Happy Easter!

I hope this joyous holiday finds all my readers healthy and well. Allow me to grant a blessing to you in commemoration of this holiest of days.

UPDATE: Celebrate Easter with the Carnival of the Godless at A Rational Being.

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 11
Atlas Shrugged: The Craft of Not Acting
New on the Guardian: Beyond Debating God’s Existence
You Got Your Ideology in My Atheism!
About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • http://dominicself.co.uk Dominic Self

    Hehe… easter eggs galore here, hurrah :D Happy Easter*!

    *(Well it beats ‘springfest’)

  • Azkyroth

    Hah. I find it ironic that the verification thing contains the letters UCD because I printed out a copy of this and taped it to a big bulletin-board type thing that one of the campus groups had set up with the caption “what does easter mean to you?” ^.^ I suppose I should have followed up on the reactions, but I figured it would provoke thrown stones…or eggs… x.x

  • Montu

    It would be nice if Christians actually listened to their own teachings, at that. I was out today taking pics, and I wondered over to a church, thinking it might be an interesting place to snap a few off. So I poked my head in the front door, and decided against it, and started walking down the front steps, when a few chruch-goers walked out. At the bottom of the steps there was an elderly homeless woman sitting there clutching her stomach, and yelling at us that she was starving. I stopped and watched the church-goers as they moved away from her, trying everything they could to avoid her, which just made her more desperate. Finally she looked at me and told me that she was starving, so I went over and handed her a dollar. As a handed it to her, she grabbed my hand with both of hers, and squeezed it, saying “bless you, bless you.” It was barely a whisper, and she looked as if she were going to cry. She almost didn’t let me go. I wished her a happy Easter, and walked away, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this incident. These “good Christians” had just been listening about their Christ’s resurection, and his lessons about helping the helpless, on the day he supposedly rose from the dead to “save us from our sins,” yet they couldn’t take that past the front door. They wouldn’t lift a finger to help her, instead heading to their nice cars to have Easter brunch (this was in a very rich neighborhood, as well. These people could spare a buck). No, instead, it was the atheist among them that took “the teachings of Christ to heart,” and helped. I really don’t know what this says, but it bothered me deeply. Happy Eastre…

  • EnigmaOfSteel

    The incident that Montu describes, while not indicative of all Christians, is an example of a significant incongruity, namely that some Christians pick and choose the parts of their faith that will be followed or discarded. Many of these people are happy to quote Bible passages when it compliments, but discard the teachings that conflict with their lifestyles.

    Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to money. As we know, it is possible in some respects to twist Bible meaning like a pretzel, but in the area of money, at least the central figure in Christianity is fairly clear. My reading of the Bible finds that, while there are some exceptions, Jesus generally has little regard for the accumulation of material wealth, and openly advocates on several occasions giving it to the less fortunate. There are enough parables and references to money by Jesus, that his general theme is fairly clear.

    Doesn’t stop people from trying to obfuscate. The Bible passage where Jesus states that it’s easier to thread a camel through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to get to heaven, is one example where wiggle room is often attempted. Some try to turn this passage into a commentary strictly on what is possible through their god. While it does show what is possible, this should not diminish the potential implications for the rich. If I were a believer and read this, coming directly from Jesus, I would have serious reservations about accumulating material wealth.

    And yet today many of these Christians embrace wealth, with capitalism even tied into their faith. Listen close and you will hear the code words – “blessings”, “increase”, or my favorite “abundance”. With these words it is now good to talk about having material wealth. After all, their god is responsible for everything, so if they have wealth then it is their god’s will. Makes you wonder about the people who don’t have wealth – what is this god saying to them?

    I think this money issue particularly burns me because of all things, I have an extreme dislike for hypocrisy. So I particularly take issue with Christians who put their faith out on display, and would instruct others how to live, and yet at the same time have such blatant disregard in terms of living according to their central teacher’s position on material wealth.

    To be clear, this is a problem with some Christians. I also was near a church this past Sunday, and in fact attended a service. Very few in that congregation would have ignored the woman on the steps. A recent poll found that in the study sample, the religious did indeed give more than their non-religious counterparts. Particularly in the South, the religious gave more than their counterparts in other areas of the country. I will have to find the link to this survey to be sure my recall is accurate.

    Of course one can question where they gave. For example, the question I had upon reading was, how much of the giving was self serving to mega churches, and how much actually made it to the poor and destitute. It’s unfortunate that the more high profile Christians these days are often those who condone excesses of material wealth. But anytime I get too steamed, I remember that the local homeless shelter this Easter Sunday was at the church three blocks from my home, and the people taking care, cooking the food, and washing the cloths were predominantly the religious.

  • BlackWizardMagus

    The religious do often give time and effort into stuff like that. The Boy Scouts, for example, are tremendous givers and workers for the poor, even though they have earned my ire for the increasing number of atheists and free-thinkers they have kicked out on religious grounds. However, to me, that’s rather irrelevant. Not that their efforts are worthless, but that it’s still clearly not what Jesus wanted. The parable, for example, of the rich kid who was told to give all his money and possessions away and follow Jesus if he wants to be saved, tells clearly of living your life as a charity, not doing it only on Christmas and Easter. Some of the people who were in the Boy Scouts with me back when I was a teen lived in quite spacious houses, but thought they were being perfect Jesus followers by doing one or two service projects a year.

    Of course, I understand that it’s impossible to be PERFECTLY charitable; we can’t all find our tax money in fish. But the main christian view of the strong, conservative, middle class is entirely hypocritical. It is further ironic that it’s the middle class most affected and most opposed to things like welfare and unemployment when, being the religious right, they have the strongest incentive to support it!

    So you have a good point; it’s one more example of hypocrisy. And as to that survey; I would argue that the reason for that is not religion but social class. Most of the most religious states are also the poorest, but they try and give the most. I don’t think there is any way to prove it’s religious; I think it’s merely that people who live just above poverty and work hard to make it know that a little extra help here and there can make all the difference to a single mother, while the more liberal parts of the country are also richer and less attuned to that (also, there has ben debate that the liberal parts give MORE money, just less PROPORTIONALLY, which makes sense when we are thinking of Wall Street and such).

  • Philip Thomas

    Many people (myself included) do not give money to beggars on the streets. There are a variety of reasons for this, but at least some of them are to do with the beggar’s welfare and the good of society as a whole. Some of them are pretty selfish though…

  • Mattg

    Thanks, Thanks and Thanks.