It’s probably a good thing that all the religious holidays—Christmas, Easter, Halloween—have a large candy aspect, and some fanciful, imaginary characters to symbolize them. That way those of us who are not followers of organized religion can still go to Wal-Mart and buy hundreds of dollars in holiday-associated crap and decorations, so we can celebrate with everyone else, without actually believing any of it.
Now we’re coming up on Easter, the most far-fetched of the Christian holidays. A bold claim, to be sure, but let’s take a look at this springtime celebration, shall we? First off, why in the hell can’t they just pick a date and go with it? I never know when Easter is, because it falls on the first Sunday after Opening Day, but before the next new moon, unless it happens to be a year that’s a prime number, or a week with two Thursdays, and then add three days. Your guess is as good as mine.
Then there’s the resurrection itself. For those of you who always clam up in the “Bible Quotes” category on Jeopardy, I’ll break it down for you. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ, which is the very foundation of the Christian faith. According to the story, the perforated body of Christ was placed in a tomb after he died on the cross. Three days later the tomb was discovered to be empty, and rather than call the cops, his followers declared that he had risen from the dead and bolted.
Now, I don’t want to turn this into CSI:Gethsemane, but I can see several holes in this story. First of all, the cave into which Jesus’ body was placed was sealed off with a large rock. By all accounts, Jesus was kind of a “scrawny dude,” (Spicoli, Book of Duderonomy, 4:20) and did not possess the strength to move a massive rock by himself, especially in his wounded, emaciated condition. Not to mention being dead. So he had some help. One popular theory is that a band of opportunistic Roman soldiers crept into the cave at night, and stole the body of Christ so they could later sell the shroud he was wrapped in on eBay.
For argument’s sake, let’s say Jesus was able to overcome his mortal wounds, spring back to life, and muster the strength to slide a heavy boulder aside enough to escape the cave. Where did he go? Did he check into the Mount Olive Super 8 to get cleaned up and chillax with some Domino’s pizza and SportsCenter? No one knows for sure.
According to legend, I mean the Bible, there were several sightings. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-6, Paul said the following: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.”
Cephas (real name Simon; Cephas was his street name) was a bit of a boozer (“And the one called Cephas shall be known to linger with thy grape wrapped in thine bag of brown paper”), and was likely blotto when Jesus appeared to him after the resurrection. Jesus said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona…I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”
Cephas had no idea what he was talking about, but reported it to the authorities anyway, in exchange for enough shekels to buy a short dog of muscatel. And as for the “500 brethren,” it sounds like your typical mass hallucination, common to UFO sightings in the Midwest. I’m sorry, but these “eyewitnesses” just don’t supply the hard evidence we need to prove this resurrection theory. I know there was no photography 2,000 years ago, but couldn’t somebody who saw him post-burial have sat down and whipped out a quick oil painting? Maybe one of Jesus holding that day’s newspaper?
From miracle worker to death-cheater to Son of God, this Jesus was one magical cat. I’m sorry if this article offends the devout among you, but I just wanted to point out why I do not buy into the whole Easter story. But, as they say, whatever gets you through the night. I could get behind the original Easter celebration, which was a pagan rite of spring and rebirth called Estre. The Christian sect absorbed it, however, when enough pagans were converted to Christianity to obtain a majority in the House.
So this non-believer will be joining in the whole Easter Bunny ritual, eating chocolate rabbits for breakfast while the kids roam the yard, searching for colored eggs and candy. I just hope there’s not a piñata. Those things give me the heebie-jeebies.[Thou shalt bookmark NewWest.net/BobWire at thy earliest convenience. And please forward this column to someone who will appreciate it. Thanks.]