Richard Dawkins is just an Angry of Tunbridge Wells with a PhD. Let me define that. He is a prejudiced pedant who goes through newspapers looking for small things that irritate him greatly. On this subject he is – yet again – wrong. I'd prefer to ignore him but then my wonderful friend and colleague Tom Chivers decided to write a blog saying he might have a point. So, because Tom is my buddy and I want him to get good with God, I have to offer a brief note of correction.
A Muslim baby is a Muslim baby for two reasons. First, because that's how Islam works. Dawkins might not believe in Islam but Muslims generally do, and they think that all humans are innately Muslim and that life is a process of submitting to that state of grace. This is common to most faiths, the hope that all humans belong to God whether they can truly comprehend Him or not. As a Catholic, I believe that Christ died for all of us – including children. Ergo, because the baby is a gift from God, because it has been baptised with water and because Jesus died for it – that baby is, in some way, a Christian. The baptism reminds us that salvation is a favour from God, not something we can 100 per cent determine ourselves, and it is vital to save us from sin. Of course, the child isn't confirmed or confessing. But it's one of us. Welcome to the family and seventy years of feeling guilty about stuff.