I thought for a while on how I would approach the following subject. More specifically my thoughts lingered on IF I should attempt to discuss my feelings on something. I know every time I bring up my frustrations with the religious community I am opening myself to complications that honestly I would rather not face. I feel, however, that it is not fair that I should be silent when others can speak their minds without concern. Not that life is ever fair nor should anyone expect it to be. However, in a country where we supposedly value the freedom of speech above all else I find it is almost my duty to occasionally point out hypocrisy when I see it. The challenge, of course, is to do it in a way that is not filled with anger and bitterness. To be honest, I have not always succeeded in my attempts. It has come time, however, to try again.
Easter is one of those holidays that just can’t be avoided. This is especially true if you have children. The wonderful fantasy of the Easter Bunny is a strong draw for a child. The fact the he brings candy, toys, and any manner of other things makes Easter a very exciting time for children. As Atheist parents, my wife and I decided to let out daughter believe in the fantasy until she is old enough to question it. Then, we will tell her the truth. The same goes for things like Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy, and whatever else she asks about. At that time our hope is that she will understand why we lied to her. None of this has anything to do with what I really want to discuss but I feel it is important to understand how we approach such holidays. That way, at least, some of the potential rebuttals are counteracted.
I have accepted that the public celebration of Easter, both its pagan origins and its Christian heritage, is unavoidable in modern, western society. The problem I have with the holiday, at least recently, is that it seems to inspire people to shout their faith to the hills for about three days in April and then apparently forget about it for rest of the year. Beginning on Friday, I watched as some of the worst sinners I have ever met flooded Twitter and Facebook with all number of “He is Risen” and true “Meaning of Easter” posts that continued throughout the weekend. They posted pictures in their Easter clothes while standing outside their respective churches and smiled as they peddled their holier than thou attitude all over the internet. I saw posts from people that I know are habitual liars, repeat adulterers, thieves, and abusers extol the virtues of being a Christian while not even taking the time to acknowledge that they themselves are in desperate need of forgiveness. Forgiveness both from the God they praise and the families they say they cherish. It angers me that that these same people can act so magnanimous on one day, no, a few HOURS of one day of the year and yet be so vile the rest of the time. Easter is known to bring out the casual Christian but I wonder why no one calls them on it. I guess it has to do with the whole “judge not least you be judged” thing but I still have a hard time accepting the whole 24 hours of piety bit. It is especially frustrating when these same people look down on people who don’t do the same.
I don’t have a problem with “sin”, whatever that means. People make mistakes and everyone has to live with the things they do in life. One has to make amends the best they can. I know I pay for my own failures everyday. I try to learn from those mistakes and make myself a better person in the process. So “sin” isn’t the issue here. What is the issue is the fake devoutness that comes around any large religious holiday with Easter being the worst season for such inanity. Asking for forgiveness is fine and even noble in many ways but what looks foolish are the people who jump on the God bandwagon when it is convenient. Can you live an unrepentant life of lies, crime, and deceit for six days a week only to give lip service to faith on Sunday and expect to have those things washed away? Can you be that person for 364 days a year and yet act as clean as new fallen snow on the 365th day?
What I saw over the weekend was not humbleness, not an expression of heartfelt faith, not even pride in being a part of the chosen few. No, this weekend I saw displays of arrogance. Arrogance in that one day of faith makes up for all the bad someone has done. Arrogance that said “I am better than you because today I celebrate God” even though any other day that same person acts anything but Christ-like. I guess it is this one thing that angers me most about religion. Well, not so much religion but many of its followers. It is the people that don’t live by their faith but tell others how to live that drove me away from religion in the first place. It is these same people who fill up places like Facebook and Twitter with phony platitudes about God and Christ while living a life of sin without remorse that made me see religion for the lie it really is.
I am not calling anyone out here. You know if what I said applies to you or not. I have literally hundreds of people I follow both directly on Twitter and through other means. In fact, if you are reading this then the odds are pretty good I am not talking about you. So, don’t take it personal. It is just an observation based on things I read and saw since Friday. I feel the same way about sports fans who seem to come out of the woodwork when a team starts winning. There is a type of person out their who always wants to be part of a winning team even when they have done nothing to deserve inclusion. The same goes for these Easter Sunday Christians. I hope the occasional displays of false piety makes them feel better about the pain they have brought to their family, their friends, and their communities. Just know that generally people can see through the bullshit and if there truly is a God I am pretty sure he can see through it too.