Easter AND April Fool’s Day

One-in-five express an opposition to organized religion in general.

There’s probably some sort of theological joke I should make here, how, after Easter, when most of the disciples saw Jesus, doubting Thomas, who was not present, said, “You’re kidding me!”

The last time Easter was on April 1 was in 1956; no wonder I don’t remember it. But before that, it was in 1945, 1934, and 1923, each eleven years apart. There was another wave in the 19th century: 1888, 1877, 1866, eleven years apart.

After 2018, it’ll happen again in 2029 and 2040. Yup, 11 years. This kind of thing fascinates me.

So why is it that modern Christianity isn’t appealing to more people? Is it that secularism is “winning”?

Or is it that some folks, purporting to lift the Christian banner, foolishly embrace concepts that do not seem to be consistent with Jesus’ teachings of feeding the hungry and welcoming the outcast? Those looking from the outside may think, understandably, “If THAT is Christianity, to hell what that!”

Interesting results of some Pew Research polling in the last couple years:

The term “spiritual but not religious” label applies to a growing share of Americans. And the methodology was fascinating – The survey “asked two separate questions: ‘Do you think of yourself as a religious person, or not?’ and ‘Do you think of yourself as a spiritual person, or not?’ The results presented here are the product of combining responses to those two questions.”

A growing share of Americans say it’s not necessary to believe in God to be moral. Interestingly, “attitudes about the necessity of belief in God for morality have also changed among those who do identify with a religion.”

And the vast majority of these religious “nones” (78%) say they were raised as a member of a particular religion before shedding their religious identity in adulthood. “One-in-five express an opposition to organized religion in general. This share includes some who do not like the hierarchical nature of religious groups, several people who think religion is too much like a business and others who mention clergy sexual abuse scandals as reasons for their stance.”

Having gone about 360 degrees in my own religious quest – no, that’s not correct, since I didn’t end up in the same place as I started – I understand more than most the feelings of those who believe in God and those who don’t.

I DO wish each side could find a way to hear the other’s point of view. But perhaps that’s my own foolishness.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

4 thoughts on “Easter AND April Fool’s Day”

  1. In my own case I have come to actively disbelieve in the Supernatural in general, whether that is formal religion, New Age hokum, or superstition like astrology, ghosts and spirits, etc. However, I DO find that a kind of Secular Christianism serves as one of the foundations of my values, i.e., the humane teachings of Chairman Jesus. The emphasis on the Golden Rule, Forgiveness, and how to treat other people are meaningful guides, and they fit in well with related elements of Taoism and Buddhism. For me, it’s all about how I live my life and treat others, and any otherworldly rewards or punishments are irrelevant.

  2. There are plenty of people who acknowledge no deity and still manage to live a good and upright life. I remember this guy:

    Abou ben Adam (may his tribe increase!)
    awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
    And saw, within the moonlight of his room,
    Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
    an angel, writing in a book of of gold.
    Exceeding peace had made ben Adam bold,
    And to the Presence in the room he said:
    “What writest thou?” The vision raised its head,
    And, with a look made of all sweet accord,
    Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
    “And is mine one?” said Abou, “Nay, not so,”
    Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
    But cheerily still, and said, “I pray thee, then,
    Write me as one who loves his fellow men.”
    The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
    It came again, with a great awakening light,
    And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
    And lo! Ben Adam’s name led all the rest.

  3. Sometimes I wonder if the increasing de-affiliation with groups like churches is a mark of several things increasing in our culture:

    a. People being expected to be “on call” 24/7, even in careers that DON’T involve saving lives. The creep of work into our off-work hours.

    b. the idea – which I see in some circles – that “the nuclear family should be all you need” and of course where does that leave people like me, who never married or had children? I often feel like the spare giraffe on the Ark…

    c. An increasing panoply of entertainment options that can be enjoyed with never leaving your house, and so groups like churches (and some others) that might actually, gasp, expect something of you (like, volunteer work) become seen as a less-desirable way to spend one’s time.

    d. Possibly, a sort of permanent-adolescent mindset, where anything that involves wonder and genuine amazement (which, done right, worship can) is immediately suspect and a subject of snark? I don’t know.

    I tend to hear this kind of thing most about churches, though secular groups, some of ’em, are suffering too: the AAUW chapter of which I am a part is probably going to fold in the next five years if we don’t get some new members – I am the youngest and I am nearly 50.

    I wonder if some of it is that everyone is so exhausted these days that going back out in an evening, to something that might be “work,” is something people say “no thanks” to. The problem is: increasingly, I think, the “good things” are going to be done by the volunteers, but if no volunteers step up – we’re going to lose a lot of important things. I’m not sure how the food banks and the like are managing for volunteers; the one my church used to work with closed and the other ones are only open at times when I am in class, so I could not volunteer there.

  4. I asked my non believe son, if he asked for anyone’s help if he was in trouble, he did not know what to answer.

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