The Christian ritual of Baptism
Many forms of Christianity unite in their belief of performing the ritual of Baptism. But it is seen that these Christian denominations differ widely in their teachings about Baptism. While some consider it a rite of passage into the family of God, others strongly believe that without Baptism one cannot truly attain heaven, as it accomplishes the “washing away of sin”. There are others that teach it as an important step in the believer’s life without it having the power to cleanse or save from sin. The word itself is of Greek origin and means ‘to immerse or to dip’ and hence following from here, the purpose of the ritual is “religious purification” or “repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. Baptism was originally performed by Jewish priests at the temple in order to make someone who was deemed to be impure back into being clean and presentable in the eyes of God. This “impurity” could come upon a person by having touched an unclean person, having dealt with diseased people, having been with a woman during menstruation or any other such thing that was determined to be “unclean” by the Torah. The person who was being cleansed at the temple would have to make offerings of doves, lambs or sometimes just grains, to the priest while he chanted words to God and washed this “unclean” person in the holy waters, oils and perfumes at the temple. This would symbolize the impurity going away from the “unclean” person into water, and thus allowing the person being baptized to enter Temple on holy days. In the beginning, Christianity was a small cult that branched out from Judaism. The Christians continued with this practice of the washing away of sins but they did not ask for offerings to the priest. For the Christians, this practice of baptizing was just a vow and an oath of belief in the Christian religion and all that it stood for. The practice of baptism underwent important changes in the next several centuries. It became a required...
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