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Easter Suckers

I have a little cartoon depicting a person who might be meant to resemble the traditional appearance of Jesus (which is far from his actual, most likely appearance, assuming he even existed) saying “there’s a sucker born again every minute.” Of course, this is an allusion to the classic phrase attributed to American showman, P. T. Barnum.

I should make one comment before I continue with the main point of this blog post: according to Wikipedia the phrase was “most likely spoken by David Hannum, in criticism of both P. T. Barnum … and his customers. The phrase is often credited to Barnum himself. It means: many people are gullible, and we can expect this to continue.” I always assumed the phrase was from Barnum himself referring to his customers so I have learnt something new already.

But I should get back to the main subject here. The phrase “born again” is often used by Christian nutters to refer to some revolution in their life after conversion to whatever (especially Evangelical) sect of Christianity they have currently got involved with. So the cartoon is suggesting that anyone who believes this is a sucker. it’s hard to disagree.

We have just completed Easter, perhaps the most important event in the Christian calendar, so this blog post is a comment on that. We all know that Easter is just another pagan celebration (like Christmas) hijacked by Christianity and that most of the symbolism of the event (eggs, bunnies, etc) has nothing to do with Christianity but I’ll let that pass this time and move on.

The purported reason for Easter is the alleged crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ so let’s have a look at the authenticity of this event which is so central to Christian mythology and substance. Well to summarise, it’s bullshit. Thank you, that is the end of this post.

But seriously, I need to provide some detail…

What evidence do we have of any of the events of Jesus’ life, including the great supernatural ones, like his resurrection? Well, basically none, if you really want to know. Here’s some of the reasons I can make this claim…

1. Absolutely no one who would have witnessed the events bothered to record them. And I agree that records weren’t as good at the time and could have been lost but is this a credible excuse? I don’t think so. Note that the gospels were written by unknown people many years after the events they describe, and people like Paul never met Jesus (not to mention the fact that many of the writings attributed to him have now been shown to be from other unidentified authors).

2. The stories are conflicting and significant details in one are entirely missing from others. For example, only the Gospel of Matthew mentions the Star of Bethlehem. Not only is it not mentioned in any other Biblical story but it isn’t mentioned anywhere else either. Why invent a story like that? And since it almost certainly was invented what else might also be fiction?

There’s another example related to Easter too. Three of the four canonical gospels mention a darkness just after the crucifixion (“From noon on, darkness came over the whole land [or earth] until three in the afternoon”). But John doesn’t bother to mention it and neither does anyone else. Maybe they didn’t notice? And there is a similar problem with the rather silly story about the dead rising. This obviously didn’t happen because no one else mentions it. It’s pure fiction.

3. The stories we have today are just a small selection chosen by a committee hundreds of years after the events supposedly happened. Other gospels have completely different stories from the four in the canonical gospels most people know about. What makes these four so special? Well they suited the purposes of the early church, I guess.

4. The events which would reasonably be expected to be recorded (whether they had supernatural significance or not) weren’t. It is fair to expect that one crucifixion might not have been recorded by the Romans (even though they were good record keepers) or the records might have been lost. But the big events which everyone must have been aware of – the star, the darkness, the dead rising – would surely have been written about so many times that records would have survived. But we have nothing.

Clearly the whole Jesus story is largely fiction. I probably wouldn’t go so far as to say that there was no person that the stories are based on, but there is no resemblance of any of the supernatural mythology (including the resurrection story) to reality. It is so unsupported that you really do have to be a sucker to take it seriously. But many people do, I guess because there’s a sucker born again every minute!

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