It’s been a few years now that I’ve been an atheist. Each year gets a little easier for everybody (not just for me; for all involved, for the religious family I come from and the religious family I married into) but there are, of course, still a few times each year where it feels like there are sensitive moments that need to be approached carefully. Easter is one of these days.
I remember in high school, when I was very strongly a Christian, I said that I felt Easter needed more recognition than Christmas because the Christ mythos was nothing without the resurrection. I said birth was one thing, but that the death and resurrection were the most important part of the story, and because of that I claimed Easter as my favorite holiday. With that in mind, it’s been the holiday that I distanced myself from the most. I have painted eggs with my nephews and niece (and lbr my glitter egg skills are on point) and enjoyed their pastel outfits, and I’ve of course accepted candy from my parents (you’re never too old, man) but besides that it always feels a bit awkward.
Thankfully, this year after I finished Bart Ehrman’s “Forged” I looked up his newer books that I didn’t have yet, and found this interview from Fresh Air.
The end of the interview has SUCH A GOOD way for my fellow former-believers and all non-Christians to look at Easter as a story of social justice.
“So what is the meaning of Easter now for me [as an agnostic]? I think Easter continues to show me that there is horrible injustice and oppression and political violence in the world, but that we should wrestle against it. In the Christian story of God raising Jesus from the dead God was saying ‘no’ to the Roman Empire and the forces that were aligned against him. There are political forces in our world today that do horrible things—acts of injustice and oppression, creating poverty and misery and suffering—and I think we should say no to them. And so I understand the Easter story not to be a historical event, but I still think that it says something very important about how we ought to live in the world.”
I love the shit out of this. As somebody who is passionate about social justice as a humanist this appeals to me in so many ways. Even if a person is purely secular and doesn’t celebrate Easter (or any other Spring-inspired holiday) I like the idea that we can still be inspired and celebrate in our own way by focusing on the idea of fighting injustices.
Continue the talk, if you want! Let me know if you have your own way of celebrating a secular or non-Christian Easter below.