I guess it being Easter weekend had me thinking along these lines. Firstly I must admit I am not a 'true believer' and perhaps could be labelled an agnostic although I prefer to think of myself as a humanist. I feel we should try to accept people for who and what they are and as far as possible treat them as we would like to be treated. We should respect their beliefs and their rights to have those beliefs and in general, live and let live.
Having got that out of the way I have heard several discussions on radio this week about whether non-Christians should benefit from having scheduled holidays for what are Christian-held beliefs such as Easter and of course Christmas. Perhaps there is so much multi-culturism in Australia and other parts of the Western World now that it was inevitable that this question should arise, and it has arisen before. One argument said perhaps non-Christians should work on those days and others said if non-Christians actually worked on those holidays (holy days) should they be paid penalty rates? If they don't believe in Christmas and Easter then why should they benefit from working on those days?
Back in the time of the British Civil War Cromwell banned all holidays and celebrations for both Christmas and Easter as the Roundheads didn't believe in graven images or rituals of any kind, and only held very simple services in their churches with no paraphenalia at all. Phil, who left the UK in 1960, remembers he used to work on Good Fridays and have Easter Monday and the following Tuesday off. This may have stemmed from the time of the Civil War as Coventry (and possibly surrounding areas) was a stronghold of the Roundheads. Things have probably changed by now and I must ask Phil's cousin next time I email him to see if Good Friday is indeed now a public holiday in the Midands.
Over the centuries there have been many, many changes and one wonders just how many more there will be in the years to come with there being so many different races and different beliefs all now coming together.
I feel that the above questions are almost unanswerable but am wondering what others think about it all. I hope I have not trodden on anyone's toes bringing up this subject and I truly respect all beliefs that everyone has and respect them for having them.
P.S. I do believe that a man by the name of Jesus Christ did walk on this earth and lead an extremely good life and I like to celebrate Christmas in his memory. The same with Easter, although perhaps my beliefs are somewhat different to the norm, I think it is important in both cases to remember why we have those holidays instead of using them as an excuse for excesses of any kind.
Myself, I revel in the wonders of nature, the bounties she brings and sometimes the terrors as well. Last night as we drove home from Kelmscott, before the moon had risen, the sky was very dark and the stars so very bright. I look up at the stars with awe and am filled with the wonders of the universe and beyond. I believe the scientists have found a new star which they think could sustain life. There is so much out there of which little is known. Mankind has advanced so far in this technological age and I can only hope more fantastic discoveries will be made if mankind (humankind) learns to control its greed, learns to get along together and work together for its betterment.