Hoppin' Down the Bunny Trail with Agnostic Mom

Contributing Editor Mary Tsao also blogs at Mom Writes

Agnostic Mom has the Easter Bunny on her mind. Should she support the idea that the Easter Bunny exists? And should she keep alive the Easter tradition of baskets delivered in the night by a mythical bunny even though she is raising her children in a household without religion?

She writes:

"One question that enters the minds of some young atheist and agnostic parents is whether or not to have Santa and the Easter Bunny, if you decide to celebrate those holidays at all. How do we justify giving our children the fantasy of an Easter Bunny while denying them the security of a Jesus?"

Agnostic Mom suggest parents continue to support the traditions associated with the Easter Bunny (baskets filled with chocolate and colored eggs, egg hunts, etc.) but that they use the existence of the Easter Bunny to their advantage, to encourage critical thinking in their children. When her children start asking questions about the Easter Bunny or how the baskets got into the house, she replies, "What do you think?" One commenter on her post agreed and noted, "...it's fun to see (the kids') brains at work..."

With older children, Agnostic Mom suggests telling them the truth when they ask point blank if the Easter Bunny is real. When you let them know that no, the Easter Bunny is not real, it's also the time you explain to them that the Easter Bunny is also known as mom or dad.

"Parents can use this revealing of truth to explain how humans are a story-telling people. We have always told stories to express ideas. Some stories generate more belief and conviction than others. The Bible is a compilation of stories which many people have come to believe as literally true. Santa is a good analogy of how people want to believe in the stories of gods. Most stories have an amount of truth within them, as well as an amount of embellishment."

Agnostic Mom's post led me to research the origins of the Easter holiday. Scholars agree that the Easter traditions involving bunnies and eggs have their roots in paganism. Easter is a rite of springtime, an occasion when the warming of the earth and timing of the season is an encouragement for people to go forth and, err, multiply like bunnies. Doing so will bring you a child during the winter, when you are less likely to be busy with crops and you will have more time to nurture an infant.

Somehow, knowing the origins of the Easter Bunny isn't helping me figure out what to tell my kids. I think I'll stick with Agnostic Mom's suggestion and go with, "What do you think?"

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Mary Tsao | Mom Writes

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