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Easter’s Coming and Mom Thinks I’m Going to Hell

zombiejesus[1]Normally, I try my best to ignore Easter, or Zombie Rabbi Day. This requires staying out of shops that have seasonal aisles piled high with sugar and chemical-laden treats and garish plastic crap from China that cause little children to have cataclysmic meltdowns when their parents don’t buy the stuff. I also overlook the signs in neighbors’ yards advertising their churches’ annual come-to-Jesus “free” Easter egg hunt and proselytizing fest. And thick glossy sale ads in the Sunday paper exhorting us to buy a new set of clothes (’cause Jesus cares about what’s on-trend for Spring!). And a myriad of other mostly small annoyances. Soon it will be over. Sigh of relief. [Read more]

FFRF ‘Easter’ sign vandalized at Wis. State Capitol

myth1[1]The Freedom From Religion Foundation is leaving on display — as evidence of the divisiveness of religion in government — its mutilated sign saying “Nobody died for our sins,” which was vandalized by a fanatic before noon today in the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. A man wrested FFRF’s foamboard sign, which was securely taped to an easel, and violently mangled it in front of passersby. Capitol security was quickly summoned and gave chase, but the vandal got away. FFRF has affixed a new statement on top of the mangled sign, which is still legible. [Read more]

Easter Crosses Create a Debate of Separation of Church and State

68c5998c1c919aa240c40436104f259e[1]In Ohio, this year Easter is turning into a debate of church and state. According to the Associated Press on Thursday, this issue is being caused by a pair of crosses that are being displayed on the Stratton Village Municipal Building in observation of the upcoming holiday. The group, based in Madison, Wisconsin, doesn’t believe it is constitutional to display crosses during the holidays—or at any time—, as Mayor John Abdalla has asserted. The Freedom From Religion Foundation already threatened to sue back in January and the crosses were removed. However, the crosses were put back up at the beginning of April in honor of Easter Sunday. [Read more]

War on Easter?

3509320_G[1]An atheist group has sparked outrage with a sign at the Wisconsin Capitol that reads, “Nobody died for our ‘sins,’ Jesus Christ is a myth.” The Freedom From Religion Foundation posted the sign to counter an Easter display put up by the Concerned Women for America. The display features a cross and conservative materials that include anti-abortion literature. [Read more]

Atheists Put Anti-Easter Sign in Capitol Building: ‘Nobody Died for Our Sins, Jesus Christ is a Myth’

wisconsin-state-capitol[1]After a Christian organisation put a Christian and anti-abortion display in the Wisconsin State Capitol, an atheist group decided to send a message of their own, the Washington Times reports. Concerned Women for America (CWA)—a conservative Christian activist group—received a permit to display a cross and anti-abortion literature inside the Capitol building during Holy Week. When the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) found out about the display, they secured a permit for the Capitol as well. [Read more]

Can You Question the Resurrection and Still Be a Christian?

Noel-coypel-the-resurrection-of-christ-1700[1]“On the third day, he rose again.” That line, from the Nicene Creed, is the foundational statement of Christian belief. It declares that three days after Jesus died on the cross, he was resurrected, a glimmer of the eternal life promised to believers. It’s the heart of the Easter story in seven little words. But how that statement is interpreted is the source of some of the deepest rifts in Christianity — and a stumbling block for some Christians and more than a few skeptics. Did Jesus literally rise from the dead in a bodily resurrection, as many traditionalist and conservative Christians believe? Or was his rising a symbolic one, a restoration of his spirit of love and compassion to the world, as members of some more liberal brands of Christianity hold? [Read more]

Easter – The Ultimate Vanity

EasterTheUltimate2[1]I know that there will be plenty of people writing blogs about Easter, its stolen (adapted) stories, its co-opted symbology, its dubious efficacy, and its variable date according to the phases of the moon. It happens every year, and as with Christmas, the points about how Christianity absorbed pagan rituals and mythology into its own religion so as to appease the people of the time, forever adding new appendages to the story and making it easier to understand for societies that already had their own rites in place, will saturate the Internet.  [Read more]

Moses, the Promised Land and Easter

9780979963186_350[1]In my book Did Moses Exist? I provide substantial evidence that the biblical story of Moses and the Exodus reside in the realm of myth, not history. Firstly, I dissemble the purported historicity of the Mosaic tale, and secondly I demonstrate the previous myths and legends from which the story evidently came in significant part. In this effort, I include numerous primary sources in multiple languages from antiquity, eventually showing that, as my friend Bob Price states in the quote above, Moses is a solar hero, a fictional compilation of several sun, storm, wine and serpent deities of the eastern Mediterranean and beyond. In this analysis, the Exodus symbolizes the seasonal movement away from the desolation (Egypt) and desert (Sinai) of winter, into the fertile Promised Land (Israel) of spring. [Read more]

Easter Myths

Screen-shot-2011-04-24-at-1.01.19-AM-197x300[1]As a child I liked Easter. I’m sure much of that was because of candy, and to a lesser extent the new stuffed (plush) animal I got yearly in my Easter basket. I also liked Easter Egg Hunts and the family gatherings that usually went along with them. (Anytime I got to go visit my Grandma and Gramps I was a happy kid.) During my teenage years I was a pretty committed Christian and enjoyed Easter because it was the spiritual high-point of the Christian calendar. I grew up as a Christian, but the experience was generally flat spiritually except around Easter. Palm Sunday was often surprisingly festive and sometimes even rivaled Easter in terms of church pageantry and significance. [Read more]

Philippine Bishops Warn Against Self-Flagellation

1397640085[1]Manila: The country’s Catholic bishops on Wednesday warned penitents not to subject themselves to crucifixion or self-flagellation during the observance of Good Friday. Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, president of the bishops’ conference said that instead of subjecting themselves to “extreme forms” of sacrifice, Catholics should instead show more “love for others”. “The question is, if you nail yourself on the cross, will it increase your love for your neighbor?” the prelate said. “If what you do makes you love others more, then it is pleasing to God. But if you do it for photographs, for you to be famous, then that becomes spiritual vanity,” he said. [Read more]

Christians Mark Good Friday in the Holy Land

Christians in the Holy Land have commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Good Friday prayers and processions through Jerusalem’s Old City. Thousands of Christian pilgrims filled the cobblestone alleyways of the Old City on Friday along the Via Dolorosa, Latin for the “Way of Suffering.”

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Easter – Christian or Pagan?

Mormons’ Puzzling Indifference to Easter

“Happy Easter,” I said to a pair of fellow missionaries as I entered the LDS meeting house in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on the last Sunday in March, 1986. The elders stopped and stared at me. “Easter?” one of them said. “Today’s not Easter.” “Yes it is,” I said. “Sister Welker,” the other said, “Easter is always the first Sunday in April.” “No it’s not,” I replied. “It’s the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. And that’s today.” [Read more]

Did Christians Really ‘Steal’ Easter?

It’s that time of year again: the time when chocolate comes in pastels, cherry blossoms start to bloom and well-marketed religion exposés are released to the world. In other words, it’s Easter. Among the rash of sensationalist stories we can expect through the season, the annual “Easter was stolen from the pagans” refrain has sprouted again just in time for Holy Week. Don’t believe the hype. [Read more]