So many semantics, so many different interpretations of various meanings, it is sometimes hard to believe that people are even able to communicate! No wonder so many wars have occurred in the name of religion/faith!
The other day I was talking with a woman about about a compassionate topic. During the conversation she shared that when someone posted “Happy Easter” on her news feed, she was offended. It made me realize that while I don’t really follow the whole Christian didactic philosophy regarding Easter, Good Friday, Sunrise service, etc., I wouldn’t have been offended had someone posted that on my news feed. I still like the idea of coloring eggs for Easter egg hunts, and that this religious holiday is associated with cute furry bunnies. It would be nice to simply say Happy Easter, with a shared understanding that the term Easter is derived from Eostre. If only everyone knew that over the past two millenia, something so pagan as worshiping the end of winter and praising the coming of spring is now associated with Cadbury eggs, perhaps a simple wish for happiness wouldn’t be taken offensively.
Take for example the fact that a young adult student, applying for an interfaith scholarship – of the humanist variety, touched on a recent topic I had posted a while back – the “faith” in interfaith. This young adult shared similar viewpoints to other conversations I’ve had with SBNRs/Agnostics/Atheists/Humanist (in no particular order there) about this term – but was proactive in his reaction to the term inter’faith’. Rather than remaining offended about the aspect of ‘faith’ in an interaction, they coined a new term (new to me, anyway) – inter’belief’.
I like this ‘new’ word. It leaves out the perception that another person is talking about their faith, which sometimes has one worrying as to whether or not they need to ward off a potential proselytizing effort. When we’re left talking about our beliefs, there seems to be a general understanding that the belief is that person’s, and not something someone else needs to take on as their own. That’s what keeps me doing this interfaith work. Striving to educate the masses that there’s really nothing to fear. Those that believe Easter is about a 3 day event can do so on their terms, while those of us that celebrate Eostre can worship the Goddess’ arrival of Spring. Each can do so happily, without fear that the other is doing it wrong.
These two contrasts of choice in interpretation are a constant reminder to me that everyday, in every moment, there is a teaching/learning lesson to be had. Sometimes I am the teacher, sometimes I am the student. So, now I’m excited about some potential phrases to use for next year when Eostre rolls around. I can’t wait to invite people to have a Happy Colored Egg experience, or that they have a Good Bunny Fur day! Or, even better, Great Day of Awakening Early! 😉