LONDON - DO you disagree with your parents on religion? In Britain, many clearly do as more than 100,000 people have downloaded 'certificates of de-baptism' to renounce their Christian faith.
The initiative launched by a group called the National Secular Society (NSS) follows atheist campaigns here and elsewhere, including a London bus poster which triggered protests by proclaiming 'There's probably no God'. 'We now produce a certificate on parchment and we have sold 1,500 units at three pounds (4.35 dollars) a pop,' said NSS president Terry Sanderson, 58.
John Hunt, a 58-year-old from London and one of the first to try to be 'de-baptised,' held that he was too young to make any decision when he was christened at five months old.
The male nurse said he approached the Church of England to ask it to remove his name.
'They said they had sought legal advice and that I should place an announcement in the London Gazette,' said Mr Hunt, referring to one of the official journals of record of the British government.
So that's what he did - his notice of renouncement was published in the Gazette in May 2008 and other Britons have followed suit.
Michael Evans, 66, branded baptising children as 'a form of child abuse' - and said that when he complained to the church where he was christened he was told to contact the European Court of Human Rights.
The Church of England said its official position was not to amend its records. 'Renouncing baptism is a matter between the individual and God,' a church spokesman told AFP.
'We are not a 'membership' church, and do not keep a running total of the number of baptised people in the Church of England, and such totals do not feature in the statistics that we regularly publish,' he added. -- AFP
[I was wondering if this was an April Fool's Joke, but there are no clues that it is a joke. And there have been other instances of active atheism, or perhaps anti-theism. I don't understand active atheism or anti-theism. If you believe, you believe. If you don't believe you don't believe. Professing your disbelief or requiring others to acknowledge, accept and validate your disbelief sounds too much like insecurity. The faithful should be secure in their faith. The atheist should be secure in his "non-faith". Anti-theism is no better than intolerance of faith or religious bigotry. And to call baptism of children, "child abuse" is just ridiculous. Then parents who send their children to school or childcare are also guilty of child abuse. ]