You might say cultural Christians are resurrected on Easter. They suddenly appear in church as if they’ve risen from the dead. But their sudden appearance is no miracle; they show up mostly out of habit and a mild sense of guilt.
These folks usually show up at Christmas, too. That holiday is clearly a cause for celebration, but Easter comes with mixed feelings. The sadistic portrayal of an innocent man being betrayed, tortured and crucified is hardly a cause for celebration. But for true-believers, all that barbarity magnifies the sacrifice and glorifies the redemptive denouement that brings this otherwise awful story to a close – the resurrection of that innocent man.
The idea of resurrection – of the triumph of life over death, of an eternal life spent with those we love, in a place beyond worry and woe – is an idea so wonderful it defies reflection. Reflection can lead to places the heart would rather not go. But the thoughtful mind must go there anyway.
The idea of resurrection has been around far longer than Christianity. It’s roots are in the worship of the sun. Even primitive people understood the power of the sun over life and death. They observed the greening of the earth as the sun rose higher in the sky and the days grew longer and warmer, and they observed the dying of greenery as the sun sank lower in the sky and the days grew shorter and colder
Eventually, the sun reached the lowest point in its annual journey, and it appeared to remain there for three days, as if it had reached its journey’s end. Primitive people might well have feared the sun had died, and they might well have prayed and offered sacrifices to the sun, or whatever god they imagined could raise the sun from the dead. And when it began to rise again after three days, surely they would have thought their prayers had been answered.
Unlike primitive man, modern man understands this as a natural cycle, and he knows the sun will rise again on the third day without prayers or sacrifices. He also knows – or ought to know – that ancient myths, beliefs and rituals permeate modern religions, including Christianity.
Despite that knowledge, the true-believer continues to deny in his heart what he knows – or ought to know – in his mind. He clings to his vestigial beliefs because they bring comfort in a world gone mad, a world where people clinging to their vestigial beliefs are brutalized and slaughtered by people clinging to their vestigial beliefs.
All these ages and ages hence, we haven’t progressed much beyond our primitive ancestors, save that we’ve become more proficient when it comes to brutality and slaughter. That doesn’t say much for our beliefs or our species. And that leads me to believe that if the Son of God were to appear here and now, we’d surely kill him.
©2017 Tom Cordle