“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.

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

  1. “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.'”

    In other words, mentally handicapped people or babies who die in a land where there are no Catholic priests gets to broil in hell for all eternity, despite having done nothing wrong personally, because God is pissed that some jackass who lives thousands of years ago ate an apple when he was told not to.

    As for this idiotic doctrine being “the age-old teaching of the Church” it only dates back to Augustine. As to being “based upon the Bible” you’ve obviously never read Ezekiel 18. Maybe its based on an insane Augustinian Gnostic or semi-Gnostic misreading of Romans 5. But the whole of the Old Testament, and Ezekiel 18 in particular, is against it. Not to mention the Deuterocanonicals being heavily against it. Protestants reject those, and they still are closer to what those books teach on this point than you! Now that’s irony!!!!

  2. Only the quote was supposed to be italicized.

  3. First, I get sick of the condescending attitude of people that babies and mentally handicapped people are somehow less than human, which is what you say when you say they don’t have the ability to choose sin. *THAT* is a notion invented by Thomistic theology and found *nowhere* in Scripture.

    Second, you’re ignoring the concept of baptism by desire.

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