Up until last summer, Jennifer Gray of Columbus, Ohio, considered herself "a weak Christian" whose baptism at age 11 in a Kentucky church came to mean less and less to her as she gradually lost faith in God.
Then the 32-year-old medical transcriptionist took a decisive step, one that previously hadn't been available. She got "de-baptized."
In a type of mock ceremony that's now been performed in at least four states, a robed "priest" used a hairdryer marked "reason" in an apparent bid to blow away the waters of baptism once and for all.
Several dozen participants then fed on a "de-sacrament" (crackers with peanut butter) and received certificates assuring they had "freely renounced a previous mistake, and accepted Reason over Superstition."
For Gray, the lighthearted spirit of last summer's Atheist Coming Out Party and De-Baptism Bash in suburban Westerville, Ohio, served a higher purpose than merely spoofing a Christian rite.
"It was very therapeutic," Gray said in an interview. "It was a chance to laugh at the silly things I used to believe as a child. It helped me admit that it was OK to think the way I think and to not have any religious beliefs."
quedula says: I vacillated between a kind of weak christianity and outright atheism from about the age 7. My moment of catharsis came with "Life of Brian". I left the cinema full of joy, elation and atheistic conviction . . .