I was dismayed to see this today. No, not because Cadbury are dropping the word ‘Easter’ from the name of their chocolate eggs, but because the tiny bit of copy by the side of the huge headline reads, ‘The word Easter has been shamefully axed from the boxes of millions of Brit chocolate eggs to avoid causing offence to other religions.’
Now The Sun is a shit paper, but this is shittier than most of the shit it publishes. By using the word ‘Brit’ they are hoping to raise the heckles of all those misguided Christian patriots who believe that the word Easter is important to a chocolate egg, and by using the words ‘other religions’ they mean anyone who isn’t a Christian which in the current climate will mean Muslim to pretty much all of their readership.
Now I don’t care what anyone calls a chocolate egg, but it did get me thinking about Easter and the religion that goes with it. Let’s forget that eggs are not the sole property of the Christian faith and have been symbolically given in religious rituals for thousands of years prior to the Christian Easter.
Let’s forget about that and think about why Jesus was crucified in the first place.
Firstly Jesus wasn’t a Christian, he was a Jew. He live in troubled times in the Middle East and rather than being the thin, white, long haired, brown bearded figure we were all taught about in school, he would have looked remarkably like many of the refugees who are fleeing that area today. His hair would be coarse and black, his skin and eyes brown, and his build sturdy. Remember this was a real man and not the myth that the Christian Church and religious artists have built up around him and he definitely would not have had blue eyes or a halo.
He wasn’t a preacher but he was a great orator like his mentor John the Baptist. Jesus lived in a place and time that was a hotbed of political unrest. The Romans ruled his lands and Jesus was the self-proclaimed King of the Jews. He had the right background to be a zealot (terrorist in today’s terms) and he talked, lived and died like a zealot. Rather than a man of peace leading a group of religiously minded disciples, he was the leader of a group of tough talking Galilean militants, men who were angry that the Romans had stolen their
land. Jesus wanted to free his people from Roman rule and create a
Sound familiar in any way?
It’s not me saying this; the evidence for this is in the Bible. “I come not to bring peace but a sword,” Jesus said – and he meant it. Like John the Baptist (who was beheaded as an enemy of the Roman state), Jesus mixed with known terrorists, in particular his close friend Simon the Zealot.
Of course today our current government’s crackdown on non-violent extremism would have had him imprisoned and silenced in a jiffy. Jesus was leading and whipping up bands of extremists in an attempt to make the Jews rise up and overthrow Roman rule. Back then though, instead of imprisonment the Roman’s favourite way of getting rid of troublemakers was crucifixion and they crucified tens of thousands of troublemakers, in fact anyone who opposed them.
Jesus was a part of a movement that preached organised religious resistance to Roman authority that ultimately led to violent revolution and civil war. He wasn’t a peaceful democrat. He wasn’t a woolly liberal. He didn’t believe in human rights or sexual equality. He wasn’t a man of peace. He was at best an agitator, and to the Roman’s he was a dangerous terrorist. No wonder they executed him. After all, Jesus the Rabbi was preaching the same sort of message that many Middle Eastern groups are preaching today. He was one of the figures enabling and teaching the religious army of the Zealots, and the assassins of the Sicarii, who went around stabbing innocent Romans and even fellow Jews if they believed that they were Roman collaborators.
And that’s my story, most or all of it historical fact. I may not believe it or I may, but it’s easily as plausible as a man born in a stable from a virgin that could walk on water, feed thousands of people from a few scraps of bread and fish, make the dead rise, and finally came back from the dead to prove he still lived in the hearts of his followers so that they would continue his work.
That’s why I don’t care if they drop the ‘Easter’ from ‘Brit’ Easter eggs. It’s all bloody nonsense.