As an atheist with a Christian heritage, I still enjoy holidays such as Easter and Christmas even though I don’t believe in God or religious miracles. Fortunately, my family is not especially religious. My family is nominally Christian, but we rarely go to church.
I am happy, though, to accompany my relatives to church for Easter or other important holidays for tradition’s sake. These days, I view my occasional church visits as a cultural experience and a way to be respectful of my family. Just as I am respectful of religious weddings and funerals, I am respectful when my relatives want the family to go to church on important days. Often, though, my family doesn’t even attend church on important Chrisitian holidays. Instead, we usually just make efforts to cook food and spend time together. This suits me just fine as a heathen atheist.
I went to visit my grandparents this past weekend, but I didn’t go to church or think much about Jesus. Instead, I foused on spending some quality time with my family, which is the best way for me to enjoy a holiday. I ate great food, including my grandfather’s butter-loaded heart attack mashed potatoes and my grandmother’s famous green bean casserole. I went shopping with my grandmother, who was dismayed that more stores weren’t open on Easter day. I drank rum and coke with my grandfather, who is very proud of his well-stocked bar. His rum and cokes consist of rum, ice, and a trace amount of coke that is barely detectable. I also walked laps around the indoor shopping mall with my grandmother (since it was snowing in Maryland this weekend!), had lunch with a college friend, and tortured my grandparents’ cat as I used to do as a child. Naturally, I also consumed large quantities of chocolate Easter eggs. I tried to make an Easter snowbunny this weekend, but there wasn’t quite enough snow.
As an atheist, I don’t consider Easter day any more holy than any other day. However, I am glad to reserve the day, traditionally, for spending time with family. I think many atheists and agnostics are like me in how I approach religious holidays. I still value Christian holidays and many Christian traditions– largely because I love my family and enjoy spending time with them– even though I don’t believe in God and his miracles.
So, what did everyone else do for Easter? Besides eat plenty of chocolate, of course?