Easter Potpourri: A Look at the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and More

Easter Potpourri: A Look at the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and More April 19, 2019

It’s Easter season, so let’s review some Easter topics from previous blog posts.

I regard the brain as a computer
which will stop working when its components fail.
There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers;
that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.
— Stephen Hawking

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Image from Melissa Walker Horn, CC license
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  • RichardSRussell

    Happy vernal equinox (more or less), everyone! Be like bunnies!

  • skl

    Jesus: Just One More Dying and Rising
    Savior: Mythology has many precedents to the story of the resurrection of
    Jesus. Let’s look at some of these gods and see if they’re any less compelling
    than Jesus.

    If the resurrection stories of Tammuz, Osiris, Dionysus, Adonis, Attis, and Baal
    were as compelling as that of Jesus, we’d probably have today a lot more Tammuzians, Osirisans, etc.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Or…….if the people who believed in the other gods killed, enslaved, and colonized as many other people as the Christians then their religions would probably be more widespread as well.

      • skl

        Maybe Christians are more vicious than other peoples. A body count (i.e. of people murdered by Christians) in the first couple centuries may help make that point.

        • Doubting Thomas

          I didn’t say they were more vicious. It’s just that they had the power to spread their religion and it seems to have had nothing to do with how compelling the story of the resurrection was.

        • skl

          Maybe then a different body count (i.e. of people forced
          into adopting the religion of these powerful Christians) in the first couple centuries may help make your point.

        • Kuno

          Why the focus on the first couple of centuries?

        • skl

          Why the focus on the first couple of centuries?

          Just to start at the beginning, to understand better just
          what it was that the Roman Empire supposedly gave a turbo charged boost to.

          As I understand the history, the Christians were being
          persecuted and even killed by the pagan rulers of the powerful Roman Empire for hundreds of years. But then in the 4th century, the Roman Empire, presumably to increase its power, adopted the small religion it had previously persecuted. I guess they had learned from the early Christians how to be even more effective at wielding power and prosecutorial might.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          xtianity didn’t thrive until the Roman Empire made it the STATE religion.

          So you’re being disingenuous.

        • al kimeea

          again

        • Joe

          What was so compelling about the Roman gods in the century that made them the default religion for the first couple of centuries?

        • Greg G.

          They had visual evidence for them. You could see them moving about the heavens at night.

        • Ignorant Amos

          As I understand the history, the Christians were being persecuted and even killed by the pagan rulers of the powerful Roman Empire for hundreds of years.

          There’s yer major malfunction right there, skl “understanding” is always flawed. You are buying into the pious fraud of Christians.

          There was probably not much more than a decade of official state sponsored empire wide persecution of Christians during the first three centuries.

          1. The traditional idea of the “Age of Martyrdom”, when Christians suffered persecution from the Roman authorities and lived in fear of being thrown to the lions, is largely fictional.

          2. There was never sustained, targeted persecution of Christians by Imperial Roman authorities.

          3. Official persecution of Christians by order of the Roman Emperor lasted for at most twelve years of the first three hundred of the Church’s history.

          4. Most of the stories of individual martyrs are pure invention,

          5. Even the oldest and most historically accurate stories of martyrs and their sufferings have been altered and re-written by later editors, so that it is impossible to know for sure what any of the martyrs actually thought, did or said.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Persecution

          In the 300 years from the crucifixion of Christ to the conversion of Emperor Constantine, polytheistic Roman emperors initiated no more than four general persecutions of Christians. Local administrators and governors incited some anti-Christian violence of their own. Still, if we combine all the victims of all these persecutions, it turns out that in these three centuries, the polytheistic Romans killed no more than a few thousand Christians.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians_in_the_Roman_Empire

          Compare that to the persecution met out by Christians once they were able. How many Christians were persecuted by their fellow Christians after the first three centuries of Christianity?

          But then in the 4th century, the Roman Empire, presumably to increase its power, adopted the small religion it had previously persecuted.

          Whaaaa? You think it was “presumably to increase its power”? You’re fucking bonkers.

          The Roman Empire didn’t become a Christian state overnight. Even Constantine’s conversion was a protracted process. When, where, and why, is a topic of debate among scholars. That it may have been to get the Christians to stop squabbling among themselves and sort themselves out, or as a way to make the religion beneficial to his position, is also not clear. But it wasn’t a “Roman Empire” thing, it was an individuals.

          Lucius Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius was as instrumental in Constantine’s road to Christianity. His influence was as important as anyone’s around Constantine at the time.

          https://www.jamesclarke.co/pub/rethinking%20constantine%20ch2.pdf

          I guess they had learned from the early Christians how to be even more effective at wielding power and prosecutorial might.

          You’re heads away with the fairies.

          Christianity didn’t become the official religion of the Roman Empire until 380 CE under Theodosius I. That was over 40 years after Constantine’s death. It was because Constantine decriminalized Christianity at the Edict of Milan that made it become more popular. People love a popular fad to follow…especially one that gets taken up and supported by celebrity.

          Edit to fix format of Wiki citation.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Like the roughly 50 million people in the Roman Empire when it declared Christianity as the official religion?

          But what do you think contributed more to the spread of Christianity, the compelling nature of the resurrection story or the power of the Roman Empire?

        • skl

          But what do you think contributed more to the spread of Christianity, the compelling nature of the resurrection story or the power of the Roman Empire?

          The more interesting perspective, to me, is why the most powerful empire on earth adopted as its official religion the feeble fantasy faith that it had been persecuting for hundreds of years.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Invalid assumption. The xtians that *were* around were causing so much shit that the safest choice going was to make xtianity the state religion.

          So the xtians got their way through terrorism…no big surprises.

        • Doubting Thomas

          Have you tried researching it? The answer seems pretty clear. And, once again, it has little to nothing to do with how compelling the story of the resurrection is.

        • LastManOnEarth

          For fuck’s sake, why do you find it necessary to flail about in your own ignorance here? Especially since you have repeatedly proven to be uneducatable.

        • Greg G.

          Because the emperor’s mother happened to be a Christian. What is interesting about that perspective?

        • Susan

          Maybe Christians are more vicious than other peoples.

          That’s not what Doubting Thomas said. He’s saying they are at least as vicious as many peoples, and that their cultural impact was largely arrived at by conquering and maintaing power.

          A body count (i.e. of people murdered by Christians) in the first couple centuries may help make that point

          How would that address DT’s point about chrisitianity today?

          FDW

    • LastManOnEarth

      Which of those had the backing of the Roman Frickin’ Empire post-
      Constantine?

      Christianity’s success is a contingent fact of history. If Helena had joined the cult of Dionysus, you’d no doubt be here asking “Jesus who?”

    • Greg G.

      Osiris had a longer run than Jesus has had. Osiris was around during the pyramid building era and was still around at the beginning of Christianity. The end of the pyramid building was further back in time to the beginning of Christianity than the beginning of Christianity is to us by a few centuries.

    • Michael Neville

      There were plenty of followers of Tammuz et al until the Romans made Christianity the official state religion, which meant Tummuzians, Osirians, etc. were officially discouraged from following their old gods but were encouraged to follow the state god. When the people with torturers and executioners on their payroll do the encouragement, notice is taken of their advice.

    • Rudy R

      So what you are essentially implying, is that your Yahweh aped all those fictitious stories for his own inane purpose. Now who exactly was more creative; the authors of those fictitious stories or your god?

      What you haven’t proven with that nutty logic is the Jesus resurrection story is not also a fictional story.

      • skl

        What you haven’t proven with that nutty logic is the Jesus resurrection story is not also a fictional story.

        I haven’t proven it because I wasn’t even attempting to prove it. Such proofs are impossible.

        I only used the word “compelling”.

        • Rudy R

          Yes, you certainly did not prove anything.

    • Michael Neville

      What’s compelling about Jesus’ resurrection story? As you point out, lots of gods have resurrection stories. My favorite is about Rama, an avatar of Vishnu, who was killed in battle in the morning, got resurrected during lunch, and killed his killer in the afternoon (the killer stayed dead).

    • Otto

      and…more fallacious reasoning from skl.

  • epeeist

    Slightly late, but I have been away. I would like to wish you all a happy Hanuman Jayanti, which was on Friday this year.

    • Michael Neville

      And have a safe Fourth of July.

  • epicurus

    Bob is a writing machine!!

  • This year will be the last Easter…yeah, they found the body.

  • Otto