"Bacon and eggs?"
I quail (ha-ha). It's Easter, the most important event in the Christian calendar, and I'm cringing at the thought of having to explain (yet again) why I am not eating meat on Good Friday; one out of only three days in a year when this is required, may I add. This blasé and harmless question is so unassuming and so common that it seems unfair for me to be bothered by it, but I am. There is something about being a Christian (and by that I mean a practising one) that you don't experience with other religions. I'm not sure if it's because we are supposed to be a Christian country and other faiths have therefore, over time, established tight-knit communities that have now swelled to sizes larger than 'ours;' or whether it's simply because my generation seems to be either completely abandoning religion or embracing radical forms of it, but I am ashamed to say that it is very difficult to feel comfortable admitting I'm a Christian.
I remember moments at University where my housemates would ask me where I was going as I walked out the door at 11am on a Sunday morning. I would stammer and pause, eventually mumbling very quietly under my breath that I was going to church. After admitting this I always felt like I needed to follow it up with an excuse or an explanation: "but I only go every now and again;" "my mum get's annoyed if I don't go;" or "I'm only going 'cause I'm bored and have nothing better to do." I don't know why, but being a twenty-something Christian (not to mention a Catholic) is, for some reason, considered to be a bad thing. It's uncool. It makes you a swot. It's a confession that ought to be accompanied with a scoff and a very exaggerated roll of the eyes.
It's a very bizarre thing as I don't think this is a problem other religions face, perhaps due to the fact that their faith is intrinsically linked to their culture and nationality, like Catholicism is in Spain or Italy. The more people I meet the more I am becoming aware that the national religion of England is atheism. Whilst I have no problem at all with people of other faiths or indeed no faith at all, there is nothing more irritating and offensive to a Christian than a preaching atheist, particularly one who will gladly celebrate Christmas and Easter. I'd say about 90% of my friends are atheists or agnostics, and this makes it very difficult to 'justify' taking part in religious events or confessing you put aside time for prayer. I think Christianity is viewed by many to be a weak religion because many people loosely class themselves to be in this category but have no interest in taking an active part (I have so many friends who went to a Catholic school with me but are pretty much non-believers and I mean who hasn't been christened?), and so understanding that some Christians are fully dedicated to the faith is often difficult to grasp.
This very important time of "the four day bank holiday weekend" and my experience of celebrating Easter as a Catholic have prompted me to contemplate why Christianity is so scorned by young generations. I agree that religion is very often backwards and outdated, and this can be extremely frustrating, but I strongly feel that having a faith, having any faith, should not be something to be ashamed of. Anyway I'll stop ranting on now, but to all my fellow Christians out there I hope you feel less alone in your faith than I do, and to all the atheists and agnostics I would ask you to show an equal respect for our faith as we do for your lack of faith. Whatever your chosen creed, do feel free to comment in the box below to let me know what you think about this! I wish you all a blessed Easter filled with joy and peace.
Labels: agnostic, atheist, celebration, Christian, Christianity, creed, discussion, Easter, faith, religion, unpopular