Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

To commemorate the holiday here is a snippet from one of my favorite comedians, Bill Hicks. We both grew up in the same school district in Houston and he has been called the next Lenny Bruce. He was 32 when he died of pancreatic cancer, one year younger than Jesus (supposedly):


Anonymous said...

That's funny. Especially considering that one of my fleeting thoughts in church was that while I was sitting there listening to a message about "hope", I knew that our niece and nephew were wandering around the front yard looking for little plastic eggs left by a rabbit.

We haven't discussed the issue in great detail, but I am pretty sure we will never perpetuate the easter bunny myth... and quite frankly, I am becoming ever more leery of Santa Claus as well. I don't know how to handle that situation without being 'that' parent who is making it difficult on all the others, but I don't think I want my kids confusing all these secular and religious messages. I definitely want my kids to understand the spirit of giving, not the materialism of receiving.

In fact, I've often wondered if it wouldn't even be better to not even exchange gifts within the family, but to go out together and give into the community. Whether it be working a soup kitchen, providing necessities for a low-income family in West Dallas, and/or something altogether else.

After I think and say these things I always wonder if it means that I'm becoming increasingly liberal or conservative. Or if the two labels don't even apply.

Anonymous said...

And I have NEVER understood why a RABBIT leaves EGGS. Why isn't it the easter chicky?

Anonymous said...

When I was looking around for the origins of the Easter Bunny I came across this website. It seems VERY helpful and fairly well balanced on things. Thought I'd share:

JBW said...

As near as I could tell, the Easter Bunny comes from Pagan myths about one of four Wiccan ceremonies (springtime). The coloring of eggs is from many cultures but their significance being that Catholics can't eat them during Lent, so Easter was a time to do so. The bunny came from German immigrants that told their children that if they were good that they would get colored eggs in the nests they made in their hats. Finally the bunny and eggs became conflated in a European myth about hare's eggs. Hares raise their young in hollows called forms rather than burrows, which are very similar to the nests of a bird called a plover. Thus the hares were given credit for laying the eggs.

Of course, for a more plausible explanation I recommend watching the South Park episode "Fantastic Easter Special" on Comedy Central's site.

I empathize with you about the bunny and the Claus. In the event that I have children (that I know of;-)), I've often wondered what I will tell them about these creatures but I assume for reasons different than yours. I'm just very uncomfortable with the idea of lying to my children for any reason, even if it's to give them a little of the joy and wonderment that are associated with these characters. Plus I don't plan on raising them to believe in magical gods and floods and I foresee having a hard time finding the right line to follow when dispensing happy imaginary stories to them.

I do applaud your inclinations toward doing something selfless for the holidays. I've toyed with the idea of giving friends and family certificates telling them that a donation has been made in their name to a charity that I think they would support in lieu of giving gifts but (and I know this sounds bad) I didn't want to be a buzz kill on Christmas; or "that guy" as you said.

By the way, don't worry about your liberalism; my conservatism (yes, it's there) should balance you out. You yin, I'll yang.

I only took cursory look at the website you linked and I like most of what they say. I might have some words to say about their belief in "the generally positive influence that most religions have had on their followers and on society" but to their credit, they do address this point at least tangentially.

Anonymous said...

No, lying to my kids is definitely 1B if the whole mixed signals reasoning is 1A. I've never understood why parents perpetuate the myth that this fake, fat man always brings the best presents to Christmas. I mean, I used to get socks from Santa but he also brought something awesome. Most of my friends got their Nintendos from Santa. It's crazy. If you're going to spend that money, get some credit for it!

If we hadn't drawn names this year I was all set to lobby Shannon for donating to charities like this in people's names. Frankly, I think I'd still like to do this. Very few of the presents being thrown around are from the heart anymore.

My look at that website was only slightly deeper than yours. I ended up reading about the similarities between Christianity and Hinduism. I'm sure that you would reference wars and so-forth in terms of the general positive influence of the church, but for you to say that it might have a generally negative effect on society would be another 180 (well maybe agnostic to atheist is only a 90) from the great James. You may not remember, but Reed was just about to throw all faith-based organizations under the bus a couple years ago when you stepped in to defend some of their good works.

I think suicide bombings, civil wars and the like are definitely the minority. If you singled out any church in America (Jewish, Muslim, Christian, whatever) I think you'd find far more good in its followers than otherwise. There are also far more churches sending folks into bad neighborhoods, or foreign countries, than taking your money and wiping their taints with it. Religion has its share of bad apples, but no more than atheists do. People will always be people.