It’s Easter, and all around the world people will be enjoying a holiday while celebrating the death and resurrection of a Jewish insurgent purported to have lived over 2000 years ago. In a confused mash-up of agrarian sun-deity ritual and imagery, the ceremonies, story and costumes are disjointed and bizarre. Somehow no one notices the contradiction and people of the many hundred flavours of the Christian faith will participate without giving it a second thought.
“The real life of a patriotic Jewish bandit has been forced into the container of this solar myth to give us Christianity.” – Dr. M D Magee
For a thorough analysis of why Easter is so ridiculous, take the time to read this article by Doctor Michael Magee. The evidence put forward in the article, Crucifixion of Sun Gods as Atoning Saviours, that this aspect of the Christian religion is in no way unique and was probably never a core part of the teachings of an historical Jesus is irrefutable. The real question for me is, how do people fall for this rubbish?
One of the songs of my childhood which has stuck with me is Rainbow Connection, from the 1979 Muppet Movie. I recorded a version for my YouTube channel, and also link to the Kermit/Henson original. For me this song praised the right to question the universe, to look at the world with wonder and dream the impossible. This idea went directly against my Pentecostal Christian upbringing which taught that we know everything and punished asking questions.
Kermit is on a journey of discovery, with the Rainbow Connection being something waiting to be found. We don’t understand the motivation to search, but feel its pull inside us.
I have always felt this urge to discover, to ask why, to question views that are given to me with no evidence but demand unquestioning acceptance. It is sometimes scary and uncomfortable to look around and see a vast majority of the rest of society conforming.
My family and I have been watching Neil deGrasse Tyson’s fantastic series Cosmos. Apart from the brilliant production and easy to follow walk-throughs of advanced scientific concepts, a key take-away has been how often the pursuit of knowledge has been violently stifled throughout history.
I would like to believe that our societal structure of limiting ideas and controlling ideologies is just an accident of history. A more cynical side of me starts to see the Christian Religion, and other aspects of society (reality TV, televised sport, talent competitions, game shows) as carefully constructed tools for control of a population, built and maintained by a heartless and power-hungry cadre of people.
This past week was marred by the loss of John Clarke, a brilliant comedian/satirist from my native New Zealand. I recorded a version of his Gumboot Song, which, in the folk tradition, was taken from Billy Connolly’s Wellies, which was in-turn taken from the Clancy Brother’s Work of the Weavers.
The work of John and people like him has been a critical part of helping the population to notice and call out the times when the engines of control show their claws. Satire gives us permission to laugh at the man in a frock at the alter dispensing unquestionable wisdom and the suited politician selling policies designed to line their pockets as policies in the interest of the people.