Monday, April 25, 2011

A Few Thoughts About Easter And Jesus

Here's something I'm surprised I didn't think of before the holiday, but better late than never, I guess.

Even though the whole Easter season officially ended on Sunday, April 24, this year, this post should still be somewhat relevant. At least it will still be a good way to lead into a series of posts I need to get up, too.

For me, Easter has always been the official start of spring and summer, much like it was before human culture invented the whole business of the Christian faith and its offshoots. I have, for most of my life, thought that organized religion in general was a bunch of bull, but that's another topic for another post, for the most part.

See, back in ancient times, this was the time of year when most cultures would celebrate the return of the growing season and the apparent return of life to the world after the so-called dead of winter. After the celebration, the farmers would return to their fields and pastures to put their seeds in the ground and make sure their livestock were surviving the process of having babies. That's why there has been all the imagery of eggs and baby animals around the last few weeks. When Christianity became the dominant faith in the Western world, its followers added in the idea that this was also the time of year that some guy named Jesus, who they called their savior, came back to life after being executed by the Romans.

About 2000 years ago, more or less, according to a book called the Bible, this Jesus guy went around preaching about things like social responsibility as part of a new monotheistic religion that was rising in the Middle East and spreading through the Roman Empire. The Romans didn't like that all this was undermining their power, so when they eventually caught up with Jesus, they nailed him to a simple scaffold in the desert and left him to die of thirst, starvation, and minor wounds. A few days after he died and was put into a tomb, he supposedly came back to life with a few special powers granted by his faith's god. And this is the primary reason why the modern Easter season is set up the way it is.

I much prefer the older reasoning behind the celebrating that goes on this time of year. It's a party to celebrate having survived another winter before going out into the fields to plant the year's crop. Or, in my case, as I live in a city in the 21st century, to put some seeds in my planters by the front door and help my dad plant his backyard garden. In the next couple days, I'll be enjoying the first bonfire of the summer.

Of course, I don't discount the whole Jesus thing, either, even if I don't necessarily buy into the whole death and resurrection business the religion promotes. The way I look at it is that if Jesus really did exist, he was not a stupid man. When the Christians approached him at about the time he was at the age of ascension, which would have been about 12 or 13 in his day, they were a cult looking for a new face to represent them, and Jesus was one that they were considering. And he knew that he had a choice. He could either go with them and see the Roman Empire on other people's dime or he could stay in Nasareth and be a carpenter like his dad.

I think most of us who grew up the way I did know which he chose, as there's a whole family of religions based on that choice. Personally, I think he made the right one, even if it didn't turn out so well for him after twenty years or so. So if I celebrate Jesus now and at Christmas, it's not because I'm a particularly religious guy. It's because I was raised to, partly, and also because I think the guy made a good choice when he was presented with it.

Having said all that, I too have a choice to make. I have a series of blog posts I want to make here. I know that there's a good chance they'll come back to bite me in the ass if I make them, but I also think they're on matters that should be addressed in a forum like this. So I'm gonna have the balls to make those posts, knowing that there's a good chance they'll come back to bite me.

Will I live to regret doing this? I hope not, but we'll soon see. See you soon, dear readers, with some things that may cause trouble and others that will certainly be fun.

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