Happy Easter

by Richard Poe
Sunday, April 20, 2003

8:20 am Eastern Time
3 Comments wishes to all and sundry a blessed Festa Paschalia.

And for those who believe you can’t have a good blog entry without a good controversy, fear not. Here’s an article on the so-called Easter Controversy, which concerns the proper date on which to celebrate this venerable holiday. Also, because Easter has roots not only in Judaeo-Christian tradition but also in the worship of the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre (who goes by other names in other cultures, and may be distantly related to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar), the more Puritannical strains of Christianity condemn it.

Happy Easter everyone!


3 Responses to “Happy Easter”


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  1. David Yeagley says:

    Richard, half the cultural trappings of the Christian religion are “borrowed” from non-Jewish, non-“Christian” sources. But that’s trappings or visual aids or culturally limited expression, not faith.

    I have a Yale colleague who delights in the inter-cultural, inter-national, inter-historical nature of Christianity.

    But have no fear. Images change in meaning and significance. What the cross means to Christians has little to do with what it meant to others, elsewhere, in other times. Like words, images don’t “mean;” people “mean.”

    What I hesitate about is the fact that scholars and historians of the left-over Enlightenment, anti-Judeo-Christian ilk all try to say that everything in the Bible was borrowed. I have logical arguments against this, but they cannot be posted as a comment.

    The point is, if originality is equated with authenticity, then oral tradition is the realm of decision, and ancient oral tradition is precisely beyond scientific investigation. Yet, these same scholars want to say that you can’t trust the Bible because of all the generations of oral tradition behind it.

    Thus they contradict their own position of denial of Biblical “authenticity.” They want to say, “Whoever wrote it first is the originator,” so that when they find pre-Biblical literature, they can say, “See? the Bible writers were just borrowing.”

    Have I repeated myself enough?

  2. Richard Poe says:

    Dear David:

    Source criticism does not undermine my faith in the Bible any more than high-school biology undermines my faith in God.

    I suppose it must have been harrowing for primitive peoples to discover the concept of paternity, after constructing elaborate cults around the notion that women created babies in their bellies ex nihilo.

    But merely because we now understand that two parents must have sexual intercourse in order to produce a child, this obviously does not prevent us from regarding the creation of human life with religious awe — unless of course we are already temperamentally predisposed in that direction and are simply looking for an excuse for our cynicism.

    I have long believed that the choice between atheism and religious faith is determined by temperament. People believe in God — or the Bible or the Church — because they want to, not because they are driven to such belief by the weight of evidence. Atheism is no more subject to proof than the existence of God.

  3. David Yeagley says:

    Richard, I have said for years, belief is not the verdict of logic, but the act of the will. I for one believe what feels the best, what brings the most enjoyment. To me, that’s what belief if about — good feeling.

    Hedonistic as that sounds, it’s the way I came to think after attending American institutions of higher learning, places like Yale, where historical tradition is all that can be regarded as valid reason for pointing your thoughts in any religious direction.

    Furthermore, in Jewish tradition, belief is a responsibility! You’re morally guilty if you disbelieve. So, belief isn’t a matter of deduction at all, but of self-control.

    Now there’s a long lost elixir for American Christianity!

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