Belated Thoughts about Easter

So yesterday was Easter. It’s just one of several Christian holidays that, like Christmas, have made it into the “mainstream” culture of America and the rest of the world. We’ve added the little bunny’s basket of eggs to the imagery of Jesus, and everyone’s pretty happy with that. I don’t hate the bunny. I absolutely love the stuff in those Cadbury creme eggs. The thing that fascinates me about Easter, as compared to the other mainstreamed holidays, is how unacceptable Easter actually is to non-Christians, and how crucial it is to Christians.

Let me put it this way: no non-Christian can logically acknowledge and celebrate Easter and still be a non-Christian. Easter is the lynchpin of the entire Christian faith, and Christians believe it celebrates the turning point in the history of the world. Compare it to Christmas. You’re celebrating the birth of Jesus. Even non-Christians often agree Jesus was born and existed in some way, so Christmas isn’t hard for them to buy. But Easter? If the event Easter is celebrating actually happened, it would be proof that Jesus is exactly who the Christians say he is. In general, people don’t come back from the dead without something seriously supernatural going on. And in this case, Jesus’ resurrection would be proof that God had accepted the sacrifice he had made three days earlier.

For some reason, it just strikes me as being so odd that we’ve got Easter decorations everywhere (at Target, at the doctor’s office, wherever), and I know for certain that many, many people simply won’t or can’t believe in the event that Easter proclaims.

What it comes down to is this: if Easter’s resurrection didn’t happen, Christians (including myself) are the sorriest bunch of suckers on the face of the earth. But if it did, their “winnings” are so great they can’t be measured. There’s something so stark about that. I just love it. All that spiritual tension, wrapped in pastels.

9 thoughts on “Belated Thoughts about Easter

  1. I vaguely remember something about someone named Ishtar having to do with babylon, rabbits, egss and orgies. But you make a good point anyway.

  2. How much of the modern Easter Celebration (outside of the actual church service) is actually Christian rather than Pagan in origin? Heck, even the scheduling arguably non-Christian (first Sunday following the first full moon to occur on or after the Vernal Equinox). Just like Christmas, Easter has been nerfed enough that most people don’t really associate it with Jesus’ resurection so much as with candy.

  3. You’re right, Gos. Much of it is pagan in origin, right down to the origin of the name of the Holiday. But I don’t want to turn this into an “Oh, look how watered down our Christian holidays have become” discussion. I think the more profound thing here is how different Easter is, conceptually, from all other Christian holidays. It celebrates a singular happening, and that happening is completely supernatural.

  4. I’m amazed at how widespread the Easter celebration is. The only thing open on Easter are restaurants and gas stations. Forget going to Target to pick up some soap, or the grocery store to get bread. I never thought the rest of society cared that much.

  5. You make some interesting references, Josh – you should check out Pascal’s wager argument for the existence of God.

    However, I don’t understand your “argument from acknowledgment.” I’m a non-Christian, I believe Jesus was a great man who walked the earth with great lessons for humanity, and I understand why Target has put up large, colorful pictures of eggs, baskets, and bunnies. I also understand and acknowledge what people are celebrating, but that doesn’t mean I believe it to be true. Heck, I acknowledge Halloween, but I don’t think children should consume copious amounts of candy, nor do I believe in ghosts, goblins, and the like.

    Also, you say “no non-Christian can logically acknowledge and celebrate Easter and still be a non-Christian” – this, of course, depends on the definitions of “celebration” and “Easter.” If I bite into a Cadbury creme egg and taste its gooey deliciousness, am I celebrating Easter, acknowledging Christ, and, in turn, saving my immortal soul while enjoying rich milk chocolate? If so, at less than $0.99, those eggs are a damn good deal.

  6. Might I recomend against ever using Pascal’s wager as a proof for the existence of God, let alone as an argument in favor of Christianity as some people try to do. It, along with Occam’s Razor, are probably the most misapplied arguments in online religious debates. It’s an interesting topic, but it’s total suicide in a debate since it’s so easy to take cheep shots at it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal's_Wager

  7. Yes, Gos, I agree. Please note that I was not using the wager argument to prove any point of mine, but rather I was commenting on the similarities between Pascal’s words and Josh’s. So, thank you, Gos – we agree.

  8. Being a pseudo-Christian (raised Jewstian, and practicing agnostic), I find absolutely no problem with Easter. To me, Easter is a time of pastel colors, happy bunnies, and wonderful candy. There ain’t nuttin’ wrong wit dat honey. I think part of my acceptance of it is based on knowing that Christianity is the dominant culture of our region. I see nothing wrong with enjoying the decorations and enjoying “Easter”, but I have no mental correlation between these celebrations (and my consuming chocolate) and the raising of Christ. And I don’t think there needs to be…

    For the record, I was racing this Easter, and very happy that the holiday made for a low turnout.

  9. Thanks for your comments guys! It’s good to hear differing opinions.

    My definition of “celebrate” in this case is “to believe in and acknowledge the fundamental meaning of something.” Since the fundamental meaning of the Easter holiday is the resurrection of Christ (let’s not go postmodern on that statement and claim it has no meaning), it would be impossible to fully celebrate Easter without also believing that event actually happened.

    This also gets to why I make a distinction between Easter and Christmas, which was the point of this post. I should’ve said it this way the first time. 😉 I think non-Christians can celebrate Christmas, even by the definition I gave above. You can believe Jesus was a good man and a good teacher, as Dave said he does, and celebrate his birth. In that case, you’re celebrating Christmas even though you’re not a Christian. That’s fine. I think that makes perfect sense.

    That’s not to say someone who isn’t celebrating Easter by the above definition can’t or won’t enjoy Easter as much as anyone else does. That person just enjoys it for different reasons. I’m definitely not trying to be exclusive, and I apologize if I’ve seemed that way!

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