Gone Baptizin’

While the practice of baptism by water is obviously associated with Christianity, it predates that religion by some time. I guess it would pretty much have to, since Jesus himself was baptized by John the Baptist, and there was no Christianity before Jesus (well, unless you ask a Mormon). When doing some light research into Mayan mythology for yesterday’s post, I came across a mention that the goddess of water, Chalchiuhtlicue, was associated with baptism. And it does look like the Mayans purified children with holy water, as well as tobacco and incense, if this page is to be believed. I guess it’s not really too surprising, as the purifying power of water is a fairly universal belief. The Egyptians used water to purify both babies and the dead, and it appears that the Babylonians had a similar practice. These are civilizations that had contact with Israel, however, while the Mayan was presumably not. As far as Judaism, there are many mentions of purifying rites involving water in the Bible, and after the Babylonian Captivity it became common to immerse converts to the religion in water. The mystery religions on which Christianity is at least partially based also tended to have similar initiation rites. So, when John the Baptist began dunking people in water to wash away their sins, he was following a long-standing tradition.

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1 Response to Gone Baptizin’

  1. Pingback: A few more serious problems with literal Bible interpretation

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