April 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm (Uncategorized)

It’s Easter!

What exactly does that mean to a nonbeliever, though? I mean, Jesus is the man. But as someone who sort of rejects his divinity, I’ve always struggled to reconcile this notion of resurrection with my own thoughts. Jesus died…for our sins, maybe, to appease those in power, almost certainly, but did he come back? That’s the crux of it all, and that’s where one takes Christianity from a moral perspective to a theological dogma. Dogma is perhaps a strong word, but believing in God bringing someone back to life is certainly something that one has to believe strongly–not a lot of room for compromise.

I like to think of today as I think of many “holy” days…a time for reflection on what I believe, how to be tolerant and loving of others, and recognize that for some this is an important piece of who they are and how they see the world. People are allowed to believe anything they want! And I’ll tell you what, I love candy more than most. I’m all about the cadbury eggs and chocolate bunnies. However, I’m not going to lie to anyone and tell them I think that Jesus really did die for their sins, or mine. Maybe he did, and I’m wrong. If that’s the case, then I’m screwed…maybe. I don’t know how merciful God would be with me.

In any case, I think it important to reflect today on the kind of life Jesus lived, especially for those of us who don’t believe. What kind of life is worth living, what is the right way to live, and how can be better humans in general? Jesus was all about helping the poor, healing the sick, and extolling a way of life that said the kingdom of heaven is right here, inside you. He says, repeatedly, that money (and the pursuit of economic gains at the expense of others) is a hindrance to salvation. I wonder how much people think about that? Money is nice, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not the most important thing, or even near the top of the list.

Maybe remember that next time you gripe about welfare, food stamps, or social security. You might have to pay a little more in taxes, but consider the moral imperative we have been charged with. Blessed are the meek, the poor, the merciful.

The last month or so I’ve been trying to figure out who I am, what I believe, and what my place is in the world. If I can change one person’s life for the better, I think that’s enough. I’m trying to focus on being a better human being every day…looking inside myself and trying to have pure intentions with everything I do. Happiness comes in the service of others, in kind words, in shared laughter, in shared pain, in remembering someone’s name or giving them a hug. Everything we do ripples throughout space and time, no action is ever over.

I have been touched by so many people in my life, and they have all shaped who I am today. I am blessed to have been so lucky. I know there are others who are less lucky than I, and so I must focus on ending my own suffering and the suffering of others. Suffering begins when we fail to recognize our shared humanity, our shared values, and the love that can bring us all together.

So maybe Jesus died for our sins 2000 years ago, and maybe he didn’t. It’s almost irrelevant, frankly. We still have an obligation to be the best we can be, rejoicing in the happiness of others and knowing that kindness is its own reward.

Enjoy your chocolate!

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