A Skeptic’s Easter

SunriseEaster is a supremely religious holiday, and I am not a particularly devout person. The Christian Easter creed is:

Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.

The act of belief, of faith in that basic, sacred divine progression is one I honestly wrestle with.

As most of my friends know, I self-identify as a Christian, albeit a very liberal, progressive, left-leaning one. I believe that the most important part of my faith is this:

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these. Matthew 22:30-31

I wholeheartedly believe that God is a positive, creative, loving influence in our world, and we Christians and other good men and women are God’s hands here on hearth. It is our responsibility, our sacred obligation, to love, serve, accept, encourage and give generously.

What I have a harder time with is the more metaphysical dimensions of faith.

I’m not sure I believe in a literal heaven and hell or eternal life, or verbal inspiration of the bible. (I do still believe it’s a sacred text, with many truths that stand through the centuries.)

I don’t believe in spiritual warfare, in angels and demons warring over our every action. (If there are angels, I think they have more important things to worry about than my F-bomb habit.)

While I certainly believe we humans have the power to destroy ourselves in any number of ways, I’m very skeptical of the second coming of Christ, and find any debate over pre- or post-tribulation rapture to be kind of ludicrous. (How about feeding the hungry instead?)

I can believe, in a symbolic sense, that Christ conquered death and hell to give us life. That Christ taught us, through sacrifice, what unconditional love is, and through him we can learn about love and selfless living. That Christ, as God made flesh, is a transformational bridge between the human condition and the divine that makes divine love accessible to us all.

With that, in spite of the stubborn blind spots in my faith, I can celebrate Easter.

Alleluia! Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

4 Responses to “A Skeptic’s Easter”

  1. Joni Zander Says:

    Jeri – you are much farther along on this accepting piece than I have. I truly don’t mean to offend anyone, but I have the hardest time with Easter of all the holidays because it is just SO irrational! I just can’t wrap my head around intelligent, educated people believing, and in such great numbers, that someone was tortured to death, buried in a cave and then came back to life.

    And yes, let’s feed the hungry instead, shall we?

  2. Isaac Says:

    Interesting piece. Good thoughts. I wish more people would spend their lives loving their neighbors and less time trying to save, spite or condemn their neighbors. More idealism, less idolatry.

  3. Edward Leche Says:

    Thanks Jeri
    I love the raw honesty and transparency, you certainly are not alone in your wonderment at the mysteries of God’s purpose and plan, I am right there with you. Here are a few things I am very thankful for in Christian spirituality as we wrestle with these eternal questions together:

    #1 We do not serve a God who asks us to check our brains at the door of the church. In fact He challenges us over and over again to “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. (Psalm 34:8)

    #2 The next line in Psalm 34:8 is “How blessed is the person who trusts (takes refuge) in Him.” In Christian spirituality we can have faith and trust in God (even when we do not completely understand), because we know He is good …
    … And we know that He is good … because we have taken that taste, and we have seen.

    Someone characterized “grace” for me as God being able to do things for me that I cannot do for myself (nor necessarily deserve to have done for me). To me physical death is a given, spiritual death is not. It makes complete sense to me that the God of the universe (who is able), is so good that He subjects himself to physical death so that I might know him, and have eternal spiritual (even physical?) life in relationship with Him. The good God of the Universe is for me and the Easter reality is His ultimate way of demonstrating that love for me. To me if Easter did not happen, then not only is our Christian spirituality meaningless, but so is everything else.
    He is risen indeed.
    Grace and peace
    EDL

  4. Holy Says:

    I have issues with much of the same but then religious studies will do that to you – delving into early Christian history is a dangerous thing, beginning with Constantine’s Mithraism bastardizations and ending with all the subversive movements afoot that ensured only certain nterpretations of Christ’s ministry remained, while others got buried with scrolls for centuries.

    For better or worse, the Jesus we know – in only those few select years we know of his life – had a living, walking, embodied ministry. He was not pinning his salvation hopes on some future eschatology with the Father except, arguably, in his very last days – he was very living a more Eastern and Ram Dass’ philosophy of Be Here Now.

    So your point on feeding the hungry is well made. Although Glenn Beck would accuse such social concerns as being Marxist ones, you know. :)