Passover and Easter: Celebrations of Violence?

"But did it really happen?" the traditional religious believer demands. "Did God free the Israelites with miracles; did He sacrifice His son?"

The spiritual response is to turn away from the question of objective truth and to focus instead on whether our lives reflect the essential messages of these stories. If I really believe that God did "so love the world that He gave his only begotten son" to suffer human existence, am I living a life that reflects an awareness of that love and a sincere effort to manifest it in the way I think and act? If God liberated my people from slavery to live in freedom, amI still a slave to my unthinking habits, conformity to social pressures, fear of discomfort, or hatred of the Other?

Whether these stories are myths or eyewitness reports by reliable observers, whatever the videotape reveals, the task of altering our lives to embody the spiritual meanings of these events remains. This process of shifting through "evidence" for God is endless, cautions Kierkegaard, and therefore we would be far better off forgetting the objective question and concentrating on the spiritual one. Not: "What is true?" but, "How am I living?" And if traditional believers tell me there is no reason to live religiously unless God is real, my reply is that a spiritual life is its own reward. Courage, compassion, mindfulness, and equanimity will soothe our spirits and bring us contentment, with or without a God.

3/28/2013 4:00:00 AM