Rus Articles Journal

Why the church baptism does not “work“?

Since the beginning of the ninetieth years of the last century we became witnesses of the mass phenomenon - baptisms in church. Many became participants of this “movement“. It is already rather told about the social and psychological reasons of this phenomenon - loss of belief in habitual social values, need to feel coherence with something considerable, requirement to trust in something, etc. Despite mass character, each participant of this “movement“ connected with acceptance of a baptism something special personal, let vague, but all - hopes for the better life.

Reasons for such hopes are not only in natural aspiration of the person to vital wellbeing, but in church dogmatics: “The Epiphany is Sacrament in which the believer … dies for life carnal, sinful and revives the Spirit Svyaty in life spiritual, sacred“ (An orthodox catechism, item 285).

There passed a lot of time since that moment, and it is already possible to sum up the results. What gave to the christened person his baptism? Whether it led to improvement of human life? On the basis of the twenty years` priestly experience I can tell surely: “there is no , the baptism does not “work“, does not give improvement of human life “.

Of course, there are exceptions. But they are connected more with radical change of habitual human life, than with its internal changes. For example, mother lost the child and after a baptism completely plunged into implementation of infinite church instructions. It, of course, distracts from a grief, and in this sense it is possible to speak about advantage of a baptism and church life.

The Epiphany in church of our contemporaries continues and today is, however, not so large-scale as in the nineties. And therefore it is important to understand why the baptism does not “work“. Where the promised “spiritual and sacred“ life? What it is possible to make that the baptism led to improvement of human life? For the answer to these questions I will use the experience of the practicing psychologist.

From the psychological point of view, the baptism is the initiation transferring the person to a new state and giving it vital resources in this state. Now we find examples of original initiations, as a rule, only in the remained archaic cultures. For example, initiation of the boy in number of soldiers of the tribe or the initiation of the girl in the girl training her for a marriage. The heartrending physical experiences causing deep and strong experiences are characteristic of these initiations. It is possible to tell, even a necessary physical and emotional shock which for the period of initiation completely seizes the person. What it is necessary for?

As it was already told, initiation is a psychological ritual of inclusion of the person in new, qualitatively other, life. That this “inclusion“ happened it is effectively, rather, necessary to rely on already existing life experience of the person. All people have this experience - it is experience of the birth, experience of our birth. The birth is for the child both a physical, and emotional stress, even at normal childbirth. The type of food, breath, temperature condition changes, all feelings change, passing via the patrimonial channel causes squeezing of a body of the baby and forces to work unusually his muscles. The trauma of the birth is well described and studied at the beginning of the last century (for example, Otto Rank).

Not casually rituals of initiation have immersion symbolics in a uterus (a cave, a close hut, a font) and a symbolical exit from it. It always causes bewilderment in the adult, even in Christ`s contemporaries: “Nicodemus speaks to It: how the person can be born, being old? Really it can enter a womb of the mother another time and be born? (Ying. 3, 4). Yes, “can“ if wants to be born for new life. It is obvious that connection of two components for this purpose is necessary: the strong emotional experience similar to our experience of the birth, and conscious idea of that new life in which he is born. Connection of these a component in a ceremony of initiation gives new life and resources for its accommodation. Christ also speaks about it: “… truly, truly I speak to you: if who not to be born from water and Spirit, cannot enter Bozhiye`s Kingdom“ (Ying. 3,5).

What we have in modern Church? In - the first, priests do not prepare kreshchayemy for emotional experience of the new birth, “birth from Spirit“ (Ying. 3,6), because do not know what is it. And why it to do? The people already buy this service. In - the second, the people do not know in what it is christened, and the Church does not explain. Why to explain if they also are so christened? Here therefore the Epiphany also does not “work“ - does not give to the person of desirable transformation of life, its improvement.

I expect objections of religious fanatics: “How you dare to think so? Unless you do not know that the Epiphany connects the person to Church Heavenly?“ Yes I know what connects. But the person pays to Churches in terrestrial rubles, but not “heavenly“. And the majority gets terrestrial rubles a hard work, and the person has the right to receive for the earned money from the Epiphany though something in this mortal life. But, alas, receives nothing. Here it is also necessary us, to psychologists “to complete“ what does not do Church.