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How would you explain Easter without referreing it to as the ressurection of Christ?

I've a 3 1/2 year old. Being a single mother and due to my financial situation I live with my super religious parents. I've already given in to allowing my mom to take her for "Sunday School" most because I thought she could meet other children there. With the upcoming Easter holidays I'm begining to wonder how I can explain to my daughter what Easter is without bringing religion in to it. I'm sure she will get a religious explanation in church but I'd like to counter that with a non-religious one. Mostly, I just want her to think for herself and ask questions. I live in a small city in India and other than my brother I have yet to meet another atheist. I've met a lot of people who say "I don't believe in god" simply because they are angry at god because things didn't go as planned not because they really question his existence.

Any suggestions would be more than welcome!

JenniferRoberts 4 Mar 11

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I was baptised and brought up a Catholic and did all the chruch stuff growong up but if you teach your daughter how to think and help her develop her critical thinking as she gets older she'll probably come to the same conclusion you have. Being a Catholic didn't do me any harm, if anything it gave me an insight that I wouldn't have otherwise had.

Weird way to get an insight. Like when the beating stops you appreciate not being beaten? I've never been religious - the insight it what you're born with. Religion stops it.

@GoldenDoll I had no say in being brought up a Catholic so it's hardly weird but insight in this case means something I acquired, I understand what they're about more than if I'd never experienced it. So I have an insight into being Catholic but not Zoroastrian although basic tenants of faith obviously apply and as I stated, for what ever reason, I worked out for myself that it didn't make any sense, whether that's nature or nurture is another discussion.

I found your analogy to being beaten, imo, a little glib but perhaps more accurate than you realise. I was the victim of domestic abuse and so again I have an insight into what it feels like to be physically abused and the long term damage, in a variety of ways, that it causes. It is an insight that I could have cheerfully done without but I wasn't born with it.

@ipdg77 I know about catholicism from catholics, and I know about abuse from kids who were abused. Doesn't mean I don't sympathise and understand it, but I would never suggest a child should be beaten so they could have a better insight into abuse.

@GoldenDoll I'm not suggesting that either, I'm not saying you or anyone else should experience being Catholic or being abused to understand it, all I'm saying is I, personally, have a greater understanding of Catholicism and abuse from personal experience that was not of my choosing. In my case being Catholic didn't do me any harm, being abused did (and I don't mean physical) . But I would hope, again and this just my perspective, that my experiences may prove beneficial in some way to someone else through discussion etc


Do NOT allow her t be taken to Sunday school..... nothing good happens in those circles.... and it'll slow her development of critical thinking skills..... which most very religious people are void of.

I went to Sunday school for nearly 15 years, was raised a Christian and was surrounded by extremely religious people. It didn't do me any harm and I'm a hardcore atheist and so is my brother πŸ™‚

@JenniferRoberts Considering the rapidly growing reputation of the Catholic Church as being the largest pedophile ring in the world, I'd say you were very lucky to get out of it unharmed. But, the popes keep saying that the Church's good name is more important than bringing the offenders to justice - so they keep moving them to new parishes in different countries whenever the victims' families start to get wise to their shenanigans.


I think it’s called spring. Explain the shifting of the seasons and how ancient people’s came up with different ways to explain it. And how we’re lucky to have science to know what’s really happening.

Iffy Level 5 Mar 12, 2018

Spring equinox, changing of the seasons, a celebration of fertility of the natural world around us. Going on a natural level, its the celebratrion of the return of the germination time of the year and the the time to be well into planting and breeding seasons. I mean honestly, bunnies and eggs? Hello....

AmyLF Level 7 Mar 12, 2018

I would explain that Christians believe it's about the death and resurrection of Jesus, because (as you're already aware) she's going to hear that from a number of sources. Then go on to explain that, way before the time of Jesus, it was a celebration of spring, and can still be that if you want it to be.

Not believing in God is probably more common than you think. I suspect a lot of people cling on to Christianity (and other religions) more for the sense of community than out of any sinceere belief that there's a guy in the sky somewhere, looking after us if we're good and punishing us if we're not. There's too much evidence of the non-existence of an omnipotent and benevolent god for anyone with an ounce of rationality to take that idea seriously. But there's a bit of an "Emperor's new clothes" thing going on. Nobody wants to speak out against doctrine for fear of being ostracised.

This ^.^ right here. Many people are Christian for the social aspects of it. They just don't really speak on that and join in the holidays for family as well.

Emperor's New Clothes...That is such an awesome comparison!


I would not try to explain at this point. Go heavy with the plastic grass and the colored eggs, there will be time enough to give your own explaination.


Thought it was about chasing an egg laying bunny around.


Annual celebration of spring, renewal, and fertility with roots and tradition in eary pagan religions. Appropriated by Christians for connection of this tradition to their own purposes.


Its a very old festival held held at the Spring Equinox to mark the rebirth of life in nature and the joys of the coming harvest after the earth has nurtured the sown seeds. Chase the Easter eggs down the hill because they represents the egg from which Mother Nature gives to the land. Revel in the fun of the Easter bunny for his abundant ability to reproduce, just like Mother Nature.


Easter is based on the story of the reserection of Jesus. There is no point denying it is based on a religious belief. Just explain to her that some people believe that story and others do not. The easter bunny is based on an old German tradition. Simple honesty is the best approach.

No it's not. It's just another pagan festival hijacked by christians in order to "stamp out" other relgions. Oestre - fertility, etc. You can look it up.

So why didn’t you use simple honesty?

easter is actually based on ishtar, pronounced the same as easter, from scientific american: "Easter was originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols (like the egg and bunny) were and still are fertility and sex symbols (or did you actually think eggs and bunnies had anything to do with the resurrection?)" [] the fact that christians coopted the celebration (keeping the name, if not its spelling) doesn't mean that the holiday is "based on" the resurrection of "christ." it means it's been CHANGED to represent that.



Tell her that it's a marketing ploy to boost sales in an otherwise flat time of year when consumer spending is low as they await their tax returns.

Then throw in that Christianity is a bullshit collection of various ancient myths, all geared towards control and consolidation of power and wealth. Move into how Christianity launched numerous Crusades and Inquisitions against Infidels and Non-Believers.

Tell her the chocolate was likely not Fair-Trade and some child, roughly her age, has been slaving away for years to pick beans to make chocolate that they have no experience eating since they cannot afford it.

Launch into how the eggs were likely factory farmed, the chickens horribly mistreated, and likely dosed with a wide range of anitbiotics to that they can live, de-beaked, in mass pens where the dead pile up until removed.

The plastic grass in her plastic basket likely came from China and, as it's non-recyclable, will end up either in a landfill or the growing mass of plastic in the Pacific, where it chokes and kills sealife.

Start there. Let me know how it goes. Happy Easter!




An ancient, Pagan ritual celebrating Spring and rebirth. (Ishtar)
Eggs. Chicks. Rabbits. All symbols of FERTILITY.


Easter was a pagan goddess, you could start there.

Oestre, from whom we get our word oestrogen. For once it's all about us girls!


Hmm..I like a challenge. You need to explain to someone who is 3.5 years old easter without mentioning Jesus. Ok how about this:

There was a guy. There is a holiday near the day he died since he was really important. Like a birthday but close to the day he died instead.

But that would be lying to the child. Tell them the truth - pagan festival hijacked by the religiots. It's easier than you think, and helps them on their way to questioning everything.

@GoldenDoll but the holiday pre-dates the pagan methods of practicing it. Which means what I said is the truth.

@engineer_in_nj Not strictly so as one of the oldest rebirth and fertility myths recorded is the Sumerian myth of Innana circa 2100 BCE. Around 1500 years later we find her morphed into Ishtar in Babylonia and grafted on to Pesach or Passover after the Babylonian exile. It is true, however that the connection with Eostre, the Germanic goddess was reported by Bede. She was the deity for the Anglo-Saxon Spring festival with her rites being re-interpreted by Christians replacing it with Passover. I am not aware that we can show that the Eostre rites are pre-Christian but Bede does state that Passover replaces the rites of Eostre so the implication would be that this is so.

@Geoffrey51 so what? Some guy made a claim, that isnt proof of anything. I don't know it seems you are working really hard here to ignore the evidence right in-front of you. Easter is a christian holiday that came from a jewish one, it probably has some pagan roots here and there but its a bit like calling English a derivative of Korean since English has some Korean words. Why is it so hard to take the simple explanation?

We know Passover is ancient. We know that early christians celebrated it like Passover. Lets just leave it like that instead of finding some random mofo somewhere who claims that some group he never met invented a holiday that went backwards in time by some method.

@engineer_in_nj Who is "Some guy [who] made a claim"?


I just had this talk with my 4yo a couple of weeks ago. My family is also very religious, but we live in another state, not in the same house. We talked about the Spring Equinox and how when people don't understand something, they use magic to explain it. I didn't say anything about Jesus or Christianity. I told him about Ostara, the European Pagan goddess and the celebration in her name involving rabbits and eggs. It seemed to help. I'll explain more as he gets older.


Easter: yet another lame religious ritual without the common decency to be scheduled on a Monday.

See also: vernal equinox.


Eating chocolate because some people thought they saw a friendly zombie.


A holliday created by the government to make more money off consumers much like christmas.


Money grabbing bullshit


The Christian Easter comes around the time of the vernal equinox. People have celebrated the vernal equinox for centuries. For ancient cultures, the vernal equinox signaled that their food supplies would soon return. That is why it was convenient to place the so-called resurrection of Christ around the time of the vernal equinox. It signifies rebirth, the coming of the season when winter has ended and new crops begin to come to life, hence the association with the resurrection of Christ.


Its a celebration for the spring eqinox. celebating the end of the winter and the start of new life because days are getting longer and that allows plants to get more sun light so they bloom. it also signals mating time for lots of animals cuz it gives the offspring better chances for surviving and gettin to grow thru warm times so they can be better equipped for harsh weather ahead in the winter. the bunny eggs represent new life and that is what easter is used to represent from a non-relgious view imo.

jorj Level 8 Mar 11, 2018

I would just teach her both sides. This is what you’ll learn at church and this is what others believe. These are the origins. & such. But I agree, 3 is a little young to worry about that. Maybe when she starts asking questions about it, then talk about itπŸ™‚


It's as previously mentioned, the time of new birth and renewal. The name is derived from the Nordic goddess Oester, who heralded the beginning of the season.

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