Daily Archives: September 10, 2011

“All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God”–except babies and mentally handicapped people

OK, so the reasoning of many Fundamentalists, as embodied by the Baptists I mentioned in my previous post:

Baptist: “You must be born again”
Me: “Yep.  That’s what baptism is.”
Baptist: “The Bible says all are born into Adam’s sin.”
Me: “Yep. That’s why they need baptism.”
Baptist: “All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.”
Me: “Yep. That’s why they need baptism.”
Baptist: “Well, show me where Infant Baptism is in the Bible.”
Me: “You just said it.  All are sinners, and all are born into Adam’s sin.”
Baptist’s wife: “Well, not babies.  Babies and young children and people who are [adjusts her voice awkwardly] mentally retarded don’t have the ability to know that what they’re doing is wrong.  That’s called Age of Consent [actually, it’s called Age of Reason, lady].  Those kinds of people have no sin, and they go straight to Heaven when they die.”
I replied that she was contradicting herself, because if all have been born into Adam’s sin, that *has* to include babies and mentally handicapped people.  Then they changed gears on me.
Here’s what I’d have liked to have said in different contexts:

1.  You have squarely contradicted yourselves.  My position is the age-old teaching of the Church, based upon the Bible, that all are born into the guilt of original sin that must be expunged by God’s grace through baptism for a person to even have a chance at knowing Christ and being, as you put it, “saved.”  Your position is a mismatch of contradictory statements which boil down to, “We are convinced the Catholic Church is wrong, so we are going to say whatever contradicts the Catholic Church, even if we are totally making fools of ourselves.”  You tell me that all must be born again, but now you’re saying that babies, young children and mentally handicapped people are all exempt from the requirement to be born again.

2.  Where is your “Age of Consent” (which we call “Age of Reason”) in the Bible?  It actually comes from St. Thomas Aquinas.

3.  If I told you that Mary was born free from original sin, you’d tell me that Paul says all men are sinners and deprived of the glory of God, but now you tell me that babies and mentally handicapped people are *not* sinners.