Saturday, 19 April 2014

Eostre, Easter, White god, chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies and metaphorical resurrection

Tomorrow many Christians celebrate Easter Sunday as the day to remember the Resurrection of some one they consider to be also God, though God according to the Holy Scriptures is a  Spirit Who can not die.


RESURRECTION
The Cross and Resurrection (Photo credit: Luz Adriana Villa A.)
As Easter approaches, many Christians struggle with how to understand the Resurrection. How literally must one take the Gospel story of Jesus’ triumph to be called a Christian? Can one understand the Resurrection as a metaphor — perhaps not even believe it happened at all — and still claim to be a Christian? And what do they want ot understand under being a Christian, because for many it does not exactly mean to be a "follower of Christ" but means more to be a follower of a trinitarian doctrine.

For the Americans who answered to the survey only 2 percent identified it as the most important holiday of their faith. For Christ Jesus 14 Nisan and 15 Nisan were two very important days, but most Christians do not even know what does days are and for what reason Jesus came together where.


Jesus Resurrection 1778
Jesus Resurrection 1778 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Having a society becoming more religiously diverse, the U.S.A. nation’s population has had to grapple with how to define its holidays and celebrations at the 2010 Barna poll which showed that only 42 percent of Americans said the meaning of Easter was Jesus’ resurrection. The results indicated that most Americans consider Easter to be a religious holiday, but fewer identify the resurrection of Jesus as the underlying meaning. The study also explored the degree to which Americans are likely to invite an unchurched friend or family member to attend worship service on Easter weekend.
“More people have problems with Easter because it requires believing that Jesus rose from the dead,” 
said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of the new book, “Jesus: A Pilgrimage.”
“But believing in the Resurrection is essential. It shows that nothing is impossible with God. In fact, Easter without the Resurrection is utterly meaningless. And the Christian faith without Easter is no faith at all.”
It is strange to hear it from a a reverend who takes Jesus to be God, but than should know that death can not have any grip on God. Jesus who had his “last supper” before the festival of Passover, was taken hostage that night and tortured before he was impaled. On the wooden stake Jesus really died.

Among the Jews crucifixion was an anathema. (See Deuteronomy 21:22–23: “If a man is guilty of a capital offense and is put to death, and you impale him on a stake, you must not let his corpse remain on the stake overnight, but must bury him the same day. For an impaled body is an affront to God: you shall not defile the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.”)

They wanted to humiliate and frighten Jesus and his followers, and by putting Jesus on a stake in front of all to see, he had to be an example for those who thought they could speak against Pharisees and priests and against the ones in charge of the Empire.
Christian iconography usually shows the nails piercing the palms of Jesus’ hands on a horizontal beam. Nailing the palms of the hands is impossible, because the weight of the slumping body would have torn the palms in a very short time. The victim would have fallen from the cross while still alive.

In a 2011/2012 research on sediment disturbances bring in its study of cores and seismic activity near the Dead Sea (International Geology Review + Discovery News suggested: * + ** ) scientific data relating to the event described in Matthew 27. Those sediment disturbances can be combined with Biblical, astronomical and calendrical information to give a precise date of the crucifixion: Friday, April 3rd, 33 C.E.

Geologists Jefferson B. Williams, Markus J. Schwab and A. Brauer examined disturbances in sediment depositions to identify two earthquakes: one large earthquake in 31 B.C.E., and another, smaller quake between 26 and 36 C.E. In the abstract of their paper, the authors write,
“Plausible candidates include the earthquake reported in the Gospel of Matthew, an earthquake that occurred sometime before or after the crucifixion and was in effect ‘borrowed’ by the author of the Gospel of Matthew, and a local earthquake between 26 and 36 AD that was sufficiently energetic to deform the sediments at Ein Gedi but not energetic enough to produce a still extant and extra-biblical historical record. If the last possibility is true, this would mean that the report of an earthquake in the Gospel of Matthew is a type of allegory.”
This quake, occurring during Jesus’ crucifixion, would have been too minor to be described by non-Biblical histories, but major enough to terrify the surrounding centurions.
Matthew explicitly reports strong seismic activity as the occasions of both the storm on the Sea of Galilee Jesus stilled in 8:24 (seismos megas) and the moving of the stone sealing Jesus’ tomb and in 28:2 (seismos . . . megas). In 27:51, he reports that the earth was shaken (he gE eseisthE) and stones split, but does not use the adjective “great” as in the other references.

The soldiers at the stake were confronted with the death of that Jewish rabbi, son of Miriam (Mary) and Joseph from the tribe of king David. They had seen the water coming out of his body and no doubt were convinced he was really death.

Those who know god can not die and as such also would not be able to stand up from the dead, would love to have others to believe the resurrection or that Jesus literally rose from the dead, should be taken only symbolically.

New York University professor Scott Korb, 37, a non-practicing Catholic, who once wanted to become a priest, says:
“The miracle of a bodily resurrection is something I rejected without moving away from its basic idea.”
“What I mean is that we can reach the lowest points of our lives, of going deep into a place that feels like death, and then find our way out again — that’s the story the Resurrection now tells me. And at Easter, this is expressed in community, and at its best, through the compassion of others.” 
That change — from a literal to a metaphorical approach — has given the story more power, he said.
“There is only one story to be told of a single man who dies and then rises,” Korb said. “But if we think about the metaphor of the Resurrection, that allows us to return to the story year after year and find new meaning in it.”
Reg Rivett, 27, finds the repetition of the Easter story a big problem. A youth minister at an evangelical house church near Edmonton, Canada, he said his belief that Jesus literally rose from the dead is central to his Christian identity and faith. Nonetheless, he still has conflicting feelings about how the Resurrection story is used in some circles.
“You hear about it year after year or at the end of every youth event — ‘This is why Jesus came and why he died,’” he said. “We tack it on to the end of everything and that is not what it should be. It’s like we’ve taken something that is very sacred and made it very common.”
That leads to some internal conflict on Easter Sunday, even as he goes to church with his family and joins them for a big meal.
“It becomes something I need to do and I do it out of respect for others,” he said.
To restore the Resurrection and the Easter story to its appropriate place, Rivett said, the church should “build” toward it throughout the year — place it in its context within the whole biblical saga.
“It is another story about Jesus, another piece of the whole Bible, but at the same time it is such a significant piece,” he said. “Neglecting it completely would be wrong, but over-saturation is wrong, too. It is hard to find a balance.”
Today we do find an over-saturation of the Easter tradition in the shops, where from the beginning of March they are already selling Easter eggs. Several Christians strangely never oppose such fertility symbols, and enjoy fantasising telling their kids about bells coming from Rome and throwing the eggs all over the garden, and hiding eggs all over in the house.Not many Christians seem to oppose those  symbols of fertility “handed down from the ancient ceremonial and symbolism of European and Middle Eastern pagan spring festivals.

According to Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend, the hunt for Easter eggs, supposedly brought by the Easter rabbit,
 “"is not mere child’s play, but the vestige of a fertility rite."” Some cultures believed that the decorated Easter egg “"could magically bring happiness, prosperity, health, and protection."”  (Traditional Festivals).
The name Easter, used in many lands, is not found in the Bible. The book  Medieval Holidays and Festivals tells us that 
“the holiday is named after the pagan Goddess of the Dawn and of Spring, Eostre.”
Eostre or Eastre (hence Easter) goddess of fertility, according to the legend, opened the portals of Valhalla to receive Baldur, called the White God, because of his purity and also the Sun God, because his brow supplied light to mankind,”(The American Book of Days)

Like many European pagan customs the Church in its early days adopted the old pagan customs and gave a Christian meaning to them so that they could give the people something in which they beleived already for ages. They also knew people would not put away their traditions so easely and than would not convert to Catholicism.

The festival of Eostre was in celebration of the renewal of life in the spring and marked for many people who lived from the land, the sign that they could go back onto the fields to bring in assurance for their livelyhood. Without a good harvest they could not survive. Therefore it was felt important to do good to the gods so that they would be blessed.

for the Catholic church it was easy to make it a celebration of the resurrection from the dead of Jesus, whose gospel they preached, because they presented Jesus as the new life and the bringer of light and life for all.

This adoption explains how in certain lands the Easter customs, such as Easter eggs, the Easter rabbit, and hot cross buns, came about. Concerning the custom of making hot cross buns,
 “with their shiny brown tops marked by a . . . cross,”
 the book Easter and Its Customs states:
 “The cross was a pagan symbol long before it acquired everlasting significance from the events of the first Good Friday, and bread and cakes were sometimes marked with it in pre-Christian times.”
Nowhere in Scripture do we find mention of these things, nor is there any evidence that the early disciples of Jesus gave them any credence. In fact, the apostle Peter tells us to
 “form a longing for the unadulterated milk belonging to the word, that through it [we] may grow to salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2)

So why did the churches of Christendom adopt such obviously pagan symbols into their beliefs and practices? and why do people keep to those traditions of hiding eggs, eating Easter bread or cross buns?

Why when lots of people do not accept a taking out of the dead as a possible event, do they keep telling stories to their children of Easter bunnies and egg throwing bells.

For sure many do not put much accent on the real person they say they are celebrating. Not much is known about his ransom offer and on who he really was and on what he really did.

Christians should come to see the importance of following the teachings of Christ Jesus and on knowing the man Jesus about Whom God said 'This is my beloved son'.

Let us remember that that son of God really gave his life, died, and was taken out of the dead after three days in hell (the grave).

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