I was born into a Southern Baptist family where my dad was a minister up until I was in my early 20’s. I was confirmed into the Catholic Church in February of this year so I can tell you there are some major differences between the two. Southern Baptists believe that only people who are at the age of reason should be baptized–and by immersion. They completely reject the baptism of infants. My now 1 year old was baptised at 5 months along with my 2 year old on the day of our confirmation.
They also do not take communion every week–my church only did it for special occasions. They also believe that the Bible is the sole source of authority and that anyone has the ability to interpret the scripture.
Another big difference is they do not continually and specifically pray for the dead for much longer than after the person has died. I’ve seen a lot of posts where people say they do not pray for the dead but I have to say that we lifted the recently departed up in prayer and asked for God’s grace to comfort them and their families.
The Southern Baptist church does not venerate Mary as much as the Catholic Church does and when I first came into the Catholic Church I was shocked as to why Baptists didn’t! I was taught growing up that Catholics “worshipped” and “prayed to” Mary. I quickly found out that this was a big misconception the 1st Mass I attended. Since then, there has been no prayer TO Mary or to anyone other than God! There is a major difference between adoration (only due to God alone) and veneration (honoring Mary and the saints). Actually, when my parents were accusing me of praying to Mary and that I was going to Hell, I explained that we ask Mary to pray FOR us just as they ask each other to pray for them.
Southern Baptists do not preach the 7 sacraments – actually I had never heard of them until I went to RCIA.
Southern Baptists also look upon other religions as not being in full communion with God–including Catholics (even though like Baptists we are also Christians!). I know this because it was preached to us during the services many times and that we were to go minister to them and try to bring them into the Baptist church.
Please let me know if you have any other questions (since I used to be Southern Baptist).
Converting to Catholicism was the best decision I have ever made and I have learned more about God through RCIA and Mass than I ever did in Sunday School all of those years. As a result of my conversion, my dad has pretty much stopped talking to me, but that’s his problem and not mine. My trust in the same God and the church has not changed so I know I made the right decision.
Good luck to you