I hope you have a lovely Easter day in whatever way you are celebrating. We are getting together with my brothers-in-law. I would like to make dinner here at our place, but there’s a chance we’ll go out for dinner too.
Getting out of bed this morning, Tina groggily said, “Happy Easter.” Without thinking, I said, “Christ the Lord has risen today.” In my mind I sang, “Hallelujah.”
There may have been an element of sarcasm in my voice. But the response was as spontaneous as responding with “What’s up?” after someone says, “What’s up?”
Of course I don’t believe that Christ rose today, nor any day. I blame that response on over 20 years of Christian conditioning.
I grew up in what I call The Yeshua Fog™ (my regular readers are very familiar with that term). The Yeshua Fog descends upon the locations in the US that make it incredibly difficult not to assimilate Christianity. Mine was in North Carolina. But yours can be in Wasilla, Alaska. Don’t be fooled. There are places that can be called The Mohammed Fog or the Hindu Fog. Back in the day there was the Zeus Fog and the Ra Fog. Every country on Earth makes it difficult not to believe the local flavor of religion. If I took on my surrounding fog, I’d be probably be Catholic today. But I could also find a slew of other beliefs to latch onto.
Like I wrote yesterday, perhaps atheism is a version of indecision. But don’t quote me on that. It’s me being funny.
Growing up, I went to church two to three times a week. Church on Easter Sunday was a must. I remember going to church while on Spring Break one year back in the 80s with my dad at Myrtle Beach. I was 11 or 12. We attended a strange church with strange people singing all the familiar hymns. I remember like it was yesterday. We sat on an outside row near a window in the back. We left immediately after the service.
In college, the rebellious side of me said, “Now that it’s my choice, I choose not to go to church.” As a freshman at a Christian college, all the friends I grouped with found a similar guilt slash decision. The first semester, you could always find a group that wanted to attend a church. But by the second semester, church attendance tapered off. By senior year, I only went when I had to.
I’ve called myself an atheist since at least 2004 when the “gnu atheist” movement gained momentum. But I concentrated on letting go of religion since college (circa 1996). I affectively stopped praying around 2000, but residual, spontaneous prayers blurted into my mind during plane turbulence through 2002 or 2003. For a long time, I didn’t want Christianity to go away. I just didn’t like the version that had been given to me. I set out to reconcile the things that I were demonstrably not true, like hell, intolerance toward certain groups, anti-abortionism, etc.
I became like Julie Ferwerda in a way. I purposely set out to challenge the generally accepted position. But when it’s all said and done, I couldn’t reconcile that if god exists, he’s done an awful job using available resources to reveal himself.
But today’s Easter. I’ll probably work most of the morning and then celebrate a little with my brothers-in-law, like I said. I’ll probably say some blasphemous things to overcompensate for some of the guilt that I still feel especially on days like today. But I have no regrets about the atheist position. It’s as simple as that.
I mean, there’s a zillion places to eat in Chicago, and I choose cooking for myself. That’s my parable for today.
There’s a zillion different ways to “believe,” but I choose non-belief.