What Are the Birth Rituals for a Christian Baby?

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Some practices observed by members of various Christian churches include baptism, circumcision and dedication. There are, however, no universal Christian rituals for babies, and some practices are controversial.

Some divisions of the Christian church, primarily Catholics, believe it is important to baptize infants when they are born. This belief stems from the idea of original sin, which is the concept that everyone is born a sinner, and the inability of one to enter heaven without being cleansed of sin. In centuries past, when infant and child mortality rates were much higher, baptizing newborns insured them a place in heaven, even if they died young. Members of the Catholic faith hold special ceremonies for infant baptism that are typically attended by friends and family of the new parents.

Many protestant churches, however, oppose baptism until one is old enough to consciously choose it. In lieu of infant baptism, these churches practice baby dedication. Baby dedication is a also ceremony held within the church, usually in front of the entire congregation as opposed to simply friends and family, in which new parents vow to raise their child in a godly home and to teach him Christian values. Some protestant believers also practice circumcision, though the practice is controversial and somewhat debated by many Christians.