reconciling my religious views with the celebration of Easter

Today is Easter Saturday. Not one of the major days of the Easter weekend, or at least, it’s not a public holiday, unlike Good Friday, Easter Sunday or Easter Monday. Which means for most people, it’s a fairly regular saturday, sandwiched between two important days in the Christian calendar.

But for non-Christians, Easter is a non-event. Unless, as I do, you choose to participate in the consumerist version of the holiday – a weekend long chocolate fest with the occasional fluffy bunny or chick.

I was raised in a fairly lax, but still Christian household. I attended an Anglican school, though we only had a religious service once each term and on major holidays. But somehow, the religious message never really sunk in. I emerged from these institutions as wanting to believe in something greater, but finding it difficult.

Even other religions, though they make sense, don’t really click with me. I’ve had the core tenets of Wicca explained, and while I like the ideology, the ritualism of practising and the symbolism just aren’t right for me.

I find the multiple gods of Hinduism fascinating, but still not something that I can fully believe in. Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Shintoism are ones I don’t know all that much about, but what I do know serves only to stimulate my intellectual curiosity, but not any kind of belief. Perhaps this is why I am so keen to study religion from a sociological standpoint.

I have trouble actually identifying with any religion, so for a while I supposed that made me an atheist, but I didn’t see any real proof that there was no God either. So I set my Facebook to agnostic and left it at that.

But then in that conversation with my Wiccan friend, we were discussing religion and ideology in general and she said something which really stuck with me, “don’t tell me what you don’t believe in, tell me what you do believe in.” Agnosticism seemed, suddenly, a lazy explanation for my feelings on religion.

So I thought about what my beliefs really are. I suppose they come closest to secular humanism (realism), but I still don’t know if that term fits quite right. But I do appreciate how truths in science constantly change with new information and discoveries, which is appropriate in our ever-expanding world.

Perhaps consumerism is my religion, but if it is, it seems rather a sad way to be. Material goods can only get you so much.

I suppose when it comes down to it, I believe in people.

So, this Easter, I will be eating chocolate, but mostly because it is so readily available and societal tradition implies that it’s what is expected of me. I will be seeing my family today to exchange hollowed-out, ovular confectionary and I will greet people with the phrase “Happy Easter!”. But for the most part, it will just be a regular weekend, full of work, family and chores.

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