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Why Do Atheists Celebrate “Easter” And What Do They Teach Their Children?

Kiablo Easter

This is yours truly one Easter. 
The tear was because I absolutely hated this ridiculous outfit and sincerely didn’t want to wear it.

I suppose to really understand the question about why atheists celebrate any holiday you would first have to understand the individual. Neither myself or any other atheist can speak for the entire sect of atheists but we are certainly capable of speaking for ourselves. So that is exactly what I will do with this blog, speak for myself.

There are several holidays that I always looked forward to as a kid. Easter just happens to be one of them. I never looked forward to them because we went to church on Easter Sunday. I didn’t look forward to Easter because I enjoyed dressing up. I enjoyed Easter for every other superficial reason children in America do. The candy.

To be fair it’s was never just about the candy. It’s was also about the toys and the Easter egg hunt as well. You honestly can’t go wrong with some new toys, candy, and an Easter egg hunt. Now that I’m a little older I realize that the superficial reasons were nice but when I really reflect on the past I think about how excited I was to go to my Grandma’s house. Or how much I enjoyed my family’s Easter meals. They weren’t just any ole meals, there was deviled eggs.

Everyone knows in the South you only get deviled eggs like twice a year, three times if you are lucky! So growing up I looked forward to Easter for a variety of reasons. None of which require a belief in a higher power. When I think about my young daughters I see no reason to deprive them of the same experiences. I want to tell you a story about my oldest. To understand this story you should know that she was indoctrinated prior to my deconversion.

We were cruising around Big Lots when she was about the age of two. She said to me, “Mommy, can I have that bunny rabbit.” It was so close to Easter that I replied, “Not right now, maybe the Easter Bunny will bring it to you.” Well bless her sweet little two year old heart. She was so offended by my response that she said, “Mommy, everyone knows there’s no such thing as an Easter Bunny.” I laughed at her intelligence and said, “Well then maybe Mommy will buy it for you for Easter.” Of course she wasn’t impressed with this response either. At two she wanted it now!

What’s key about this story is that later in life my daughter confronted me. She was probably about 5 or 6 when she gave us the most life altering lectures we’ve had to date. In a nutshell she was angry about being lied to. It didn’t matter that the Easter Bunny and Santa were fun imaginative stories. It mattered that she trusted us and we lied to her. In an effort to conform to societies expectations I never considered that a child might be angered by such a seemingly innocent decision.

So that brings us to present time. With our 17 month old daughter we haven’t really figured out how to do it “right”. But as they say there is never a good time to do the wrong thing. We have no intentions on ever telling her that the Easter Bunny, Santa, or even the Tooth Fairy are real. We will introduce her to the characters and let her enjoy the mythology, but they will be presented to her as such, a myth. And when she’s old enough to ask about the religious aspects of the holidays we will do the same.

While we are on the subject this reminds me that a fellow atheist is writing a book that I’m much anticipating. It’s titled, “The Easter Bunny is a Monster”.

The Easter Bunny Is A Monster

They don’t know I’m putting this plug in to my blog so I hope they don’t mind. If you are interested please check out their Facebook page. I believe you can still order their book at http://www.peterskeeter.com/ .

Any ways if you have any questions about this subject please leave a comment. I look forward to engaging you all in discussion.

14 Comments

  1. Allallt (Post author)

    Today my 7-year old brother came back from school with chocolate, some of it was for me. I ate it. I then tried to figure out what he knew about the Christian Easter story. He knew the basics: Jesus worn a crown of thorns and carried his cross to a place where people then nailed him to the cross, he died, the people put him in a tomb, three days later he rose again.

    That is not a bad memory for a 7-year old. I explained that the Bible isn’t actually sure if Jesus carried the cross himself, because Simon of Cyrene may have helped (because more than one person wrote an account and they confused some details). My brother then talked me through the decorated box he had brought chocolate back for me in. There was a cross, a hot cross bun, a bunny rabbit, an egg and some other stuff.

    (And that concludes the “what do I teach my family?” bit — but I thought you might like the rest of the story)

    I then went to my room and picked up a towel to go and have a shower, and my brother was heading towards the same bathroom. In my dad’s house, a quirk of a conversion, there are 4 toilets, so I asked him if he could go to another toilet because that’s the only shower (except for my dad’s en suit). He said “you’ve got to be kidding me” (cheeky for a 7 year old, isn’t he?). He then closed the door, locked it, and took a long time to do his business. When he came out I told him that wasn’t very nice because it would have been easy for him to use a different toilet. He then asked me “will I go to Hell now?”

    What do you say to a 7-year old that says that? I said “Do you really think God is going to put you in fire, forever, just for that?” and he said “I don’t think I believe in God”.

    A little later we talked about the myths of Slenderman and the Danish “Men in Black” (a mythology very similar to the Slenderman stories). My brother told me they must be lies because if they were true they wouldn’t be similar, they would be the same. He’s 7.

    Reply
  2. IAMM3Z (Post author)

    Thanks for sharing your story with me Allallt. I love to hear personal stories about children who are secure enough to express their original thoughts about theology. Are you parents religious and is your brother heavily indoctrinated? It sounds like he is picking up on rational thinking skills from someone, perhaps yourself?

    My oldest daughter is 8 and she tries to piece together science and theology. She can come up with some pretty awesome theories that are equally as plausible as stories I’ve heard from adults who have spent their entire lives studying theology.

    You’ve probably heard it before but your brother may enjoy this story:
    http://www.atheistthinktank.net/articles/who_am_i.html

    I’ve heard some pretty good counter arguments from theists about Horus and how some of the “facts” aren’t actually similar but never the less the idea remains.

    One of my favorite books for my daughter is Just Pretend by Dan Barker. It’s definitely worth checking out if he’s a reader.

    Reply
  3. thematrixq (Post author)

    Reblogged this on Question Everything! and commented:
    Thought provoking!!

    Reply
    1. IAMM3Z (Post author)

      Thank you for the reblog thematrixq !

      Reply
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  8. Hunt FOR Truth (Post author)

    I was the oldest – at 11 I was told by my 9 yo brother that Santa was made up and my 8 yo sister piped up that this was so… I still recall being angry with my parents. I was such an idealist. Life goes on – but the thing is, I had an issue that only just became clear – I didn’t trust my parents. I think (I’d just suggest) work on making sure trust is a sure thing between you all.
    Happy Holidays
    ~ Eric

    Reply
    1. IAMM3Z (Post author)

      Eric,

      Yes, trust is a must. If you don’t establish it early your kids won’t come to you when they really need someone later on. (The teenager years!)

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I don’t recall where my disbelief in Santa originated. I wasn’t angry at my parents when I found out though, I just accepted their lie because I believed when your parents made mistakes you didn’t question it.

      It took me awhile to learn that my parents were responsible for their mistakes. As a parent I tell my kids when I’m wrong and I make amends. I believe in being as responsible for my actions as I expect them to be.

      Happy Holidays to you as well my friend.

      Reply
      1. Hunt FOR Truth (Post author)

        yes, its best this way that you’ve described. We are parents that love our children and we sometimes need corrections too – enjoy each other

        Reply
  9. Hunt FOR Truth (Post author)

    some atheists tell their kids there is a Santa – never ran across an atheist Easter story

    Reply
    1. IAMM3Z (Post author)

      No atheist you know celebrates Easter still??

      Reply
      1. Hunt FOR Truth (Post author)

        no, not to recall of my poor memory

        Reply

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