Easter, A Holiday Devoted to Sin.

Easter is perhaps the most devout of all Christian holidays.  The story of how it came to be is not a simple one.  As we know, it involves politics of an ancient time, law breaking and a death supposedly to forgive everyone’s sins.

In my understanding of Easter, it is the sin thing that serves as the basis for the whole of the holiday.  A regular Christian columnist on ChristianPost.com seems to agree with me.

In his article, Rev. Mark Creech, lists seven ways to interpret the meaning of Easter.  Four of the seven are about being born in sin. They include guilt from this sin, how much God hates sin and how to live without sin.  What I’ve heard called the “joy of Easter” is buried by all the sin in the story.

With this talk of sin, there is some irony that, culturally, the holiday has come to be one about Spring.  The secular version of it is the song, “In Your Easter Bonnet”, bunnies and Easter eggs.

While every culture I’ve heard of has a Spring ritual, Christianity is the only one I know of that includes a bloody story.  It is a credit to the story telling of the faith a tale so grusome could represent passage into the season of hope and optimism.

While people of faith enjoy Easter services, I think those without faith enjoy the arrival of Spring even more.  They don’t have to feel guilty their sin caused a holy man’s death.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/seven-ways-the-cross-speaks-92484/

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I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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35 Responses to Easter, A Holiday Devoted to Sin.

  1. Formerly Fargo Bob says:

    Jon, without the concept of sin Christianity would fall apart. It is a religion predicated on the notion that humans are inherently sinful and wicked and in need of a savior. And yet we are told we are the creation of a glorious, all-knowing, all-powerful, and sometimes all-loving god. Christians cannot reconcile this contradiction. An all-knowing god must have known what he was doing in creating human beings, and so it should have been no surprise that humans acted as they did. In other words, god is ultimately responsible for so-called human “sin,” and it’s ultimately pointless for god to recreate himself in human form and die to relieve us of those alleged sins.

  2. Mark says:

    Easter is about redemption.

    We can wander around in darkness, or seek the light with a humble heart.

    It’s never to late, Jon.

    God bless!

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Mark 4:57 “We can wonder aroung in the darkness..”

      I think the Bible tryed clear that up by telling us who we are. We are sinners. We no longer have to wonder around not knowing who we are. As entech’s essay pointed out, resolving the sin problem is difficult because we don’t really know which god is the real one.

  3. entech says:

    The whole thing depends on the presupposition that everything was created from nothing by a creator that was not itself created. The creation includes the beginning of history, before that creation there was no space or time, no history no nothing. The creator exists outside of space and time, is eternal, that such an entity is outside of the known universe it makes it more than a little difficult to verify the existence but does avoid any awkward questions.

    Even if such an entity exists how is it possible to say that it is the “God of Abraham”, Brahman would also fulfill all the requirements and be as difficult to justify, or perhaps Ahura Mazda. There are three candidates; most other creation stories have pantheism or polytheism at the root. If you accept any of the philosophical arguments for the necessity of a creator you cannot distinguish between these three, all three have holy books, scriptures that are different from each other and describe different histories. There is no way to say which one is the one true story all you can do is say which one you believe and in which one you place your faith.

    Most of America and about one third of the world population accept the God of Abraham, even here there are several possible candidates: The God of the Jews: The God of Mohammad and his followers (Islam): The Messianic Jesus and followers. The Jesus group has several variants of its own Mono or Triune, Incarnated Son of God, Docetist Jesus essentially an imaginary Jesus – a manifestation of God that did not die on the cross because God cannot die – Arian or Gnostic, The Jesus that became the adopted Son of God when he was baptised by John.

    The version that seems to be most widely accepted is the Trinity, a truly complicated idea. In this version when the universe was created with all the plants and animals a special being was created by the creator in his own image, but not exactly because the being, the human being, did not know many things, right from wrong being amongst them. The creator wanted the humans to remain ignorant and told them they could do anything but find out, presumably an all knowing creator would know that this was an impossible requirement, child like, innocent and curious they did find out. This is the first recorded instance of the creator being a very emotional and erratic entity, because they did what they did but had no way of knowing that is was wrong – being ignorant of the knowledge of right and wrong, this creator known as God punishes them by throwing them out into a waste land and punishing their offspring for eternity, as I say a less than perfect God. The first part of the holy book tells a history of the human race and their relationship with God, some of the humans a ‘chosen’ by God, but this keeps getting forgotten because the chosen keep doing things that annoy God and God keeps forgetting they are chosen and keeps destroying large proportions of them. At one time regretting he had even started because they all turned out evil and had to be drowned, except that he found and exception a righteous man and his family who had a boat and were saved, the entire human race is descended from this righteous family, but somehow the “original sin” leapt the boundaries and infected the otherwise righteous descendents of Noah.

    In spite of everything this God actually (in spite of many strange ways of showing it) loves his little humans even though he has been forced to damn them all to hellfire because of the original sin that he had himself imposed on them because of the mistake of the original innocent couple. Instead of just forgiving and starting again, with some better object lessons this time he decides to take all the sin on himself, he makes himself a human being, calls himself his own son and dies in agony in order to atone for all the sin(following so far, complicated isn’t it – really would have been a more simple and direct method available to the creator of everything). So God as his son dies on the cross and if you believe that you are rescued from eternal damnation.

    And that is what Easter is all about, you can believe that if you want to, it may even be true. But if you read the literature leading up to it, carefully noting some of the anomalies, the number of time the unchanging entity changes its mind would do for a start, well if you are at all like me you will find it hard to believe.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 6:48 Excellent essay–thanks. I would label your essey, “The Story of Odd Thinking”.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      Entech, well done Essay, regardless of my predisposition to faith I have an appreciation for what you wrote.

      Let me ask this. Hypothetical question.. Hypothetically, let’s say there’s a highly sentient ball of energy that does exist outside of space and time. And being bored with its “eternal, uncreated, immortal” life goes around creating things. Worlds, nebulae, stars, universes, beings of different sizes, shapes, composition, all so that its simply not alone and has something to do. And it goes around taking care of things, managing things, and doing what it wants to when it wants to. Maybe it has emotion, maybe it is a pure ball of logic and reasoning and has no emotion.

      The problem is humans with a finite mind, incapable of understanding an uncreated being’s existence, and incapable of making sense of an immortal being, applies emotion and tries to give the God entity human like qualities.. Because well, imagine describing a sentient ball of energy to the masses that exists beyond human capability to understand?

      Therefore, I would submit that the inconsistancies are humans trying to understand a God entity. They try hard, yet, the inconsistancies exist because we are only capable of understnanding so much.

      The other possibility is that Entech mentions a key point that was on my mind this morning… Human’s were created in God’s image… I find this interesting.. Does this mean that God looks like people. Just maybe with some differences?? Maybe he has hands and feet, a slit for a mouth and a nose, with large bulbous eyes and grey skin instead of peach? Hmm…. Maybe a highly advanced alien race seeking to create a new sentient life….

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Wolfy32 1:27 “.. that exists beyond human capability to understant?”

        entech will respond when it’s morning in Austrialia. I just toss something in in the meantime.

        How can we attribute something to a supreme being when we can’t understand it. A more accurate reflection would be to say, simply, we don’t understand it. There is no more reason to ascribe something we don’t understand to a supreme being than there is to say its not a supreme being. That is, there may be many other explanations other than a supreme being.

        • Wolfy32 says:

          There are many possibilities.. That the write soup of atoms came together at the right time, on the right place, in the unverse and somehow how the first single celled organism made up of thousands of atoms some how came to simply exist. Maybe it’s a simple cosmic recipe.. Mix some hydrogen, helium, some volcanic ash – carbon, and a bunch of cosmic elements and bake at a million degrees on a molten lava planet for a few hundred million years and bam, Emeril would be proud… A single bacteria cell emerges, then a few hundred million years lat, bam… Nature spiced things up and soon mammals came to be…

          Those possibilities I agree are equally as likely or possible as an advanced race / being zipping amongst the stars between most likely billions or trillions of universes… As to what the being(s) are or is, there’s just as many possibilities of what they are, what they’re made of, how intillegent are they, are they truly eternal, are they human shaped blobs of light? And what’s their agenda if they do exist? I’d say both possibilities are mutually exclusive but a being(s) vs. no being(s) are equally possible. 50/50 because we neither have any proof nor disproof of either.

          As to Easter… I think either way, whether Christ was real, a god, the son of god, or just another person, or whether he was ressurrected or not. Easter symbolizes the same for both Christians and non christians… It symbolizes new life.. For those of the bunny crusade.. It resemble new life… new plants, new trees, a shedding of winter’s cold touch, and embrace all brand new life again. For Christians it symbolizes new life.. Spirits that are renewed with new energy, new life, free from any guilt or shame that may have once plagued them. Free of any wrongdoing… And fresh chances and fresh starts to begin anew with a new outlook on life.

          I think either way, we can celebrate easter for the same ultimate outcomes just achieved in different ways. :)

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wolfy32 3:49 “An fresh chances and fresh starts to begin anew with a new outlook on life.”

            Good observation. The temperature here will finally get into the 40′s on Easter Sunday and everyone’s mood will improve.

          • Avatar of Demosthenes Demosthenes says:

            I like to call it Spring and doesn’t need any Supernatural whooey for me to understand and appreciate it.

            Here is an Idea. Abiogensis is not understood. Not knowing doesn’t equate to your god. I just means we don’t know. I would guess you don’t apply this rational to most of your life out side of faith.

            Odd how Easter falls on other religious holidays that existed before this Jesus guy was on the scene.

    • Jinx says:

      thanks for your elegant post, entech!!

      Easter, another church ritual piggybacked on pagan seasonal ceremonies and belief’s!!

      • Henry says:

        I used to live right next door to pagans at one time. They had celebration all year long, all night long, and all day long with associated smells and pagan personnel coming and going at odd hours. I suppose it would be easy to accuse of “piggybacking” the pagans. How could one not land on a day of their festivities?

        • entech says:

          Henry you must have had a very fulfilling and varied life, it is not surprising that you are a man of such a wide range of knowledge, you seem to come up with friends, relatives and/or neighbours for everything and to demonstrate how everyone else is wrong.

          I clearly remember one time you called me an idiot because I was quoting something from a missionary site in Africa, you didn’t like what was being said and it was wrong because you had relatives …

          • Henry says:

            entech: “very fulfilling and varied life”

            Yes, living in a basement apartment across the corridor from pagan personnel is very fulfilling and varied. I wouldn’t recommend it.

          • entech says:

            Henry 12:39.
            The advice you and your so frequently give might be appropriate.
            Get a real job, get some money and get out of it, on the other hand perhaps that is what you did at the time.

          • Henry says:

            10-4. I got out of it.

  4. Dustin Metzger says:

    Entech,

    The picture you paint is one that has caused divsion among Christians for over 500 years. When you read the Bible as if it were a historical document, as you point out, it proves to be filled with numerous contradictions, and becomes something very hard to believe. The Catholic perspective of the Bible truly allows these contradictions to be reconciled. Sadly, the refermation of Christianity has injected an understanding of scripture that at times is grossly out of context.

    One of the greatest challanges and persecutions of Christinity in today’s society comes from Christians being so divided on Biblical context. It’s hard to argue and stand by an aspect of your faith, when half of your followers believe something different. It’s maybe the saddest aspect of the reformation.

    Regardless of the division, our salvation is still soley through Jesus Christ. Praise God! Happy Holy week to everyone! Have a blessed Easter!

    • Wanna B Sure says:

      Dustin; I believe your accusations would be more appropriately applied to those of the post-reformation. Starting with the “Entheusists” early on, and especially those following in the 18th and 19th centuries.

  5. Henry says:

    Jon: “Easter, A Holiday Devoted to Sin.”

    Try “devoted to the defeat of sin”.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 12:55 “Try, ‘devoted to the defeat of sin.’”

      The problem with that is, you have to have someting to defeat. When “the enemy” is a straw man, sin, there is nothing to defeat. Then, there is the question entech raised, who is really the god figure we are calling on?

      • Wolfy32 says:

        I agree here, sin is something to be defeated.. It is something to be washed away. Like a spec of dirt on one’s face.. You just rinse it off.. You just happen to rinse it off with a medium of Christ’s blood. We no longer have to own sheep and slaughter them.

        So, it does bring up a good question though… As far back as Genesis, which some scholars would argue is a really really really early part of human development as to when it was written. Possibly recited orally over generations and then written down when writing was an option. Hard to say though.

        The idea of ingrained guilt and shame.. Is it possible our race does have a natural leaning towards guilt and shame and the early humans felt it and expressed it as a genetic sin that every generation inherits.

        Could it be something as simple as our ancestors felt shame and guilt for their existence, and through the generations sacrafices were used to rid ourselves of this shame and guilt. In the end it just made us feel better?

        Why are humans predisposed to this shame / guilt (and/or accepting of it??) It’s almost like this undertone of humanity just keeps this feeling of corruption / shame / guilt from generation to generation, for seemingly no apparent reason. that somehow it’s bad or an abomination to nature that exist at all….???

        Could it be that simply put, the first written precepts of human history were to simply express our own disgust at ourselves and because we didn’t know why we just attributed it to the fact that the God(s) were ashamed of us?

        Been around kids much? If they feel shame they project what they feel onto the adult and say the adult feels that way? It’s a very childlike behavior… Just a thought that maybe the idea of original sin isn’t from God or from something we did wrong, but, that at some point humans felt like they didn’t something wrong, but didn’t know how to express it? And it’s something that we’ve carried from generation to generation into modern society?

        • Avatar of Demosthenes Demosthenes says:

          “Is it possible our race does have a natural leaning towards guilt and shame……” We are a species, race is only something as a sociological aspect that we human beings created to differentiate only other humans.

          “Why are humans predisposed to this shame / guilt (and/or accepting of it??)” …. and a bunch more feelings you regrettably don’t list. Cherry pick much?

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wolfy32 3:58 If we can make a general observation people really do feel “guilty”, and I’m not sure we can, I think it is because someone told them they should feel that way.

          Someone told them that so he could offer them a way out of feeling guilty. “Follow me”, Pay me,” “Give me you allegiance”, or, in short, “Let me have control over you and you need not feel guilty any more.”

          That seems so clearly the motive of those who wrote the Bible, control.

          • Wolfy32 says:

            Sorry, I only chose two of the vast array of human emotion. I agree that organized religion instills a need to feel guilty / shameful of oneself.

            Yet, why do we clothe ourselves? That’s one of the first things that was felt by the humans in genesis. Was a sense of shame over being naked. Why?? Those humans weren’t aware of organized religion, atheists now, and numerous religious orders all advocate clothing (I think)….

            Why can’t we all go naked like all the animals? Well, except in winter.. That would suck… Certain appendages would probably fall off…

            But, I still stand by my point that humans have a natural predisposition to two very different emotions… Shame and guilt. And they are species specific emotions. Most dogs I’ve seen have no shame in showing their privates…

            So, while I agree that organized religion does rely on the fear / guilt / shame retinue of tactics for ongoing support, I think it feeds on the natural tendancies for humans to feel that way. It’s subconscious and more or less engrained in us when we’re born.

            I don’t think anyone told us to feel like we need to wear clothing. So why do we do it?

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wolfy32 1:37 “Why can’t we all go naked like animals?…inborn shame, guilt..”

            I’m quite sure ancient peoples in the tropics wore no clothes. I can’t say they if they felt guilty or not about other things, but I’m sure the guilt of hiding out bodies is recent.

            You may be correct that humans have always felt guilty and there is some reason for it. The reason would likely have to do with evolution, somehow people who felt they did not measure up to their god worked harder at finding food for themselves and their children.

            I’ve wondered the same thing about depression. It is so common. It’s hard to think it has not been present for thousands of years. So, how did depressed people survive so well? Perhaps they had to work harder or thought through things in a different way and it helped them. It remains a puzzel to me.

  6. James says:

    Jon, you are the servant off satan. As a good christian i will flee all evil. I will not visit your website or view your responses ever again. I will ask the forum to remove your blog listing from appearing on the main page. You are a lost soul that his turned his heart to evil and is now being used by satan, if you’re not satan himself in disguise.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      James 1:04 I based this blog on an aritcle written by a Christian preacher. It said 4 of 7 ways to understand Easter involve sin. If I was incorrect that Easter is mostly about sin, I hope you will correct me.

    • Wolfy32 says:

      Jon Can’t be Satan, Obama is Satan, as well as Clinton, or Gore, or Bush, or Reagon or Carter.

      They’ve all been Satan.. :)

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Wolfy32 3:59 Thanks for lumping me in with famous people. I wonder if one can be considered for Satan status without being in politics or show business? Actually, I’ve been called Satan so many times in my life I can’t count them. If people think I’m Satan, they probably should not be visiting my blog.

        • entech says:

          As so much of what is labeled sin seems to involve sex, shouldn’t a man be saying “get the behind me satin”.
          Although the wikipedia article does say ‘Not to be confused with Satan. :)

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 10:50 “As to much of what is labeled sin seems to involve sex, shouldn’t a man be saying, ‘get thee behind me satin’”.

            I would agree. Frankly, I’d much rather be called Satan than satin. Satin is much more daring than I care to be. :)

  7. Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

    Jeopardy! had a category last night called “The Passion.” Alex went to Israel and they did 5 video clues from various ‘stations of the cross’. Every one of them was presented as if this event was a historical fact and that specific things happened at a defined time in the exact places Alex was standing in the videos.

    Jeopardy! is about trivia and the story of Christ is a legitimate topic for a game so focused on western culture but surely they could of presented these clues somewhat more artfully.

  8. entech says:

    Dustin @ 11:55 am and Wolfy32 @ 1:27 and anyone interested in reconciling science and religion.
    Two people worth listening to are Guy Consolmagno and George Coyne, both Jesuits, both scientists and both connected to the Vatican observatory. They are both represented on Youtube videos of lectures they have given at various Universities and other serious venues. Father Coyne’s lecture Children of a fertile universe: chance, destiny, and a creator God at Villanova Universe in 2011 is well worth watching for a good for up to date information on the universe, evolution of the universe and life and a good honest attempt at reconciling his scientific knowledge and his beliefs as a catholic. He sometimes use the expression “that is a good question” in response to the audience, and when it is appropriate he answers more like a scientist than a Jesuit priest – he says “I don’t know”.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzRvEGxmHAQ

    There is also an interview/discussion with Richard Dawkins and Father Coyne, outstanding for its polite civility and mutual respect.

    Whether the Christian God exists or not is entirely beyond my knowledge. I don’t really believe myself but am not so stupid as to say there is definitely no God, just that in my mind is one of the least likely explanations. On the God created Man in his own image I would just say that if you accept that God is outside of space and time he cannot be a physical entity that we could know or recognise, so the question of image is pure delusion. In all of anthropology we find that gods/creators always take on anthropomorphic characteristics, by the time we have priests and shamans the priests and shamans create in god in their own image, they have no other paradigm.

  9. Wolfy32 says:

    “In all of anthropology we find that gods/creators always take on anthropomorphic characteristics, by the time we have priests and shamans the priests and shamans create in god in their own image, they have no other paradigm.”

    Exactly. We have to relate to what it is that exists. Imagine how terrifying it is to think there’s this very powerful being (s) out there that know a trillion times what we know and share that knowledge instantaneously, etc. The emotions we feel could be just as infinite as their knowledge is to us, and their senses could be a million to our 5 or 6.

    But, who can relate to that? Who can understand it. The idea barely fits into our realm of possibility. — few can even accept something like that actually exists and if we accept it… What does it mean for us? Can a being like that truly care about us, or are we but dogs to it? Something to caress once in a while and teach tricks to, and maybe show off once in a while at an interstellar human planet expo.

    However, just as terrifying is the idea there’s nothing else period. Try being alone for like a week, talking to no one on the phone, computer, no blogging, no one at home, just yourself, no tv, zero connection to anything… Do it for a week. I did it for close to a month post divorce. Aside from work I had nothing. I nearly went insane being that isolated and alone in a world full of 7 billion people. To think this is it… is as terrifying to me as thinking there’s a being out there that thinks nothing more of us than we’re pets to it — If we’re lucky.

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