As if singing songs, holding hands, and swallowing millennia-year-old dogma in the name of Christ’s gift of salvation every Sunday weren’t enough, Easter — the made-up day of Jesus’s cloud-mounting giddy-up to heaven — occasions all the Savior’s self-admitted sheep year after year to regard some Sunday falling between March 22 and April 25 as extra holy. (Interestingly, for the sects of Eastern Christianity, Easter falls between April 4 and May 8.)
Why this curious range of time? The discrepancy lies in the acceptance of different calendars — Gregorian for the West and Julian for the East — used to calculate moveable feasts, among other things. A reform of the pre-Christ Roman Calendar, the Julian sought a truer approximation of the solar year; yet, owing to lazy decimal-keeping (every four centuries the calendar would gain three days), it failed.
The Gregorian, in 1582, overcoming the Julian’s inaccuracies, gained acceptance from many countries — a clear motivation being squaring Easter celebration with the occurrence of the vernal equinox. Why choose this stage of Earth’s stroll about the Sun? Well, since it was supposedly during Passover (the period during which God, displaying a mobster’s moral intelligence, literally terrorizes the population of Egypt in order to help the Israelites) that Jesus’s maiming and torturing took place, the First Council of Nicaea (in a.d. 325) thought the vernal equinox an obvious choice given its linkage with Passover.
And here we stand today as inheritors of this ghastly myth — revering, ritualizing and reveling in what is unquestionably the most popularized, morally heinous crime committed: the sacrificial murder of a child. And this, they say, is the most important moral act in all of human history? I apologize, but they’ve got to be joking. (By “they” I mean only those who take sin to be the essential unit of moral judgment.)
Crucifying one’s offspring, whether it be divine or not, can never serve the moral progress of the human species. Human greatness is not measured against our obedience to God’s will; it is measured against how successful we are in realizing excellence in our own capacities and harmony in our communities.
So much of our energy is wasted on celebrating this silly, obnoxious myth. The sooner it’s forgotten, the better.
Brian Gallagher is a fourth-year philosophy major.
Easter is my fourteenth-favorite pagan holiday co-opted by Christianity and bowdlerized beyond recognition. A day of debauchery after the abstinence of Lent, Easter is only to be enjoyed by those brave enough to forego something truly important for 40 whole days, like drinking lattes, eating fast food or being a judgmental dick.
The best part of Easter is asking the true believers what the hell this holiday is actually all about. When asked to retell the story, most say Jesus, who is the Christ, rose from the dead, did some stuff and flew up to Heaven. The more Bible-literate among us will be able to offer a little bit more in terms of narrative, but they inevitably run into the slight problem that every Gospel gives a wildly different account of what happened.
Firstly, the empty tomb is discovered either by both Marys and Salome (Mark 16), or by Mary Magdalene, Joanna and some other women (Luke 24), or by Mary alone (John 20), who then either did not tell anyone (Mark 16) or told the disciples (John 20). Then, Jesus appears near his tomb (Matthew 28) or maybe near Emmaus, which is some miles from Jerusalem (Luke 24). Finally, at the end of the story, Jesus
ascends to Heaven. Except that some say he ascends in front of his disciples, in Jerusalem (Mark 16, Luke 24), while others say he ascends at least forty days later at Mt. Olivet (Acts 1) and some don’t mention him ascending to Heaven at all (Matthew and John). Details, details.
What’s important is that Jesus’s triumphal entry is preceded by the arrival of a wave of zombies, which is, of course, totally rad. “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, / And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many” (Matthew 27:52-53). No other disciples think an invasion of the undead is worth mentioning, I
Then, of course, Jesus beatifies a man-sized bunny rabbit, tasking it with delivering chocolate effigies and eggs to children. Please, administer this fun and educational test to your willing Christian friends. Ask them what happened on Easter, and why you should believe Matthew over Mark. Their answer might surprise you both.
Connor Oakes is a fourth-year political science major.