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Unread 11-28-2014, 03:04 AM
wan wan is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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English question: "christening" vs "baptism"

Hello. I encountered these two words before and I have always wondered about the exact differences between them. I think that (correct me if I am wrong), christening is a type of baptism. It happens when Christian parents have a new-born infant and they try to welcome him/her into the religious community by baptizing them as well as giving him/her a Christian name. Baptism on the other hand, pertains to adults. You can have a christening for babies but not adults. When an adult wishes to become a Christian, he/she undergoes baptism, not christening.

Christening only happens to infants. It also happens to inanimate objects, such as boats.

Context for "christening": In Linda Goodman's book Sun signs, under the Libran child section, she wrote: "The little Libran does seem to be a plump, pink angel, right out of the pages of a baby book. With his sweet expression and those pleasant, well-balanced Venus features, he's quite a charmer. He seldom kicks off his blankets in red-faced, screaming rage, or punches Mommy in the nose when she tries to give him the bottle. He's too well-mannered for such wild shenanigans. When he smiles, it lights up the whole nursery. People would be like, "My, what a dear, good baby! So quiet and calm. So chubby and dimpled. Surely a gracious fairy touched him with her magic kiss."

I don't like to play the role of the mean old witch at the royal christening, but would you mind checking to see if he has a dimple in his chin?"

Context for "baptism": I first encountered this word watching the cartoon show, "The Simpsons" many years ago. Basically there was one episode where Homer and Marge were deemed to be unfit parents so that Bart and Lisa were taken from them. They were placed under the care of the Flanders'. One time, the Flanders family were playing a Bible game with Bart and Lisa. Both of them did not get any of the answers right. Ned Flander asked them, (paraphrased) "didn't you learn any of this when you were baptized?" Then Bart answered, "we were never baptized as children." At which point Ned Flanders fainted.

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Unread 11-29-2014, 06:44 PM
Bunraku's Avatar
Bunraku Bunraku is offline
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Location: Milky Way Galaxy
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Re: English question: "christening" vs "baptism"

Hello Wan,

Baptism is a word that can be used for children or adults. I grew up in a catholic country, and then moved to the US, where I think it is largely protestant, and I can confirm that they are used the same manner in either cultures.

Google definitions says:
gerund or present participle: christening
give (a baby) a Christian name at baptism as a sign of admission to a Christian Church.
"their second daughter was christened Jeanette"
synonyms: baptize, name, give the name of, call
"she was christened Sara"
give to (someone or something) a name that reflects a notable quality or characteristic.
"a person so creepy that his colleagues christened him “Millipede.”"
synonyms: call, name, dub, style, term, designate, label, nickname, give the name of; formaldenominate
"a group who were christened “The Magic Circle”"
dedicate (a vessel, building, etc.) ceremonially.
"their first garbage truck was christened with a bottle of champagne"
Wikipedia says:
Christening is a ceremony associated with:

Infant baptism
Ship naming and launching
Anointing (The title Christ is derived from the Greek term Χριστός (Khristós) meaning "the anointed one")
You will want to read this page:

I don't think there is an age limit of doing these.
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Unread 11-30-2014, 10:53 AM
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The Ram The Ram is offline
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Re: English question: "christening" vs "baptism"

Babies can be baptised too. Infact throughout history its always been encouraged by the roman catholic church, as it was taught by the church that if a person dies without having been baptised then theyre eternally dammned to hell. So parents baptising their newborn has always been quite common among catholics, especially in the older days since infant death rates were much higher back then.
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