Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eostre Meditation

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," out early this morning and hearing on the radio about Jesus cheating death. I hate to break it to our modern world, but this is not a concept unique to Christianity. Ask around amongst the bored gods, and you'll find any number from any number of pantheons who have done the same thing (or know Someone who did).

I went to get bagels early  -- because nothing is more sacred than commerce these days -- and on the way I was listening to news radio.

Of course it's a slow news day, so the reporters were making the rounds of sunrise services and interviewing pastors.

One local Christian pastor says Easter is the most important date on the Christian calendar because "Jesus rising from the dead is the central most important tenet of our faith. Because he died and rose, we can have eternal life."

Getting past all that "eternal life" stuff, which I pondered through many and many a dull sermon back in the day, I have to feel disappointed in what this pastor had to say.

First of all, he basically told Christians what a majority of them already know: It's just fine if you only go to church once a year, on Easter. The rest of it is window dressing.

But second, I think that pastor was selling Christianity way short. Even when I was a Christian, I would not have said that Jesus's resurrection was the central tenet of my faith. I'd have said something like, "Love your neighbor," or "be kind to your enemies," or "the meek will inherit the Earth." I might have said something about putting others' needs before (or at least next to) your own.

Sitting in some heaven listening to angel choirs for eternity would not have even made the top ten.

Death creeps us out, so it's nice to have a little happy story in the back of your head about living with God forever. But since no one except Jesus has come back from the dead to tell us what it's really like -- and he didn't say much -- I think our modern religion ought to have a little more philosophical heft to it. It should be grounded in moral responsibility to self, others, and surroundings. And with that grounding should come deeds to back it up. These deeds should not be performed in anticipation of immortality, but just because something right and good needs to be done.

Well, my zero atheist readers are now saying, "Dammit, Mom, quit praying over me! It's annoying!" (I'm fairly certain that few atheists read "The Gods Are Bored.")

  Back to my sermon: Actually what I just suggested is probably the atheist creed, certainly not needing to be tied to any particular faith. However, if you combine that creed with a quiet appreciation of the reality of Higher Powers, you can feel  that the good you're doing becomes part of a tradition, perhaps one your ancestors followed.




The Goddess thinks Jesus is pretty silly for getting him self nailed to the cross for people that use his name for unspeakable crimes.

Davoh said...

Wozzis Oestre bit? Oh, forgot: left-hand, right-hand; upside, downside.

Cerelia is frolicking on this side of the planet.

Intense Guy said...

To take YDG one step further - many religious have been used as a "cover" for unspeakable crimes.

I'm not sure if its a fanactic thing or just unbelievable arrogance in thinking "one knows beyound doubt" the "right thing" and the ultimate Truth (with the capital "T") but many a horror has been done by those folks...

JaAnBe said...

If the ultimate truth of a religion is getting "me" into heaven, then I guess the ultimate truth must be that it really is all about "me".

Rambler said...

Hear, hear! My mom's priest was on about the same thing, and we were both disappointed. This post describes why exactly. Saying that the resurrection is more important than love or kindness is pretty sad.

Emily said...

You know, that pastor may have been doing a crappy job, but he is right when he says the resurrection is the most central mystery of Christianity. It's not about angel choirs or a "get out of hell free card". It's about love being stronger than violence and death. Now don't get me wrong, loving your neighbour and caring for the destitute are important too, but that's how Christians celebrate eternal life- it starts here and now on earth.

Or at least how this Christian/Pagan figures it, anyways.