahá’ís spouse insisting upon the baptism of the children … the Bahá’í parent may attend the ceremony with the understanding that he will not undertake any commitment or vow which is contrary to the principles of his Faith.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 138)