A New Atheists Approach to Easter

Today as I type this billions of Christians all over the world are celebrating the "Holy Day" known as Easter, the celebration of the supposed resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Today, hundreds of thousands – perhaps even millions of atheists are delighting themselves in calling it Zombie Jesus Day, much like I did last year. This year, for me, the joke is old – I get it and all and of course it makes sense but I just don't find the same humor in it that I once did because I know that it offends some of my dear friends.

As a result of perhaps maturing another year I've chosen to make this day a different sort of holiday for me at least and I wonder if my atheist cohorts would decide to do the same.

A New Proposal

Rather than trolling message boards, Reddit,  and Facebook all day today calling Christians out on their worship of a man that may never have existed I intend to make this day, and any other Christian holiday a day of reason – and I'm going to do so respectfully.

On this day, now and until we are all dead I propose that we should approach the Christian multitudes with facts and reason rather than taunts and hate. Lets talk about the historical context, pagan origins, and logical fallacies of this belief system in meaningful ways in order to promote a reasonable dialog between our two groups because I honestly don't feel that Zombie Jesus Day promotes anything more than anger and hurt feelings.

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying Christendom is innocent of causing massive amounts of harm to our society because it most certainly has – I just don't believe that you can fight fire with fire any longer. If we are going to attempt to put out the flames of hate, intolerance, and myth we must stop being hateful, stop being intolerant, and start presenting facts even IF they will fall of deaf ears.

 

What to do

Here are the things that I think we, as atheists and overall reasonable people should do on days such as this:

 

  • Know the history of Easter and the similarities between Jesus and other Christ-myth deities past such as Mithras and Glycon.
  • Ask believers why there are so many religions that existed PRIOR to Christianity that share a nearly identical story.
  • Discuss the Burden of Proof that Christians have since they are making positive claims as to the existence and person of God.
  • Discuss and present the evidence for the superiority of the Scientific Method and why God is unnecessary for life/the universe
  • Don't act like an ass – Sure I'm guilty, but it's never done anything positive for me or anyone else.

 

I'm not saying that we are necessarily wrong to ridicule Christianity, what I am saying is that ridiculing Christianity is fruitless. Yes, the premise of Christianity and all religions are regurgitated myths and belief in them often has very dangerous results but the only way to dispel those myths is by presenting the facts regarding them. No, this won't change every Christian's mind but at the very least it provides the opportunity to reason and grow if they are open to it.


The header picture on this post shows (L) Isis and Child – an early Christ and (R) Mary and Child – The Modern Christ

  • To that end, I've been posting links to various other deities associated with Spring. My beef is not with individual persons' beliefs, but with institutionalized religion and the taboos restraining criticism of faith systems.

    American holidays are excuses to gather with friends and family, eat, and make children smile. Some people just can't seem to do it without making it about God… more power to 'em. The point is to celebrate being ALIVE!

  • <3<3

    Your message here is laudable, but still (I believe) slightly misguided. Your aim should not be to convince the faithful of their folly in believing in god, but merely that they should not follow their organized religion.

    The fact is, a belief in god is NOT a problem for society — the power of organized religion is. The power of doctrine and dogma. Belief in god is only a bad thing when an organization leverages that belief into causing worldly suffering — whether by starting wars, inquisitions, or stifling individuals' civil rights (e.g. gay marriage, abortion).

    I essentially agree with all of our points but have slight issue with two of them:

    a) Discuss the Burden of Proof that Christians have since they are making positive claims as to the existence and person of God.
    b) Discuss and present the evidence for the superiority of the Scientific Method and why God is unnecessary for life/the universe

    re: point a) First of all, as belief in god is a matter of faith it would almost be subversive to demonstrate proof of god's existence (were that even possible!). Along that same line, many Christians would say that because it is a matter of faith that proof is unnecessary. Regardless, I know that you know that there is no way to provide empirical proof for god, and this point is more rhetorical than anything else. The idea as I understand it is to get religious folks to use the critical thinking sectors of their brains do some work for a change. Certainly a good thing, but there's no reason you can't be a scientifically-minded critical thinker and believe in god at the same time.

    and re: b) I agree that it is absolutely IMPERATIVE that every human on this planet accept supremacy of the scientific method, and that if you are speaking to a religious person who does not understand the scientific method, that you should do your best to explain it to them. However, once again: one can believe in god and science simultaneously.

    I went from being a Christian to being an atheist to being a sort of pantheist. I believe that the word "universe" is essentially synonymous with the word "god". My idea of god is not anthropomorphic, has no agency or distinct form… it is, well, everything. It is thus omnipresent and omniscient, and sort of tautologically omnipotent as well. It is not, however, benevolent or malevolent.

  • HereticChick

    Sorry, but I get the same response to my "facts" as my "ridicule". However, I do use the Zombie Jesus term amongst MY atheist friends and not my alleged Christian ones. (they're the type that are only christians on Easter & Xmas)

    • Initial response is entirely different from delayed response. Presenting facts is not something that will always have an impact immediately and will often be met with the same ignorance that meets our ridicule, but I can guarantee that the liklihood of offense is much higher when ridicule is used and offense breeds an end to conversation and discussion – It also paints the rest of us as if we are all trolls who find joy in nothing more than poking fun at someone's most sincere beliefs.

      Christianity and the Easter story may seem unbelievable, and in hindsight they are – but as an individual that once lived every aspect of the faith I must confess that when it is ingrained into ones being that it becomes something we might consider undeniably true to that individual. It it any more True? No, of course not – but the fact remains that ridicule only pushes the mind further into indoctrination when reasoned response to Christian arguments may very well lead to an eventual realization of the facts.

  • The Easter Bunny sure gets a lotta lovin on Easter tho!

  • CTimeline

    You are aware that no historian believes that the parallels that pocm makes are real? It is pseudo-history, as lacking in integrity and rigour as 6 day creationism. I appreciate that you are a skeptic, but perhaps you should use your skepticism a more effectively…

    • ragingrev

      I wrote this four years ago and I’d hardly stand behind it now. I do recognize the pitfalls of parallels and pocm at this time.