This morning’s Weekend Breakfast show on BBC Five Live included an interview with a vicar. The presenter asked him whether his own children were more interested in the Easter Egg part of Easter Sunday than the bit where Jesus Christ comes back to life after being crucified on Good Friday. If it ever happened, this doesn’t seem to have been a good Friday for God’s lad. Anyway, amid lots of laughter, the vicar revealed that his children, aged two and five, probably preferred the joys of chocolate to the resurrection story because “they’re too young to understand the true meaning of Easter”. He seemed an amiable enough vicar but I have a problem with what follows for his children in the years to come.
It is not hard to understand why children follow the religion of their parents. Few decide to become, say, muslims or catholics, if their parents are mainstream Church of England. They learn this stuff along the way, as if it’s factual and real. If children are not taught to follow the religion of their parents I put it to you, my loyal reader, that sooner rather than later they will come to the conclusion that this religion malarkey is not for them.
Behind the laughter lies something more serious. No part of me believes that the proselytisation and indoctrination of children is A Good Thing, yet here on the radio this seemingly kindly vicar was implying that when his children were old enough they would understand that it was entirely possible to someone to die and later come back to life, whilst simultaneously being taught science at school which rendered such a ‘miracle’ all but impossible.
“Ah yes,” I hear you say. “Easter is a fine tradition, an integral part of our heritage and a reflection of our Christian values.” Well, that’s true enough but it’s also a tradition from back in the days when Man had no idea of how things worked and why. We now know about the theory, which is to say the fact, of Evolution and on that basis it renders much of the bible (other religious texts are available) can’t be true. You can draw comfort that, like Jesus, you will survive your own death but we know, unless you have new evidence to the contrary, that it is physically impossible to survive your own death.
Don’t get me wrong: I am grateful to the believers among you that we have two banks holidays to commemorate the resurrection and I like Easter Eggs (I shall buy mine in the Easter Egg sales next week) and I hope you enjoy your own Easter however you like to. But on serious reflection, we’re probably commemorating something which never happened.
The true meaning of Easter for most people is time-off, going to the football, having a few pints, overdosing on chocolate and watching telly. The resurrection can wait.