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Happy Easter! I ask this question on the last working day before Easter.

I work in a mostly online/remote environment with all of the employees in Australia, Switzerland, England, Spain, South Africa, and Poland.

I'm fairly sure all employees will enjoy two days off for Easter this weekend.

There are many "Happy Easter!" messages to each other going around the company...

As a Christian, I am very tempted to respond to these messages with "Christ is Risen!", which is a very common exchange in my culture (coupled with "He has risen indeed!").

Would these words ("Christ is Risen" or "He has Risen indeed") be appropriate, or inappropriate, in this context?

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    The answer depends a lot on the company, and on the culture within the company. Any answer can be correct and incorrect at the same time. Voted to close.
    – virolino
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 8:56
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    @KangaRoo: No, the worst case is that you will unwillingly offend some sensitive people, and they will form a team to make your life a nightmare. Maybe not even confronting you directly, but using guerilla-type of attacks. The world today is very... open to creativity.
    – virolino
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 9:06
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    If you are a believer, you don't need to be told this. If you aren't, having it pushed at you is somewhat annoying at best. Feel free to wear it on a t-shirt if you wish, but don't address me with it if you don't want negative reactions to go with the positive ones you're seeking. It comes across as proselytizing, and there is no way to respectfully proselyte
    – keshlam
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 12:28
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    My advice to reformulate the question would be to not ask whether that specific phrasing would be appropriate, but to ask how to gauge what would be appropriate and have the concrete phrase just as an example, because we cannot tell you how your particular environment will react, but one can give general advice on how to behave and what risks are more or less likely (any answer would still be vague, but I feel on the same level of vagueness as most answers here are by the nature of the topics...) Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 4:38
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    In view of the two atheist perspective answers, let me offer a Christian perspective. No you shouldn't, unless the person you are saying it to is also a Christian, and it's clear you are saying it only to them. Anything else is aggressive. Picture your Muslim colleague saying to you at Ramadan "There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet". Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 18:37

2 Answers 2

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I'm going to answer from the Atheist perspective.

If you look at the Military Wardroom (the areas where Officers socialized) there were historically 3 subjects that were forbidden:

1: Politics
2: Religion
3: Women

(the latter referring to romantic pursuits specifically)

The reason being that these topics are highly divisive. Someone who holds a sincere religious belief for one religion definitionally thinks someone who holds a different belief to be wrong. Same with Politics. And those divisions can cause issues (in a military context) with unit cohesion. Are you going to run through a hail of Gunfire to save Lt Hindu if you think he's an unrepentant sinner who's going to burn in hell? possibly, possibly not.

Now - I sympathize with the Christian perspective of 'It's a Christian Holiday, I should be allowed to express my Faith', I especially sympathize if yours is a company that actively promotes other ahem 'Social causes'.

(Quick aside though about the Christians re-branding all the Pagan Holidays - but that's a minor quibble)

I fully support anyone having personal faith (even if I don't share it) because your rights to believe in what you believe in is my right to not believe in it.

That said, despite supporting your right to believe, I don't particularly want to hear about it.

In short: It's tempting to say it - and I appreciate your reasons - but Politics and Religion should not be brought up in the workplace.

The only exception is if the company has an explicit view such as Chick-fil-a where the owners have stated it's a Christian Company - in which case, if I work there, I knew what I was getting into and it's up to me to keep my non-belief to myself.

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    You forgot to mention as a bonus the football, the baseball etc. Additionally to politics and religion. :)
    – virolino
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 9:07
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    @virolino I would argue that football, baseball and other sports fandoms are already covered under the "no religion" doctrine.
    – Philipp
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 9:52
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    @Philipp: :) you are right, for some people sports are like religion
    – virolino
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 10:05
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Also an agnostic perspective:

Everybody who wishes me well is welcome. "Merry Christmas"? Sure. I like to be merry. Thanks. "Happy Easter"? Sure, I like to be happy, thanks.

So whatever your religious affiliation is, if you have any good wishes for me, go ahead, I like it. I don't think anybody can be offended by being targeted for positive feelings. If they do feel offended, that is very much their problem.

However,

As a Christian, I am very tempted to respond to these messages with "Christ is Risen!"

This would be akward. I don't know what to say to that. "Thanks"? "Yeah, you too"? Just stay silent?

So if you aren't at church or with other believers, it's best to keep it to the bare minimum. "Happy Easter" is perfectly fine, easily relatable, small talk. I can have a happy Easter, whether I believe in the story behind it, or not. If you are not sure if your conversation partner is a Christian, leave it at that.

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  • "What should I answer?" is a very spot-on question. I similar situations, I decided to return the same greeting, if a standard greeting does not come to my mind (or does not exist). I had this kind of conversation several times: - "I wish you a long life" (for my birthday) - "And I wish you a long life too!" - "But it is not my birthday!" - "Then should I cancel my greeting to you to have a long life?" - "No, it is OK, I accept it". That is my way to turn the awkward into a "funny, friendly" awkward.
    – virolino
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 12:05
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    I think people not knowing how to respond is the best reason why it might not be a good idea to say "Christ is risen!" or any other greeting that is specific to a particular group. It isn't really about religion. It's about communication. If I threw up my hands and yelled "Duddits!" in response to something my friends would know exactly what I was trying to communicate and how to respond to it; my coworkers probably would not (although some might if they remembered the movie it came from).
    – ColleenV
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 12:16
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    @NeilSlater It may be an idiom in OP's culture, but their employer is apparently global and mostly remote. The idiom is not likely to span all those cultures. Also, while "goodbye" did originate with "god be with you", it's misleading to put an equal sign between the two.
    – Theodore
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 16:34
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    @gnasher729 You must not be a member of a minority religion.
    – Theodore
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 20:32
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    @gnasher729 it's a shibboleth, a way of identifying whether or not someone is part of "the group" (whatever the preferred "group" might be).
    – alroc
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 12:45

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