I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'wouldn't it be much worse if life *were* fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?' So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe. – M. Cole
Here is a main post on easter. I’m sure you can find more just by searching over here in the upper right hand corner search box.
Conservative Christian antics about easter is here in case you forgot just how stupid Bill O’Reilly and Laura Ingram are.
Guinea pigs and easter, and not how you might think is here.
The mess that the cruxifiction stories are is here.
This year we have the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris burning during Holy Week. And now we have people giving a BILLION dollars to a vanity project built over around a thousand years for a god that needs to be placated by pretties just like the nonsense in the bible.
Hello, I’ve changed my wordpress theme for my blog since it was getting a little hard to read, even for me, with the grey on black. If it’s a little too big for you, you can change your zoom on your web browser.
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?
Here we are again at that time of year where two religions celebrate that people die and die for no reason other than the mythic stories need to declare just how important believers are and how important it is to blindly obey the god they’ve invented. Rather than celebrate how humanity has risen and achieved, most religions insist that we are fallen, we are flawed, that we need something “else” to make us whole. This is the invention of humans who want to control their fellows, for few things are more effective in saying to another “You don’t deserve anything, but if you obey me, you can have it.” Or in other words, there is an invisible tiger out there. I’ll protect you from it, but only if you obey me. (for more on how ridiculous the passover story is, see these posts about the “exodus”). Some of the below is a rehash of what has been said before, but it never hurts to point out the failures of religion and the peculiar stories that are not what most believers think are in the bible.
Easter was a very weird holiday when I was growing up. It was mostly candy (my mother always got me a white chocolate cross. I never liked white chocolate but she did. Gnawing on a torture device is quite an experience) and coloring eggs but then we had to load up and go to church to hear about how God required torture and death in order to forgive humans for something that this God caused. Like most Christians, we got a version of the cruxifiction story made up from the bits that the pastor liked just like we got a version of the christmas story made up from the bits that were liked. Of course, if you were me, someone who would read anything including the backs of cereal boxes and detergent bottles, and were stuck in a pew with a bible, it didn’t take long to realize that things weren’t matching up. I wondered about it, but ignored the problems until much later.
One of those bits came back into my interest thanks to a Christian pastor who is trying to convince his flock that Easter is really important and that they need to think a lot about the fuzzy happy bits, but no too much about what the various version of the cruxifiction story say. This bit is in the gospel of john, the one that doesn’t mention one of the more appealing bits of the bible, the events in Gethsemane. In the GoJ, JC and his entourage just find a garden and go into it, Judas leads the soldiers there and that’s that. No weeping, no doubt, this version of JC is quite different than the character in the other gospels, but that’s no surprise at all considering all of the other differences.
The verses are from chapter 13. “2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.”
This version of the story has Judas as nothing more than a pawn to cause a murder. The “devil”, per the the bible and most Christians the second most powerful being in the universe, makes a man do something that will ensure that its enemy’s plan works. That shoots the concept of free will rather decisively in the foot and makes the devil somewhat of an idiot since it supposedly knew what was going down. We also have Jesus doing nothing for a man who was supposedly a friend, when he has the power to do so, when he knew this was happening. Indeed, later on in the story, it seems that JC is the actor to make sure that Judas is a puppet “26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.”
So we have a god needing the actions of its supposed archenemy for its plan to work since it needed a death for no other reason than it decreed it did. No wonder the bible decries reason and thought when such nonsense is presented. Don’t think about it, just obey. If Dante is right, and Judas is the worst of the worst in the 9th circle of hell, why is he there if he did nothing on his own and this was all this god’s plan? (I do love the Inferno, much more interesting than Paradiso or Purgatorio)
As always, rebuttals are welcome; I have a very open policy on comments. The only thing required is that you support your claims with evidence.
Addendum: CNN has quite the opinion piece by a priest. He claims that he has a guarantee of heaven and “And one day, like the Good Thief, we will see that it is all true.” Funny how Mr. Martin forgets that only one of the gospels says that there was a “good thief”. The GoJ doesn’t even mention the others cruxified; the gospel of Mark says “Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” And the gospel of Matthew says the same thing “44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him“. The only one that relates the claim of the priest is the gospel of Luke. Hmmm, which one is right, if any at all?
And why non-Christians don’t believe this nonsense:
Welcome to Easter. Based spring fertility worship, changed to a worship of blood sacrifice and then resurrection, we have a holiday that has many faces. We’ve even had many dates for it, and the usual religious friction of who is “right”.
My favorite evidence of how religion changes is this:
This is a painting by Marcos Zapata in 1753, where Jesus Christ and the apostles are enjoying Peruvian cuisine(more about the cathedral here). If there’s a picture, it must have happened right? This sure would have made my serving of communion a much more interesting experience.
This is how spring should be celebrated, flowers and a nice bock style beer.
This is a compilation of various observations I’ve made about Easter over the years.
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. Continue reading “Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Easter, the supposed events and implications”→