PSA: This Easter, please remember to fact-check before sharing or retweeting

Hey everyone, see this image?

The claims it makes are bullshit. As you could find out with literally a minute on Google or Wikipedia:

The modern English term Easter, cognate with modern German Ostern, developed from the Old English word Ēastre or Ēostre.[nb 2] This is generally held to have originally referred to the name of an Anglo-Saxon goddess, Ēostre, a form of the widely attested Indo-European dawn goddess.[nb 3]

In Greek and Latin, the Christian celebration was and is called Πάσχα, Pascha, words derived, through Aramaic, from the Hebrew term Pesach (פֶּסַח), known in English as Passover, which originally denoted the Jewish festival commemorating the story of the Exodus.[29][30] Already in the 50s of the 1st century, Paul, writing from Ephesus to the Christians in Corinth,[31] applied the term to Christ, and it is unlikely that the Ephesian and Corinthian Christians were the first to hear Exodus 12 interpreted as speaking about the death of Jesus, not just about the Jewish Passover ritual.[32] In most of the non-English speaking world, the feast is known by names derived from Greek and Latin Pascha.[5][33]

So: pagan etymology, yes, specifically related to Ishtar, no. Again, I must emphasize, this took me one minute to find out. If you shared the image above, as many people on my Facebook timeline did, I now know you don’t care enough about whether the things you say are true to do one goddamned minute of checking before posting something to Facebook.

Easter is a convenient excuse to write about this problem, but it isn’t by any means limited to to this one image. The problem is one of the biggest dark sides to the internet. On the one hand, the internet has made fact-checking easier than ever before. Often, fact-checking is a simple Google search away. Extensive debunkings of various kinds of nonsense are available for free on websites like

Unfortunately, while fact-checking may only take a minute, clicking “share” without fact-checking only takes half a second. So if people don’t care enough to do that fact-checking, the internet becomes, instead of a powerful force for truth, the most powerful vector for spreading nonsense humans have ever invented. This tendency becomes particularly worrisome when we’re talking about the internet outrage machine. Someone can write a distorted account of an event they want people to be mad about, and there’s a good chance that countless people will share it without a minute’s worth of Googling to see find out of things actually went down the way described.

So people: fact-check that shit, okay?


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