Tag Archives | Easter
Early Christianity had a classic “habit” of retro-fitting Pagan seasonal celebrations with quasi-literalist Catholic theology, and this has resulted in some truly surreal mashups of cultural traditions.
For example, ritual symbols of fertility and renewal that were intended to honor the Goddess of Spring (who was known as Eostre, Ostare, or Eastur), originally held immanent seasonal meaning. However, these same symbols were eventually stapled haphazardly into a culture-collage of rabbits, eggs, grass, and an undead savior returning from the grave for your soul.
Add contemporary Capitalist opportunism to the mix, and the result is one of the most disturbing manifestations of Christo-pagan-consumerism: the Shopping Mall Easter Bunny. Enthroned like a springtime Santa in a pastel cardboard holiday-land of cellophane grass littered with jellybean droppings, this crypto-pookah has been terrifying generations of children for years.
Some of the other seasonal holy-day mashups retained at least some coolness (halloween costumes & Christmas gifts).… Read the rest
This year Passover begins in the evening of Friday, April 6, 2012, with Easter Sunday falling on April 8, 2012. While many people celebrating the religious holidays this weekend think they know what happened in Golgotha, Israel a couple of thousand years ago, there is in fact tremendous controversy, spurred not least by a best-selling 1965 book by British Biblical scholar Hugh J. Schonfield, The Passover Plot.
Based on scholarly research into the social and religious culture in which Jesus was born, lived and died, into the source documents of the Gospels, and into other literature, Schonfield reached the following conclusions:
- That Jesus was a deeply religious Jewish man, probably well-versed in the teachings of the local northern sects such as the Nazarenes and Essenes.
- That growing up in Biblical Galilee he had a skeptical and somewhat rebellious relationship to the hierarchy and teachings mandated by the authorities (the Pharisees) of the Temple in Jerusalem.
The New York Times reports:
… Read the rest
The authorities stepped up a three-week campaign against an underground Christian church on Sunday, detaining hundreds of congregants in their homes and taking at least 36 others into custody after they tried to hold Easter services in a public square, church members and officials said.
The church, Shouwang, an evangelical Protestant congregation that was evicted from its rented quarters this month, has been at loggerheads with the government since announcing plans to gather outdoors rather than disband or return to worshiping in private homes. The authorities have repeatedly stymied Shouwang’s efforts to lease or buy space for its 1,000-member congregation, one of the largest and most prominent so-called house churches in the capital.
The Chinese Communist Party tightly manages religious activity, requiring the faithful to join state-run churches, mosques or Buddhist temples. Until the most recent crackdown on Shouwang and a handful of other unregistered churches, such congregations had enjoyed relatively wide latitude from the authorities.
Mr. Gervais, you are my kind of Christian. From his blog:
… Read the rest
Last Christmas I wrote a little essay entitled: “A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais: Why I’m an atheist.” The Wall Street Journal ran it, and it caused quite a stir. I was even asked to answer some of the comments. So for Easter I thought I’d do another one. Here it is.
A Holiday Message from Ricky Gervais: Why I’m a good Christian
The title of this one is a little misleading, or at least cryptic. I am of course not a good Christian in the sense that I believe that Jesus was half man, half God, but I do believe I am a good Christian compared to a lot of Christians.
It’s not that I don’t believe that the teachings of Jesus wouldn’t make this a better world if they were followed. It’s just that they are rarely followed.
You have to check out this story in the Daily Mail complete with more photos like this one: