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Easter is rooted in A-theism

Media Release

“A-theism” is literally the historical genesis of Easter

  1. “A-theism” is not, per se, “anti-religious”; nor does it malign ordinary people who hold a personal and private belief.
  2. But it does reserve the right to “fact-check” and challenge the roots of highly questionable religious history.
  3. There is a sound argument in why A-theism” needs to rationally distant itself from evangelical slurs of satanic atheism!

“With Easter upon us it is relevant for all Australians to be reminded that Easter has its genesis – according to ABC News – as an ancient Pagan festival to celebrate the (Northern) Spring,” says Brian Morris, director of Plain Reason.

“As with the Pagan festival for Spring – and its meaning of “re-birth” – it is fitting that the secular and non-religious majority distance itself from the corrupted view of “atheism” – to mean evil and satanic.”

“It’s a pejorative term perpetuated over centuries by fundamentalist Christians who refuse to accept that much of their historical narrative is factually flawed,” Mr Morris said

Plain Reason argues it is necessary differentiate “A-theism” from the derogatory ‘atheism’ – similar to terms such as a-political, a-symptomatic, or a-tonal – the “a” simply denoting non-compliance!

Mr Morris stated that A-theism is not, per se, “anti-religious” – nor does it malign ordinary people who hold personal and private beliefs.

He said that A-theists should simply be free to fact-check questionable evangelical doctrines designed to undermine a raft of contemporary social issues supported by a significant public majority.

“This raises the contentious issue of fundamentalist religion in politics – graphically illustrated in South Australia, with a wave of Pentecostal Christians applying for membership of the Liberal Party.”

“In fact the general public, and media – during this current melding of Easter and an election campaign – should know that the Liberals are dominated “… by a cross-between old DLP Catholic(s) … and wannabe USA Tea Party Republicans,” – according to Rationalist Society doyen, Paul Monk.”

“So with Easter in the air, we need to reflect on its non-Christian roots and ask whether A-theist citizens should have the right the fact-check Christian dogma.”

“And that would seem to be relevant for Christian dominated politics (from the PM down). The question is whether the media and politicians will allow any voices – with a rational A-theist critique – to actually be heard,” Mr Morris said.

 

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11 comments

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  1. Dani B

    Easter is not descended from “pagan rituals” to celebrate Spring. Easter has its roots in the Jewish Passover, as even a rudimentary examination of basic Sunday School curriculum will demonstrate. The Jews celebrated Passover on the first full moon after the vernal equinox, Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover when he was crucified, and Christian celebrations (including weekly Eucharist) are directly related Passover traditions. https://theconversation.com/why-easter-is-called-easter-and-other-little-known-facts-about-the-holiday-75025.

    Easter is only coincidentally related to “pagan rituals celebrating the equinox”. The celebrations of Easter had nothing to do with the goddess Eostre – Christians were celebrating Easter at this time of the year since at least the second century AD, 400 years before Christianity came to England and encountered any worshippers of Eostre. The only thing Christian celebrations seem to have taken from Eostre is an appropriation of her name. (https://historyforatheists.com/2017/04/easter-ishtar-eostre-and-eggs/)

    Anyway, which “Christian dogma” specifically is being challenged here? Nobody disputes that the origins of some Easter traditions lie in pagan rituals, any more than the co-opting of St Nicholas to become Santa Claus at Christmas. Easter is a celebration of uniquely Christian concepts, deliberately pitched against and taking advantage of pre-existing pre-Christian rituals. Suggesting that “Easter” has its origins in pre-existing pagan rituals does not at all challenge the concept of the life, death and rising of Jesus Christ. In fact I’d argue that it supports it: clearly, something happened in the early days of Christendom to seed a brand new religion to the extent that its followers sought to find a way to ease the transition for the people of their day.

  2. Ken

    The question in the last sentence IS the question !

  3. Brian Morris

    To Dani B: The “Christian dogma” being challenged here has nothing to do with the Passover — but it has everything to do with the Northern equinox which signifies the “coming of Spring” and “rebirth”. That is what the Pagans and other cultures were doing — celebrating a “new beginning”.

    It was, therefore, entirely convenient for Christians (writing about Christians, for other Christians, and in support of their fledgling faith) to devise a story about their chosen deity, based an obvious period in time. And the most obvious time was the equinox — signalling the concept of “rebirth”. Let’s be honest here, they had 325 years to get the story right — before the first Council of Nicaea — to codify Christian doctrine into what became the “New Testament.”

    Let’s keep sticking with the facts. There are NO non-Christian eyewitnesses — contemporaries of the biblical Jesus — who have corroborated any of the events in Jerusalem, at the time you claim. None. And please, don’t quote Flavius Josephus (the ‘solitary’ contemporary). There are only two passages, in his prolific works, that are alleged to refer to ‘Jesus’ — the “Flavian Testimonies”. Both passages are widely regarded by biblical historians to be forgeries. There two sentences were added centuries later over-zealous monks. All other “authors” — from Tacitus, and including the unknown “gospel writers” — came decades after the biblical story of Jesus.

    There is no historical record of the birth and death of the Christian Jesus. It has been convenient to associate his death with the equinox (similar to the Pagans and others) — so that Christians may “experience a rebirth”. And it is no surprise either the biblical Jesus is said to have been born at the time of the (Northern) solstice. Also extremely convenient (and coinciding, too, with the Pagan celebration of Saturnalia). But they did have 325 years to create a really good story, complete with an endless string of “miracles”, for good measure. http://www.plainreason.org

  4. Canguro

    Zeitgeist: The Movie, released in 2007, for those who may not be familiar with it, is a three-part production, the first of which deals with the the Christian religion and its origins; the filmmakers provide many historical examples that precede the advent of Christianity that have complete symmetry within the religion that arose around the supposed Jesus and his legacy, so many in fact that it’s practically impossible to avoid the sense that Christianity was fabricated on these already existing foundations.

    It makes sense, just as nobody’s ever reinvented the wheel, rather adapting it to better models – from the Flintstones to Pirelli as it were.

    Available on YouTube if interested.

  5. Pingback: Media Release: Easter rooted in A-theism - Plain Reason

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  7. Arnd

    Interesting article! Not least because as anarchist, I can certainly commiserate with your complaint: anarchism/anarchy are almost universally taken to mean rulelessness, lawlessness, disorder, chaos, and the imposition of arbitrary despotism by the (temporarily) strongest … – when, in fact, it means the exact obverse: voluntary rules-based cooperation in the absence of overlords.

    Rulelessness – the absence of valid rules – is correctly termed anomie: “a” + “nomos”. Few people can be bothered with that distinction, though!

    Which makes me wonder whether you will fare much better with your attempts at drawing a distinction between a-theisism and atheism. But let me know how you go. If it’s any good, I might take a page out of your book.

    On to a more substantial matter: I’m not sure how graciously religionists will receive your attempts to distance (benevolent, mild-mannered, rational) a-theism from (sinful, belligerent, satanic) atheism? They will take you right back to the beginnings, to the tale of the Original Sin: God’s and Satan’s instructions regarding alimentation in paradise were almost completely identical: you may eat fruit from any tree … – except (God) vs especially (Satan, after some fancy semantics) fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Not a biggie, you’d think. One tree! Yet it is agreed amongst the adherents of any of the abrahamic monotheisms that that made all the difference for thousands of years to come.

    Thus, to religionists, the denial of God necessarily comes with the denial of the god-ordained moral order – and that is sinful and, no matter how benevolently argued, invariably understood to play into the hands of Satan.

    In that sense, I always found communist and anarchist arguments against atheism far more persuasive than those presented by bourgeois atheists like Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Denning: at least the communists understand that by denying god and his moral order, they incur the responsibility of creating and implementing their own man-made (humanist?) moral/ethical order … – a subject matter to which the aforementioned bourgeois atheists seem to have attended incoherently and haltingly, if at all.

    In attending to the subject complex of man-made moral/ethical orders, I found there to emerge two major problem areas: 1) furnishing proof for the validity of any moral order sufficiently detailed to provide practical application; and 2) deciding about the appropriate degree of belligerence and duress to establish and maintain any such order.

    As concerns 1), any ‘true* rationalist will find herself scewered on the horns of the Munchausen Trilemma, having to choose between circular argument (begging the question), infinitely regressive argument (turtles all the way down), or dogmatic argument (relying on asserted, but unproven axiomatic statements, but just not one that is assumed to have divine imprimatur).

    To any true rationalist, all three must be similarly unsatisfactory. Note that the (so-called) communists – Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, the Kim’s – invariably resorted to dogmatic assertion, and accept/ed virtually no practical limitation on the means of enforcement. With, uhmm … – universally unpalatable(?!) results.

    Of course, the fact that their moral order was supposedly god-ordained did not exactly make the more often than not fiercely belligerent enforcement and conversion efforts of religionists throughout the millenia any more … palatable(?!).

    Meaning that, instead of engaging in ever more hopeless attempts at providing rationally unassailable bases for individual belief systems, I would consider it far more beneficial if we were to seek to agree on a moratorium of belligerent and violent enforcement – a sort of a live-and-let-live, side-by-side, constructive “by its fruits shall you tell the tree” competitive evaluation process of different faiths and philosophies: what can Christianity actually do for society? What can a-theism do for us? Islam? Judaism? Buddhism?

    You know: call the bluff! Cut through the pretenses.

  8. leefe

    Arnd:

    You are overlooking the fact that ALL moral/ethical systems are man-made, whether religious or not.

  9. Harry Lime

    Jesus H Christ,Arnd,stop making sense.The current iterations of popular Christianity like say,the Pentecostal hoax, combines consumerism and the pursuit of wealth(with a cut for the organisers) as ordained by ‘God’ as if She is the Supreme Banker. Outrageous porkies are also considered de rigueur in senior circles ,as long as it is in one’s self interest.Like all these inventions, they eventually fall face first into their own bullshit.Sometimes it may take millennia.However, in the local case of the Liar,not nearly that long.

  10. Arnd

    leefe,

    I did not overlook at all the fact that all moral/ethical systems either are man-made, or if god-ordained, are still interpreted and adapted to specific circumstances by men (mostly). I merely observe that theists of whatever stripe cannot doubt the god-ordained origins of their respective ethical systems. At least not without questioning the fundamentals of their faiths, which in many (most?) cases would amount to the kind of life-changing endeavour that only very few people ever pursue willingly.

    And if you read the above as meaning that I myself countenance the possibility of god-ordained law, you read correctly: in a footnote somewhere, Marx offered a plausible definition of “God” that does not necessarily completely invalidate materialist conceptions of the human condition, as also embraced by various rationalists and proponents of scientism: God as the combined consciousness of all of humanity.

    I have seen reason to add: … past, present and future. I occasionally dwell on this idea a little. I think it has enormous (infinite?) potential.

    But whichever way we look at it, I stick by my main insight: rather than endlessly debating the pertinence and truthfulness of each our philosophical and/or religious approaches, with the aim of assembling the kind of (democratic) majority that will consider itself authorised to impose on minorities, and if need be with force, I think the way forward is to have each approach demonstrate its practical usefulness, and go a lot more easily on commandeering other people’s consciousnesses.

    Or as Rosa Luxemburg put it: “Freedom is always the freedom of the dissenter!”

  11. Arnd

    Thanks, Harry – and yes, whilst I don’t wish to dissuade Brian Morris from fact-checking the tenets of Christianity, I think it far more fruitful to direct our inquisitive energies towards establishing exactly how well Scotty lives up to them – after all, the only standards by which you really can judge a man, are his own.

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