Well it’s Easter once again. Congratulations. We all made it to another season of rebirth and renewal. When my kids were little, I’d buy them a kite, a book or a box of Legos, and we’d talk about what Easter means. For some it’s a holy day. For people like us, it’s a holiday. For some folks, it’s both. I’d explain to them how many of our neighbors believe that, to fix his screw-ups to save flawed human beings, God gave himself his only son Jesus to redeem the rest of his daughters and sons. Sort of. God’s other children killed Jesus, who then came back to life and said he forgave all the rascals who betrayed him, and that gave all humans, forever and ever, the option, if they should choose to accept Jesus into their hearts, to be “saved” and to go to heaven.
Whew. Makes perfect sense.
Of course, a believer’s trip to heaven is in no way guaranteed and can at any time be revoked by the capricious god whose half-assed plans included committing crimes against his children when he became enraged and who continues to allow his children to suffer, physically and emotionally, at the hands of those who believe in him.
After explaining these things to children for a few years, they start to see how ridiculous this tale is. One day you realize, as I now realize, that you no longer have to point out the inconsistencies and the illogical in these cultural tales. Once trained to spot the absurd, kids learn how to recognize it on their own.
Yet Easter, like Christmas, is still a day of fun and celebration. It’s funny that two of the most important Christian holy days of the year have become entwined with cartoon-character narratives, Santa and the Easter Bunny. For you and me, they’re all tall tales: God and Jesus and not unlike Thor and Adonis. All these stories are just entertainment; they’re a diversion from the reality of life. We live; we die; we experience pain and pleasure, never understanding how or why life started to begin with. The biggest conundrum: all life dies, all species have a beginning and an ending. Even this planet will one day cease to exist.
It doesn’t matter, though. We have the opportunity to live now, to experience. Each day is a microcosm of our life: in the morning we are born and in the evening we slip into the coma of sleep. If we’re lucky, we are reborn in the morning to enjoy the time we have in between those two points again. Every day is truly a gift. Every day is like Easter.
While I’m here (writing, I mean), I should apologize for abandoning this blog for so long. I took another full-time job, and it has kept me very busy. In addition, having written about the same topic for so long, I felt as if I were starting to sound like a broken record. It’s the same stuff, the same people, the same objections, the same issues. Every week, I received e-mails from believers with the same silly platitudes: “God uses pain and suffering to draw people to him….We live in a fallen world…Only God’s perfect love can save us.” Blah blah blah.
What you and I know is that, once you’ve saved yourself and your kids from religion, there’s not much else you can do. There will still be extremists, there will still be weak people who will fall for anything, and there will still be people who fool themselves into thinking that their proselytizing is somehow righteous, not realizing they’re nothing more than little children trying to gain their god-daddy’s approval and ultimately, a reward.
Yet in many ways, thanks to the Internet and social media, the society we live in has become more aware and more understanding of the variety of beliefs and lack of beliefs in our country and our world. Yes, I know there is ISIS & co, but the number of Americans who actually try to join their ranks is exceedingly small.
I see how secular our children’s generation is, how even those who believe in god do so with much less conviction and with much less arrogance. These kids, many just don’t care if you have religion or not. I hear them talk. They seem to embrace the “live and let live” approach to belief and nonbelief. It is only a matter of time before the ideas of our generation, the ideas that religion equates with morality and that everyone must believe, dies off. Even beliefs have a life cycle: they’re born, they live and they die.
I have enjoyed this journey, writing and discussing religion with all of you. I will still write from time to time, but not nearly as frequently as I once did. Feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to say “hi” or ask questions.
Hope everyone has a great day celebrating with friends and family. In the big picture we are all family, and it would be nice if we could all be friends.