When is easter

The Economist looks at the problem and offers a solution. 

As an atheist, I suggest easter should be the whole week. Who doesn’t want time off?

And I here somewhere in the UK, May and the bishop are not impressed with an add. What does rabbits have to do with Jesus and eggs?

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The Easter myth

In my list of people occupying the lowest rank in society, the so called scum of society, I have politicians, police and pastors. I find pastors with access to the internet the worst type of persons. They are likely to have read volumes of tracts showing the impossibility of the bible narratives but still spread them as truth, gospel truths.

Pastor James Miller in his recent post has decided to convince his followers and anyone who happens on his site that the story of Jesus is factual.

He starts by telling us

Years ago I made an intentional exploration of the question of whether or not God was real.  I made a point of studying everything I could about it.  I read the holy books of many different religions with only one question in mind – could any of this be true?

and it is only fair for us to ask what were his findings.

Without giving us an answer for the above story, he moves on to write

One of the tests scholars may use to evaluate the validity of a historical claim is called “the criterion of embarrassment.” They say that if a story from history is embarrassing to the author or to the hero of the story, it is probably true.

and I guess you know where this is going.

I will not venture to quote the rest of his balderdash but I would like to offer a counter explanation. One, if the story of Jesus was meant to fulfill prophesy as the christian claims, then descriptions of a humble background are not embarrassing but actually buttress the story they are spreading. Lookie, he was a humble prince, he is the son of god, you know the nonsense.

In the case of Jesus narrative, we can safely say he doesn’t know what is being written about him. He has no room to be embarrassed.

It is also untrue that the criterion of embarrassment is always true. Reading about the saints, one gets the feeling that they took pride in some things that most of us would be ashamed to accept in public. There are instances you read of saints who didn’t shower or other things that a modern day pastor would be embarrassed to write about themselves.

In the discussions with the religious leaders of the time, Jesus is said to awe them with his wit, from a young age. In what parallel world would this be embarrassing to someone’s hero.

The christian cannot say the hanging on a cross is embarrassing to their hero. Did they want it written he was killed by the firing squad? Or killed by the guillotine as they used to do in France? The cross instead of embarrassing their hero or them, actually gives them a lot of pride. They like it, wear them everywhere. They claim it is a sign of great sacrifice, they would not want it any other way.

That women were the first at the tomb, instead of being embarrassing is to be seen as a welcome message to women that they too can be leaders and members of the church. There is nothing in Jesus story that can be interpreted as embarrassing to the authors of the story or to the hero of the story. It fits smugly with what they wanted to achieve. They wanted a humble, ass riding, virgin born, cross dying king and that is what they bequeathed the world. To think otherwise, is as my friend would say, to be full of shit.

I contend therefore that the criterion of embarrassment doesn’t in anyway lend support to the Jesus story and in fact destroys it.

The eyewitness question

We had posted this but with inspiration we received from this post there can be no better time to have a rerun.

The following conversation takes place between us and the apostles.

We ask

How long have you known Jesus?

I have known him for one year.

And I for two.

And I for three.

Has any of you known him for more than three years?

No.

Was he with his apostles for one year or for three?

For one.

No, for three.

You are not certain, then, how long Jesus was with his apostles.

No.

How old was Jesus when crucified?

About thirty-one.

No, about thirty-three.

No, he was much older, about fifty.

You cannot tell with any certainty, then, his age at the time of his death.

No.

You say he was tried and crucified in Jerusalem before your own eyes, can you remember the date of this great event?

We cannot.

Were you present when Jesus was taken down from the cross?

We were not.

You cannot tell, then, whether he was dead when taken down.

We have no personal knowledge.

Were you present when he was buried?

We were not, because we were in hiding for our lives.

You do not know, therefore, whether he was actually buried, or where he was buried.

We do not.

Were any of you present when Jesus came forth from the grave?

Not one of us was present,

Then, you were not with him when he was taken down from the cross; you were not with him when he was interred, and you were not present when he rose from the grave.

We were not.

When, therefore, you say, he was dead, buried and rose again, you are relying upon the testimony of others?

We are.

Will you mention the names of some of the witnesses who saw Jesus come forth from the tomb?

Mary Magdalene, and she is here and may be questioned.

Were you present, Mary, when the angels rolled away the stone, and when Jesus came forth from the dead?

No, when I reached the burying place early in the morning, the grave had already been vacated, and there was no one sleeping in it.

You saw him, then, as the apostles did, _after_ he had risen?

Yes.

But you did not see anybody rise out of the grave.

I did not.

Are there any witnesses who saw the resurrection?

There are many who saw him after the resurrection.

But if neither they nor you saw him dead, and buried, and did not see him rise, either, how can you tell that a most astounding and supposedly impossible miracle had taken place between the time you saw him last and when you saw him again two or three days after? Is it not more natural to suppose that, being in a hurry on account of the approaching Sabbath, Jesus, if ever crucified, was taken down from the cross before he had really died, and that he was not buried, as rumor states, but remained in hiding; and his showing himself to you under cover of darkness and in secluded spots and in the dead of night only, would seem to confirm this explanation. You admit also that the risen Jesus did not present himself at the synagogues of the people, in the public streets, or at the palace of the High Priest to convince them of his Messiahship.

Do you not think that if he had done this, it would then have been impossible to deny his resurrection? Why, then, did Jesus hide himself after he came out of the grave? Why did he not show himself also to his enemies? Was he still afraid of them, or did he not care whether they believed or not? If so, why are _you_ trying to convert them? The question waits for a reasonable answer; Why did not Jesus challenge the whole world with the evidence of his resurrection? You say you saw him occasionally, a few moments at a time, now here, and now there, and finally on the top of a mountain whence he was caught up in a cloud and disappeared altogether. But that “cloud” has melted away, the sky is clear, and there is no Jesus visible there. The cloud, then, had nothing to hide. It was unnecessary to call in a cloud to close the career of your Christ.The grave is empty, the cloud has vanished. Where is Christ? In heaven! Ah, you have at last removed him to a world unknown, to the undiscovered country. Leave him there! Criticism, doubt, investigation, the light of day, cannot cross its shores. Leave him there!

still on this resurrection debacle

As to the account given of his resurrection and ascension, it was the necessary counterpart of his birth. His historians having brought him into the world in a supernatural manner, were obliged to take him out again in the same manner, or the first part of the story must have fallen to the ground. The wretched contrivance with which this latter part is told exceeds every thing that went before it. The first part, that of the miraculous conception, was not a thing that admitted of publicity, and therefore the tellers of this part of the story had this advantage, that though they might not be credited, they could not be detected…. But the resurrection of a dead person from the grave, and his ascension through the air, is a thing very different as to the evidence it admits of, to the invisible conception of a child in the womb. The resurrection and ascension, supposing them to have taken place, admitted of public and ocular demonstration, like that of the ascension of a balloon, or the sun at noon-day, to all Jerusalem at least. A thing which everybody is required to believe, requires that the proof and evidence of it should be equal to all, and universal; and as the public visibility of this last related act was the only evidence that could give sanction to the former part, the whole of it falls to the ground, because that evidence never was given…. It is in vain to attempt to palliate or disguise this matter. The story, so far as relates to the supernatural part, has every mark of fraud and imposition stamped upon the face of it. Who were the authors of it is as impossible for us now to know, as it is for us to be assured that the books in which the account is related were written by the persons whose names they bear, the best surviving evidence we now
have respecting this affair is the Jews. They are regularly descended from the people who lived in the times this resurrection and ascension is said to have happened, and they say, it is not true. It has long appeared to me a strange inconsistency to cite the Jews as a proof of the truth of the story. It is just the same as if a man were to say, I will prove the truth of what I have told you by producing the people who say it is false”

Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

The Easter sham

To most Christians, Easter marks the most important point in their calendar and as St Paul so aptly put it And if Christ is not risen then our preaching is empty and your faith is in vain [1 Corinthians 15:14] and so I find it ridiculous that one christian apologist says in much ado about resurrection that he for a long time didn’t get why it has to be included in the gospel story though that now he realizes the resurrection was inevitable and had to be included. I don’t know how many Christians feel the same way about the resurrection and if indeed there are who share his predicament, feel free to express it in the comments especially what the resurrection means to you.

To me, the resurrection of Jesus was no more significant than the resurrection of Lazarus. It was just one more miracle. The big deal was the death of Christ, not His resurrection.

To some extent he is true, in the sense that if any of these things happened there is really no difference. We have been told, in theOT, that people were brought back to life, what we are never told is whether after being brought back to life, they die again which then leads me to question the point of bringing them to life in the first place. What was the point in raising Lazarus from his sleep if he was going to die again in a few years? Why not let him rest. The story of the resurrection is told differently in the gospels. Mathew talks about a violent earthquake, he seems to be the only one aware of the earthquake and he further tells us Jesus met the women, he even says the stone wasn’t rolled when the women showed up; Mark tells us they were three women[not a significant difference though but who do we believe], he says the stone was rolled and a young man was sitting by the right side; Luke tells us the women were wandering in the tomb then two men appeared and for good measure let us hear John who says the women did not go in neither did she talk with anyone one. She just ran away. When the apologist finishes reading the three versions, I will wait to be told the correct one and how he got to that conclusion.

There is little evidence to prove that Christ existed and even if he did how could the death of one man atone for sins committed and those yet to be committed?

We have been told Christ suffering is significant and oft-times you hear a person suffering being told that Jesus also suffered and they should bear theirs with courage. I got a few reflections on the matter. If Jesus was truly god, and god is passionless, unchanging, all-knowing and whatever quality the theist want to give god, he doesn’t know what it means to suffer. I agree to be nailed to a cross is a horrible way to die but here we have god on the cross, nothing could have been too much for god and he died the same day anyway. There are many people whose lives are a series of intense pain, untold suffering that what Jesus, if he existed, went through can all pale in comparison. To tell such a person to take comfort in Jesus’ suffering is to not understand human suffering.

Because of the resurrection, the grave is a passageway to eternal life!

I think anyone who believes in another life apart from this cannot live fully here and now. To them this life is but a preparation for a future life. How I find this to be really sad.

I think Nietzsche said it best, when he wrote in Human, all too Human

When on a Sunday morning we hear the bells ringing, we ask ourselves: it is possible! This is going on because of a Jew crucified 2,000 years ago who said he was the son of God. The proof of such an assertion is lacking. In the context of our age the Christian religion is certainly a piece of antiquity intruding out of distant ages past, and that the above-mentioned assertion is believed is perhaps the most ancient piece of the inheritance. A god who begets children on a mortal woman; a sage who calls upon us no longer to work, no longer to sit in judgment, but to heed the signs of the imminent end of the world; a justice which accepts an innocent man as a substitute sacrifice; someone who bids his disciples drink his blood; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetrated against a god atoned for by a god; fear of a Beyond to which death is the gateway; the figure of the Cross as a symbol in an age which no longer knows the meaning and shame of the Cross — how gruesomely all this is wafted to us, as if out of the grave of a primeval past! Can one believe that things of this sort are still believed in?

And as a gift from me to you, please visit Tell me the old story, old story…. not for the best Easter reflection I have read to this date.

Goldfish

I will start by apologizing to ladysighs who was the donor and not Meme and hope that I will be promptly forgiven :-D.

I haven’t bothered to check with Mo or Jeebus on goldfish, I highly doubt with their obsession with blood, war and sacrifices and in the case of Mo flights on a Pegasus, I doubt they could have time for such beautiful creatures.

What would we do with a memory that lasts three months? For starters, I don’t think we would be superstitious. A guy dies and after three months we have forgotten they existed that is hoping we didn’t take photos with them.

I would get lost trying to trace my upcountry home [I take more than three months before I travel down].

Imagine every three months being introduced to your parents and vice versa. One could just insist on a new pair of parents if for a given reason you didn’t like your parents.

Then a man after three months forgetting he already made his wife pregnant and then inquiring to know who is the father? I think this would be devastating to most especially if the wife is to say I can’t remember.

As an equal opportunity basher, I wish the Christians a happy moment as they take time this weekend to celebrate the greatest metaphor of all time, that is the suicide of god to save humanity from god for sins that Adam and Eve who didn’t exist committed!

And for movie lovers, you need to watch this movie.