It is Easter. The Sunday after the Sunday when Jesus Rode into Jerusalem on an ass.
The story reaches temporary end.
There are Easter Sunrise Services put on by lots of different Christian denominations. For this is the very guts of Christianity. The celebrants believe that because the tomb into which Jesus was laid on Friday was, on Sunday morning, vacant, Jesus had recovered from being dead and left the tomb.
What do Easter Bunnies, and hunts in lawns and living rooms for hard boiled eggs variously colored with dye, have to do with the Christian myth that Jesus had arisen from the dead? Absolutely nothing, that’s what. What do Easter bonnets, Easter parades, and such have to do with the Christian Easter story? Absolutely nothing, that’s what.
You doubtless have noted that Easter happens on different dates in different years. That is because the date is not fixed, but always changing. Easter is the first Sunday, after the first Monday, after the first Full Moon, after the Vernal Equinox. Now you know.
Just when Jesus left the tomb we cannot know. Maybe he wasn’t there on the evening of Good Friday. The scriptures say that after Jesus died he descended into Hell. The Mormons say that Jesus came and ministered to them, in what is now the United States of America, after his resurrection. Whether Jesus left the tomb on Friday night, or at any time on Saturday, is a topic to which theologians should give much greater attention. All one can say about it for sure from the bible story is that it was discovered that he had gone missing on Sunday, thereafter known as “Easter” by Christians.
When the disciples saw Jesus after he had left the tomb, all of them believed he was Jesus alive again. Except for the disciple Thomas. Thomas, the only rational skeptic in the room, wanted to touch the holes in his hands before he would believe.
It should be here noted that since the bible stories of the crucifixion of Jesus were put forth, it has been conclusively proved that the Romans nailed people to crosses through their wrists, not through their hands. Cadaver studies have shown that nailed hands cannot hold up the body, and that the hands pull off of the nail, causing the condemned to pitch forward with his feet still nailed to the cross. Not pretty to think about.
It wasn’t a “cross” anyway. The Greek originals of the gospels say it was a stake. This was a cheaper, and therefore a more popular, method of execution than a cross.
By the way, all of these events were not set down in writing until 80 to 200 or so years after the event. That is about like someone today trying to provide an eyewitness account of something that happened during the Civil War.
The gospel accounts of the so called Resurrection of Jesus, the myth that forms the basis for Easter, are all contradictory. The only feature they all have in common is the presence of Mary Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus early on Sunday morning. A newspaper reporter once asked me if it was true that I had actually, in my writings, called Mary Magdalene a “deranged hooker.’’ “Sure is,” I said. “Have you seen where I called the Holy Eucharist ‘Swallow the Leader?’” The reporter left confused and unable to continue the interview. I really have to stop doing that sort of thing.
Here is how Christianity works. If you believe the story that Jesus died as a blood sacrifice to god for the sins of all personkind, and that he arose from the dead, then you get to go to live in Heaven with Jesus when you die. If you do not believe that Jesus died for your sins, you will, when you die, be assigned to a place of torture called Hell. It is a remarkably simple program. Far more simple than the highly complex mythical stories of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Hindu, and dog knows how many other religions.
And after using the Latin cross for centuries as a symbol for Christianity, in the lawsuit by American Atheists over a number of 12-foot-high crosses being put up near Utah highways to honor fallen officers, the defendants tried to argue that the cross is not really a Christian symbol. Do not know for sure yet if this will be the argument of the defendants in the American Atheists’ lawsuit to force removal of a 20-foot-high, 10-ton, metal structural element that resembles a Latin cross, found in the wreckage of the World Trade Center, following the horrors of 9/11, at Ground Zero. If so, let us hope that such a ridiculous argument is disposed of as it was in the Utah case.
Edwin Kagin ©