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I’ve done various posts about Easter over the years I’ve been blogging. The story of the crucifixion and resurrection is even more contradictory than the Christmas story, with events claimed to have happened in one gospel which would preclude events happening in other gospels. What we generally get is a version that combines whatever the Christian wants to claim, though its a synthesis of all four gospels plus Acts. I was watching Rick Steves’ travel special on how Easter is celebrated in Europe and he gave a version that mixed everything together and ignored the problematic bits. It was still a very good special, and worth sitting through the pledge breaks to see it.
People like me, who question Christianity and its claims, often get told that the details don’t matter when we point out the repeated contradictions in the Easter story. That is a common answer for a lot of questions about Christianity, we shouldn’t question why things are so screwy. In a recent God Squad column, Rabbi Gellman answers a question from a high school student: “Hi, I am a junior at Mercy High School in Middletown, Conn. I wanted to say how happy I am to know that there is someone out there willing to answer questions from teenagers. Not a lot of adults do. My theology class enjoys reading your articles and reflecting on them every day. My question is does God punish wrongdoings like people say?”
And what is Gellman’s answer? “This is my answer: IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER. It doesn’t matter whether or not God punishes evil or rewards goodness because on the highest level of human virtue is the understanding that goodness is its own reward and evil is its own punishment.”
However, it does matter. If this god doesn’t do as the bible claims, both in the OT and NT, then there is no reason to believe in the books or the god. This god is claimed to be the judge and jury on what is good and evil and this god repeatedly hands out punishment in the bible. Now, what the rabbi seems to be doing here is finding an excuse to ignore the question by the student because if he says that this god does punish evil, the next question is “How?” “Where?” and most importantly “When?” And since the rabbi cannot show that this god does anything at all, much less punishing the wicked and helping the good, he finds himself with a problem. In reality, there is no divine intervention to show that this god exists or gives a damn about morality. Indeed, we can see that this god’s morals change with how humans change, not the other way around.
Gellman tries to avoid the problem by insisting that people should be good because being good is the “right thing to do”, it’s beneficial, etc. Well then no one needs this god at all. There is no need for a blood sacrifice to appease a god for humans being just as this god would know they would be. The whole thing is nonsense.
I would challenge the Christians who read my blog to actually read the gospels and Acts and consider the discrepancies in the stories, e.g. number of angels, what JC did, etc. If the most important story for your religion is so screwed up, then why should anyone believe it?
Other posts on Easter, with more juicy details: