Sunday, April 12, 2009

So What's with this Rabbit Rising from the Dead?

Socrates said, "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." I freaking love that guy.

Okay, talking about religion is a very dicey subject. You are more than likely going to offend somebody, no matter what you say. Therefore, I'm going to try to skirt around religious dogma as I try to make a point that really doesn't have a whole lot to do with religion, but I sort of need that example to make sense.

I'm with Socrates. I'm fairly well-educated, I spend an enormous amount of time thinking about various things, I read almost obsessively, and I crave intellectual discourse. However, I've come to the conclusion that the more I allegedly know, the less I'm sure of. It's all about planes of thought and how you're looking at things, and it's kind of frightening how lost you can feel the more you know.

One of my major pet peeves, perhaps as a result, is that I cannot stand people who think they know everything. I cannot understand why some people memorize something they perceive as fact then stick to that same interpretation. It drives me especially crazy when these same people look down on others for not sharing their interpretation.

I'm vocalizing this now because it's occurred to me this weekend how ignorant some professed Christians are about the holiday of Easter. I was raised Roman Catholic and, although I'm no longer practicing (the church and I parted ways over our differing interpretation of Addie's worth considering that she was born out of wedlock), those long hours of CCD from first grade through sophomore year of high school did provide me with a solid base in terms of religious education. Reading the Bible several times on my own and studying various other religions have given me even further knowledge. However, "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing." The concept of God is both reassuring and terrifying, the thought of what's out there--as Stephen King wrote, "There are other worlds than these"--beyond all comprehension, at least as far as I'm concerned.

The first thing that really set my teeth on edge was the realization that many professed Christians are completely clueless as to what Easter is and what it is celebrating. I heard a scary number of people at the store at several points this weekend talking about how Christ was crucified on Easter Sunday. Then there was the conversation about what and why Lent is. I just looked at the crucifixes around their necks and their pro-life bumper stickers and wondered why. It just reminded me that, in my experience, many of the loudest mouthpieces of religion have little to no understanding of the teachings of Christ, the text of the Bible beyond the clergyman's interpretation, or the value of putting it all into perspective.

Then the more obvious irritation, one obviously shared by many, is the whole Easter Bunny thing. I realize that I'm sort of embodying hypocrisy here--Addie and Belle had an Easter basket from the little furry guy at home, had an egg hunt at my mom's house (and more candy than you can imagine in one place), and will be getting further loot from Pythagorus' parents tomorrow--but where the heck did this rabbit thing come from (that's a rhetorical question ... I don't know the answer, actually, but I'm going to look it up in just a minute now that I've piqued my own curiousity ... it doesn't change the point, though)? Is it okay for Americans to take a religious holiday and complete usurp it into a Hallmark haven?

I'm aware that the same could be said for Christmas, although I'm pretty sure that even most children could tell you, "It's Jesus' birthday", which is maybe why I'm all worked up about this Easter ignorance. If kids could say, "It's the day Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven ... and the Easter Bunny comes and gives us lots and lots and lots of candy," I'd find it a little more tolerable.

Am I way out on a limb here?