Today is Easter, or is it?
I grew up in the church and my mother’s voice still rings in my ears when it comes to holidays. It meant getting up early, getting dressed up, and fighting with a cowlick for a good ten minutes before heading out the door. Easter was a day to praise Jesus and pass the candy baskets. We were always fed candy in association with this day and for the life of me I couldn’t understand why.
What did Jesus have to do with candy? And where the heck does the bunny thing all fit in?
Breaking News – it doesn’t.
For Christians, Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ, the belief that he died on the cross and came back from the dead three days later to ascend to Heaven. This is also the point where he plants his plot hook and absolves those who believe in sin of said black marks on their soul provided they believe in him. As belief systems go this is the perfect gotcha moment. Plant a mythological style tale and say to your perspective followers – “It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, because I died for your transgressions. Put away those concerns about death, because I will be your sole path to eternal life. Provided you do this one crazy trick.”
It feels like an infomercial.
Now I have no problem with you believing all that jazz. That’s your right as a human being. Believe in Jesus all you want. All I ask is for you to be reasonable and understand where your holidays come from and why they land on the calendar at this period of the year. The early church had a pagan problem. In that age religions numbered in the thousands. Everyone and their brother had something they elevated to the height of gods and goddesses. Part of the reason this worked so well for the church was the countries that chose to take on Christianity as a weapon, and they did so out of a single reason, money.
You see in that holy of all books to Christians they believe in a process called tithing. If you’re unfamiliar with it, I’ll bring you up to speed. They believe that you are to take a portion of your income and give it freely to the church because it’s written into the bible in several of the books. This is how they honor god, but in the real world this was one way the church held power of man on Earth. With the church coffers overflowing, the church becomes the true power in the middle ages and what it chooses to do with that power is blanket the Earth and the pagan holidays represented with their own Christian ones. This is the way they fold many pagan believers (and thus the money too) into the church longterm because they say “Oh yes, we celebrate a holiday around that same time, and see, our holiday is all about the new light coming on that day too.”
Now the reasoning behind this is simple enough. Christianity is a proselytizing religion. Baked into all those chapters and books is a direct order to go and spread the word of god to all corners of the Earth. It’s more than just a suggestion; it’s an edict. The word had to be spread that Jesus (not that Goddess you’ve been worshiping) died so the pagan people might have eternal life. And looking back it’s impossible to deny Christianity won. The multifaceted belief systems and laid back nature of many pagan belief systems couldn’t counter the sole path message of the monotheistic church.
The church is still powerful today. You might think that fewer and fewer people are going, and the numbers out there support that thinking, but the pervasive nature of those baked in beliefs still exist. Easter is still celebrated everywhere, whereas Ostara, the pagan holiday it rolled over by comparison is barely celebrated at all. So while you’re celebrating today with chocolate bunnies and eggs, just remember that neither of those two iconic images have anything to do with the resurrection of Christ. They’re sad relics of a pagan belief system the early church crushed on its way to the religious monopoly of human minds for the past two thousand years.