If you were raised in a traditional Christian home, as I was, you’ve probably been conditioned to see the Easter story as a noble, uplifting, feel-good kind of story. I don’t even mean a conservative Christian home necessarily. Throughout most of my childhood, my family belonged to a pretty liberal United Methodist church, and even among liberal believers, the annual three-day saga of crucifixion, burial, and resurrection has always been seen as the heart of the gospel, the generous principle of goodness that sincere believers should cling to instead of obsessing over all those picky, literal minutiae like the fundamentalists do.
It took me quite a long time to realize that Easter’s family-friendly facade was masking something very dark, twisted, and bizarre. And I’m not even talking about the exaltation of gore and death, or the so-called “shame of the cross” that the Bible talks about. I’m talking about the perverse and corrupt message this blood ritual sends regarding good and evil and the relationship between them.