Those who know us are aware that, while Sandy and I were both baptized in the United Church of Canada and both married Catholics our first time around, we have not been believers since before we got together. I consider myself a Deist, believing in a Creator of the Universe/Mulitverse. However, considering the magnitude of Creation, I don't see any credible evidence that the Creator interferes with its operation or know/cares about our insignificant planet. That said, a Creator able to create 170 billion GALAXIES could be omnipotent enough to care about what I did last Saturday night, so I can't say absolutely that believers are wrong. I will just say that, in my opinion, what they believe is improbable.
That said, I have very clear views on religion itself. People can have trouble dealing with the concept of mortality, especially their own. They have difficulty with the trials and tribulations of life in general, so they find comfort in turning to a higher power to make sense out of it all. Voltaire summed it up by saying "If God did not exist, it would have been necessary to create Him." Given the human need, religion fills a void for many people and helps them lead a happier life. As long as they do not interfere with the rights of others to believe or not believe something different, I wish them the best. Life often isn't easy and we each need to find our own way of coming to terms with it.
As the once great and now fallen Cosby said, I told you that story to tell you this one. Our daughters were never baptized and did not grow up with a church a part of their lives. We did talk about the meaning of "Life, The Universe And Everything" but I never took a hard position, hoping they would find their own way just as I did. Both of them married husbands who had been raised Catholic. Kim and Mike recently joined Cambridge Community Church, a friendly and welcoming Protestant venue that we had attended with them a while back. Heather and Tom have joined Calvary Church in Woodstock and we were now going to witness her baptism. I am proud that both of our offspring have weighed their own convictions and joined what seem to be very positive groups in each of their communities. Sandy and I hope this proves them and their families with purpose and fellowship.
We arrived at the church at 9:00 AM. Sandy and I had already been there for a Christmas pageant. Kim, Mike and the girls attended as well. The hall resembled a theatre with a stage, very comfortable seats and all manner of AV equipment. There were musicians on guitars and percussion and a singer. The style of music was very similar to what our friends in the Christian Motorcycle Association play during the worship services at the Freedom Rallies. It's a little subdued for my tastes (I prefer a rousing round of Southern Gospel music making a joyful noise), but they do seem to enjoy it. The baptism was full immersion in a large tub on stage. As Heather came out, they played a video on the big screen of her recounting her journey to this point. She referred to her father as "non-believing but philosophical". I can live with that. Then she climbed into the tub, the pastor said the words that traced all the way back to John The Baptist, and she was submerged.
The rest of the service seemed anti-climactic to us. Rhianna, a friend of the twins from high school who lived in the area. was there with her husband and youngest. It was good to see here. On the way out, there was a lot of handshakings and we were blessed many times. I don't mind that because the intent was sincere.
The entire family repaired to Crabby Joe's in downtown Woodstock. It had just opened and the server, Chris, got a table set up straight away. He was also very good with the kids, one of the best I have ever seen. I tried to reflect our appreciation in the gratuity.
Back at the hotel, I was hit with a resurgence of the flu. Heather and Kim were going to a discussion session at CCC in Cambridge and wondered if I wanted to come along. I didn't want to get too far away from a bathroom so I was forced to decline. Next time. Instead, I went to bed early and stayed there until morning.