Easter Special

I love Easter. Really. It is my favorite pagan fertility celebration. Where did you think all those bunnies, eggs and even the English word “Easter” came from? Besides, Easter is the time that Reese’s comes out with their egg-shaped cups. Those things are amazing! So much peanut-butter goodness. Now because of this special time, I would like to spell out how the Christian resurrection story makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

1. God had to commit suicide in order to make himself happy. In a nutshell, the creator of the entire universe decides to make man, his favorite of all creation. He also decides to make rules to live by for man. And if these rules should be broken in man’s finite life, then he will be punished for all eternity. Being an omniscient creator, he knew from the beginning that man was going to break his rules. This upset him greatly. In order to make himself feel better, the creator sent himself down to Earth and set up an elaborate situation to kill himself. So in summary, the creator had to kill himself to appease himself so that he would not have to punish us, his favorite creation, for all eternity. That doesn’t make much sense.

2. Jesus wasn’t much of a sacrifice. So, I am supposed to believe that Jesus lived a completely sinless life. That is somewhat feasible; he was apparently God. That makes it a bit easier not to sin (kind of cheating though). He then died unjustly to pay for the sins of every human ever to walk the earth. He took on the sins of all humanity. Now, he is standing at the right hand of God. Yet if I die with sin, I go to hell for eternity. He was supposed to be paying for the sins of every human being. If I have my addition right, Jesus would start at a sin count of zero and add my sin plus your sin plus everyone’s sin. Then if I have my multiplication right, every human being multiplied by eternity should equal eternity in hell for Jesus. Why does Jesus get special treatment? That doesn’t make much sense.
3. It could’ve been worse – Christians love to point out that Jesus suffered and died for our sins and that the torture under Pontius Pilate and the crucifixion was the worst possible death. I would like to challenge this thought. Crucifixion is a terrible way to die. This is for certain. It is a terribly long suffocation. However, many humans throughout all of history have died some pretty gruesome and terrible deaths. Some of which, I’m pretty certain, were worse than crucifixion. Starvation takes forever. Being burnt alive. A sandpaper slide into a saltwater container of hungry sharks. Any combination of any possible thoughts would likely be worse than the crucifixion. Also, what kind of suffering is Jesus really going through when he gets to be at the right hand of the Father for all eternity in a few hours? What is a few hours of suffering to an infinite being? Nothing at all.

4. Jesus is not unique. History provided many messianic templates for Jesus: Attis, Horus, Mithra, Dionysus and Krishna. Look up the mythologies and you’ll find hundreds of similarities between the stories. Virgin births, bread and wine sacraments, and rising from the dead after three days can be credited to most of these people who pre-dated Jesus by hundreds of years. A cult is a religion with few members and a mythology is just a religion no one follows anymore.

5. Proof does not deny free will. Modern Christians are told to just have faith. Even Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and still believe.” The most popular reason I’ve heard for God not showing himself to humanity is because he wants us to have free will. Yet, if Jesus was resurrected, he provided the disciples with proof. This apparently did not alter their free will. Evidence in a personal creator doesn’t stop one from disobeying him. So, why doesn’t God show himself to his creation? Doubting Thomas had the right idea requesting proof because faith is just another word for delusion.

Discussion

  1. I just wanted to capture some of the lovely ‘Letters to the Editor’ that this message inspired.

    ___________________

    Dan Hollinger, I am consistently confused with the subject material in your column. You continue to choose religion, specifically Christianity, as your topic of discussion, often with disgust, yet it seems that you have not decided whether to OK this thought or completely chastise it. To be fair, many of the other columnists have also chosen this topic, but they have not done so at the same regularity or displeasure. In your last article, published in the March 20 edition of The Independent Collegian, entitled “Five fun Easter facts,” you made many claims against the logic of God, the divinity of Christ, the sufficiency of suffering in Christ’s death, his uniqueness and the proof behind the whole resurrection event.
    However, I am not interested in a debate. You are completely free to accept or reject any evidence you want supporting or denying whatever you choose to believe. I do ask that your argument accurately portrays Christianity, and I would like to clear up some of the “fun Easter facts” that I believe are distorted.
    God did not commit suicide. He sacrificed himself for others (us). John 15:13 states, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” Why is it that when humans lose their lives saving others (firemen, armed forces, police, etc.), we praise and give them our highest respect, but cannot give the same to God or fathom him giving us that gesture?
    Jesus was a great sacrifice in order for God and mankind to be reconciled. Romans 5:15-17 says, “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.” I fail to see the point behind your “dying on a cross isn’t the worst way to die” argument. Also, I find it hard to accurately compare Jesus, a historical, well-documented, living person against your list of mythical deities, among other things.
    This may or may not have helped clear up any of your discrepancies. Actually, you may still disagree with most of what I just said. It appears that you have already decided your beliefs on the subject, which is understandable. It says in 1 Corinthians 1:18, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” I encourage you to take a closer look at your allegations. It’s at least something to ponder over while you are enjoying those delicious Reese’s treats we all enjoy this Easter season.
    Jason Yocum
    Senior
    Health Science and
    Human Services
    Published: Thursday, March 27, 2008

    _______________________________

    It is always interesting to read about what is going on at the university and to hear the opinions of members of the student body. Recently, though, a column was published that did not seem to follow the usual pattern of fairness and respect associated with The Independent Collegian.
    The column was Dan Hollinger’s column entitled “Five fun Easter facts” published in the March 20 edition of the IC. In this column, Hollinger states five “facts” about why one of the main tenets of Christianity, namely that Jesus Christ sacrificed himself on the cross in order to “save” humanity, is false. To call these statements “facts” is quite a stretch, though. Through a combination of assumptions, twisted logic, and unproven information, Hollinger creates a scathing column on the Easter holiday but does not provide any real facts.
    I am unable to understand why Hollinger feels the need to attack my religion (and by extension, me) in many of his columns, or why the IC continues to publish these columns. I would also like to point out as examples “Beliefs the Bible does not support,” published in the Nov. 29, 2007 edition of the IC, and “The Holy Spirit does not connect Christians,” published Oct. 25, 2007 edition of the IC, both by Hollinger. I understand that columnists are allowed to voice their opinions in their columns, but I remain unconvinced that columns that purposefully disrespect religions and belief systems are a valid use of space in the IC. As Anthony Russo said in his “Letter to the IC Columnists,” in the Jan. 7 edition of the IC, “I would just appreciate it if I didn’t have to be subjected to belittlement from the newspaper that is the voice of my university.” Why do I have to practice my anger-management techniques every time I sit down to read a column by Hollinger, or for that matter, a column by any of the other IC columnists who enjoy stirring up controversy?
    Hope Mendola is a good example of an IC columnist who writes interesting columns that are not offensive. Mendola professes to be a Christian and is a member of the Campus Crusade for Christ, but discussions of religion in her columns are infrequent. While her most recent column “Why I believe in Jesus Christ” in the March 18 edition of the IC does discuss her religious beliefs, it does so in a positive and humorous manner. On the contrary, Hollinger takes every opportunity to insult religions while maintaining an air of superiority. Personally, I will choose to read a column that gives an opinion in a kind and fair manner over a column written for the sole purpose of creating controversy any day.
    The IC is an excellent college newspaper that should not have to stoop to the level of unfairly cutting up people’s beliefs in an attempt to gain readers. Of course you and your staff at the IC should not censor articles or columns, but please be considerate of those of us who acknowledge the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and what it means to us. I would request that in the future the limited space available in the “Forum” section not be used to publish disrespectful pieces that attack religious beliefs, but instead be used to publish columns that educate and inspire members of the University of Toledo community.
    Dan Bryan
    Freshman
    Political Science and
    Public Administration
    Published: Thursday, March 27, 2008

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