Easter is upon us again. It’s a funny old time of year when you really think about.
Once upon a time, apparently, there was this hippy-like Jew living in the middle east and he had some pretty radical ideas about life. He wasn’t very happy with the way things were going under the Romans and he became quite vocal about it. Alongside this, he tried to convince people to be nice to each other.
Naturally enough, the Romans were a bit upset about this and harried him all over the place until they’d eventually amassed or created enough evidence against him to stage a rather shaky trial. His trial went badly for him and he ended up dead. They didn’t muck about, the Romans. There’s a fairly common view of how this death happened and then there are several other points of view of how it might have happened. Along with that there are several points of view of the hippy’s real ideas, his relationships and how he may or may not have left a descendant line and so on.
Either way, he was a hippy with pretty cool ideas about peace and love that ended up dead. (And he was not the first or the last, of course).
About three decades later this dude called Saul (Latinised as Paul) started a cult, loosely based on the hippy’s ideas. He had never met the man on who’s teachings he based his cult, but he claimed to have received a vision in which he was given permission to go ahead anyway. It became known as the Cult of Christianity. It gained a fair amount of followers and over the next two thousand years became quite popular. A big book was written about it, based firstly on an older book supposedly penned by an older hippy that allegedly got his inspiration while alone up in the mountains. This old book was combined (rather loosely and haphazardly on many occasions) with Paul’s new book and the whole thing gained a great deal of momentum.
Over the years that book has been rewritten time and again, with lots of bits added and lots taken away, dependant on the whim and personal desires of each editor. Throughout this slow and sometimes quite malevolent transformation, the Cult of Christianity itself has grown and morphed along with it, also gaining and losing things as it went.
Today men (as women are fairly universally excluded) control all sorts of factions and splinter groups of the original Cult. They are frowned upon by the followers of the older way of Judaism, on which the Cult is based, and the followers of the younger way of Islam, which is supposedly the real version, demoting the hippy back from Messiah to Prophet and putting the emphasis back on the over-riding theme of a monotheistic god. Ironically, they’ve ended up raising their own Prophet to a status higher than any other, which defeats the object a little bit. And while these people frown on all the various forms of Christianity around today, so do all sorts of other groups. And the Christians frown back. An awful lot of blood has been spilt in the name of the hippy’s teachings. Most of these groups seem to think that killing people that don’t believe them is the surest way to spread their original message of peace and love.
And now, two thousand years later, people will spend this long weekend looking solemnly at images of this Jewish, middle-eastern hippy, himself transformed into a handsome blond haired, blue eyed paragon of harmony, rather than the swarthy political agitator that he most likely was in reality. They will ask themselves why there isn’t more love and peace in the world as they marvel at his death and subsequent alleged resurrection and they’ll silently thank him, as he died for their sins.
Then they’ll give each other eggs made of chocolate and laugh at the antics of a funny rabbit.