Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Sausage Principle

One of my favorite aphorisms is the so-called Sausage Principle: PEOPLE WHO LOVE SAUSAGE AND RESPECT THE LAW SHOULD NEVER WATCH EITHER ONE BEING MADE.

Today, while reading a passage of Luther's works in which the Reformer defends infant baptism, I was struck by an analogy that may help answer those who deny infant baptism on the basis of Mark 16:16. This Scripture says: "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved." Based on this, opponents of pedobaptism claim that faith must precede baptism. They infer from the phrase "believes and is baptized" that one must believe in order to be baptized.

Now go back to the Sausage Principle. "He that loves sausage and respects the law..." By the same reasoning, you must have a taste for sausage before you can respect the law. What a help this must be for society! You can weed out the criminal element over breakfast, simply by offering them a choice of bacon or sausage and observing how they respond.

Of course, you can never be sure whether some who choose bacon might not like sausage as well. Nor can you exactly tell whether those who choose sausage actually love it, vs. merely putting up with it. So perhaps it isn't quite fair to force everyone who prefers bacon to sit in on a session of Congress. In fact, that might be a cruel and unusual punishment!

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