This weekend is *the* Christian holiday, Easter. It commemorates the murder, and subsequent supposed magical resurrection, of a man/god in payment for the original sin of Adam and Eve (requiring them to exist plus the talking snake) and all the sinning thereafter. It also may have even more problems than Christmas does in the reality department.
There’s a lot of odd things associated with Easter. Except for the cruxifiction, nearly every other symbol associated with it is fertility based. Peeps, eggs, rabbits, etc. It seems to be the usual cooption of pagan religions into Christianity. I’ve seen some rather peculiar arguments that the cross is a phallus and the tomb is a womb.
The date picked to celebrate Easter has very little to do with the day that this supposedly happened. No one has a clue when that might have been, so I guess one may as well just pick something. The date is *generally* decided by the first Sunday following the full moon following the equinox which is claimed to be only ever on March 21, even though it falls on other days. So we have a date that makes not a whole lot of sense. Add that to the fact that Christians can’t agree on which calendar to use, and the thing hops all over the place depending on the sect. If one knows about other religions, based on seasons, it seems that Easter is a lot closer to them in date (among other things) than some religion that claims it has something new to say. More on the history of how the date was changed around and around again can be found here. The massive confusion about this makes me think that the story is indeed nonsense and never happened, and each sect decided that their interpretation was the only right one. It’s quite a thing to totally forget the date of your supposed emancipation.
Unsurprisingly, Easter has a fair amount to do with Passover, foremost being that JC was supposed a Jew and was celebrating it with his apostles. In Passover, it’s a celebration that the god killed a lot of people to finally get its “chosen” nation out of slavery. Alas, there is nothing to support that story at all. The association with Passover is one of the things that contributed to the date problems above. Jewish law is fairly clear but the bible isn’t and has two different dates based on the events claimed.
Depending on the NT book and interpretation, JC is the Passover lamb, that had its throat slit, furnishing blood to paint the doors of the Israelites so the angels could figure out who to kill and who not to. No, they couldn’t just know, they had to see blood. This need for blood, both the lamb’s and man’s, indicates a less than omni-max god. It indicates a god that cannot function without man’s actions and having animals killed.
Another thing that shows that this god is less than touted is that it must depend on its supposed archenemy to accomplish what it needs done. From what we are told, this death of JC must happen (John is very clear about this). It is unescapable. So, the actions of everyone around the event are set in stone for it to happen (free will takes yet one more hit). Judas must turn JC over. But in Luke 22, we have the mover being Satan. Now, this makes not a whole lot of sense in several ways. First, it’s not mentioned in all of the gospels, but that is no surprise considering the contradictions to come. Second, with this claim, Satan intentionally causes his archenemies supposedly ultimate triumph. Satan knows who JC is and knows what will happen if one beliefs the claims of prophecy. Third, supposedly JC knows what is going on, and just lets his friend suffer. There is of course, the gospel of Judas (Gnostic Christianity) that presents a very different story, but most Christians do not accept it.
After the betrayal, events go swiftly. Most Christians have been told that the gospels agree on what happens, and many have not bothered checking for themselves. Here are some of the differences and some strange occurrences:
Jesus wants to avoid his death if he can in Mark, Luke, and Matthew. He supposedly weeps blood, he is so distraught. In John, we have no Gethsemane and Jesus is not bothered at all. It’s rather a pity since I find the story to be humanizing. An episode of Babylon 5 did a nice rift on the concept.
Suddenly no one knows who Jesus is, odd for a man who supposedly had thousands of people following him. Judas has to kiss him to point him out. No one recognizes him when he comes back. Mark also has a man who was wearing nothing by a linen garment (underwear?) being seized then running away naked, leaving his garment behind. It’s a bizarre little interlude.
The “thieves” pose quite a problem. In Mark and Matthew, they both insult Jesus. Luke has that one makes fun of JC but the other asks to be remembered and JC says he’ll be with him that day in paradise. In John they say nothing.
Events that should be noticeable aren’t. The whole land darkens and the curtain in the temple rips in Mark and Luke. Matthew has the darkness and curtain but it also has an earthquake and has the dead walking the streets. There are no contemporary accounts of any of these rather noticeable events. Some Christian apologists try to correlate them to actual earthquakes and eclipses, but the timing has yet to work. And we know when eclipses happen because of physics and we can find and date earthquakes thanks to geology and dating methods.
Then there is the problem of who goes to the tomb and what they find there. Mark has one man in a white robe waiting there for Mary, Mary M and Salome (not the dancer). The gospel ends with them being too afraid to tell anyone anything. Some verses were added later to make it conform better to the other versions. These verses are where the nonsense about picking up snakes and drinking poison come from.
In Matthew, there’s another earthquake *after* the crucifixion. Mary and Mary M go to the tomb and find an angel who tells them to go tell the others. JC then shows up right after and the women clasp his feet and worship him. JC meets the apostles on a mountain.
In Luke, the women go, find two angels and don’t meet JC. Peter is in the tomb first in Luke. JC appears on the road to Emmaus and no one recognizes him until he breaks bread. JC then eats fish to show he’s real. The apostles go right back to Jerusalem and worship in the temple.
Things get quite different in John. As I said above, Gethsemane vanishes and JC has no problem with going to the cross. Judas gives no kiss. Last words are “It is finished.” quite a bit different than the plaintive cry of abandonment. JC’s side is pierced which no one else mentions and seems only added to give a little prophetic oomph to the story. Mary M is the only one to go to the tomb. There she sees no one. The “other disciple” gets in the tomb first, not Peter. JC is masquerading as the gardener who Mary doesn’t recognize and forbids Mary to touch him. The apostles are hiding for their lives from the Jewish leaders. Thomas is there poking around. JC appears more times, no one still recognizing him. And supposedly JC does so many other things that not all of the books could contain the descriptions.
For all of the claims of how perfect the bible is, it doesn’t take much to see that’s not the case. There are direct contradictions that cannot be “harmonized” away. Now, many Christians do their best to try to blend the stories together. They have JC being positively chatty when he’s up on the cross, claiming that everything the gospels claim was said. But that makes little sense in context. Christian claim that the various numbers and who did what mistakes are not important, but that begs the question, what else is wrong if no one could get such simple things right? Why should we trust the authors at all?
Finally, I have one last observation and it’s been made before by others. The salvation of the world was supposedly predicated on the painful murder of one man. The only being that required this was the Christian god. What would have happened if someone out of love and kindness rescued Jesus? Would the story hold and everyone be damned from an act of mercy?
As always, I welcome comments from everyone. My Christian readers are welcome to give their take on things. As always, please do support your claims.
Postscript: FFRF has an excellent post about this subject. You can take the challenge: make a coherent timeline from the various versions of the easter story.