Easter / Vernal Equinox

Dick Baynton
Dick Baynton

Recent census numbers indicate that the Earth’s surface supports about 7.3 billion people (and growing). Of this number about 2.3 billion are considered Christians or 32% of world population. People in most denominations of Christianity celebrate Easter around this time of year. In most countries, non-Christians including Atheists and members of other faiths either ignore or tolerate the Easter celebrations. Spectators probably view these holiday goings-on with detached interest.

Christians celebrate the holiday as a result of their belief that Jesus Christ was crucified but rose again (was resurrected) to become part of the triune (three-in-one) God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and The Holy Spirit (also known by some as The Holy Ghost). The name ‘Easter’ may have come from the Scandinavian “Ostra” and the Teutonic ‘Ostern’ and ‘Eastre’, both goddesses of spring and fertility and celebrated annually on the date of the vernal equinox. (Teutonic is The Order of the Brothers of the Hospitaller of St. Mary of the Germans in Jerusalem, circa 1190).

Many celebrate religious and other holidays in the fashion decreed by their religious faith or individual secular habits. Children paint Easter eggs, exchange cards depicting wide-eyed rabbits and families dress up in accord with the song, Easter Parade (Irving Berlin, 1933).

Christian holidays are generally considered times of retrospection and reflection; holidays that can be forums for reuniting with relatives and frenemies that were once friends. Atheists and non-believers can observe the vernal equinox instead of Easter. Perhaps with the resurgence of new life, restored friendships and a renewed outlook on life we can give and receive forgiveness and condolences to mitigate some of the pain and suffering we all must endure.

About half the babies born in the United States come home to a dwelling without a father. About half of our marriages end in divorce. Deaths and injuries are commonplace in our inner cities and on merciless battlefields throughout the world. According to UN statistics, more than 800 million people in the world are underfed; many are starving. More than 35 million people are living with HIV, a preventable STD that won’t be cured by talking about it. The debate over global warming and CO2   emissions are contentious issues that roar on because of the collision of science, the law, economic consequences, health issues and politics.

The migration of people throughout the world for employment, freedom, security and other reasons are seriously out of sync with national laws and customs. Most people on planet earth live under the tyranny of government control and suppression and those same governments continue their age-old practices of regulation, redistribution, retribution and retaliation.

One of the most degrading forms of corruption is human trafficking in the US and throughout the world. It is estimated that more than 14,500 people are trafficked in the US each year, 50% of whom are children. Worldwide, about 800,000 people of all ages are trafficked with 48% being induced or forced into prostitution. Another 27% or more than 200,000 are engaged in ‘domestic servitude.’

With all this information about the woes of the world, can we change it a wee bit? Of course we can. Just as we can view a travel folder and imagine that we are on a sunny beach in Cancun or touring the German castle Neushwanstein, many dreams can become realities.

We can stop smoking to improve our health and the atmosphere. We can greet on the street and talk on a walk.  An acorn produces an oak tree. An apple seed provides food for thousands over the years. Your single vote determines city council members, mayors and presidents. Your singular life helps create generations of human beings. Do something nice today, tomorrow, every day.  Let’s not spend our time arguing about Religion or Atheism, we’re all here and we can make this spinning globe a less hostile, more forgiving place for all.

“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing therefore that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” –Stephen Grellet, B. (France 1773), D. (New Jersey 1855)

 – Dick Baynton