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The Gaps of the God

So here is today’s thought: widespread ignorance makes it easier to be a chucklehead.

Today’s version of this thought brought to you by this bit of manufactured pagan persecution: “Easter has bunnies and eggs, and therefore it was stolen from The Pagans(tm) who valued those symbols in the springtime as a tool of conversion.”

The problems with this are of course manifold, with Easter and its roots only existing in the northern European (primarily, maybe exclusively) Germanic areas where Bede theorised Eostre, and not anywhere near either Palestine or Rome, areas in which Christianity was actually formed, the problematic nature of associating either the animal or the egg with the goddess, which is pure modern interpolation, and of course the problems with equating pop cultural trappings around a religion with its actual symbolism and theology.

But I’m kind of concerned about the anti-Semitism.

And the thing is, I’m fairly certain that most pagans don’t mean to be anti-Semitic with this bullshit. They’ve just casually absorbed it. But it’s still an erasure, still a supersessionist belief that has replaced Judaism with Germanic paganism in Christian history.

Easter is a holiday rooted in Passover, using Passover symbology and theology at its core, originating around a Passover seder, whose timing in the calendar is set to attempt to coincide with Passover. The parts of it which are not explicitly Jewish in origin have to do with Roman execution habits. It is a holiday deriving from Jewish roots, and originally celebrated by Jewish Christians and gentile converts to a Jewish-derived religion. Period. There is no actual room for disputing this in the historical record.

BUT BUNNIES, they cry. WHAT ABOUT THE BUNNIES.

Because of course rabbits are of profound liturgical significance, actual religious importance, the essential symbolism of the holiday, amirite? That’s not a throwaway thing to entertain children, a cultural game. It is a universal Christian practice of universal significance, because… reasons.

In the real world, the later adoption of some Germanic folk tradition stuff (and the Easter Bunny appears to be likely post-Protestant, German Lutheran to be specific, so all of this pagan survival stuff is about as relevant as the also Germanic post-Christianisation Christmas tree, earliest examples and precursors of which appear to be 15th century) does not retroactively make this not Jewish. The adoption of folk customs associated with a holiday in Germanic-derived cultures does not make those folk customs either a part of the holiday in a liturgical sense or, for that matter, even remotely relevant or familiar to those people who are not a part of Germanic-derived cultures. You bloody barbarians.

I mean, there’s other stuff too? People are stunningly ignorant of stuff about Christianity, which I suspect is part and parcel of its hegemonic status. Don’t have to know anything because it’s everywhere, in some sort of form, so it’s easy to construct an illusion of knowledge.

But pagan myths (sense of myth meaning “lie”, not the sense of myth meaning “sacred story”, though it’s funny how many of these lies are sacred stories to some people) about appropriation are manifold. “Christianity has no ties to the natural world or agricultural cycles” does not include… I was working on a novel a number of years ago and wound up researching the official Catholic prayers, liturgies, and rituals for blessing fields at planting time. Why do people not know about this? Well, I’m betting it’s because most pagans are from urban or suburban backgrounds, and likely Protestant ones besides, and thus are utterly unfamiliar with agricultural liturgies, since the topic never bloody comes up.

Like the Jewish roots somehow don’t come up. And there’s no scope to pretend that that doesn’t come from anti-semitism – from a cultural heritage that has included a whole lot of people wanting to erase the Judaism out of Christianity so that they can justify persecuting Jews. But it’s not hard to find out the truth, or even think a little and come away with “Maybe there was something going on here.”

But it’s interesting that a search on “origins of Easter” throws me a whole lot of pagan drivel and not a whole lot of Passover. (Passover does turn up on the first page of results, but it’s under the featured top hit that claims “all of the fun things about Easter are pagan” and a bunch of similar sites. I just. The fun things. That’s the important thing about holy days: what the fun is. I’m not anti-fun, I’m just. What is wrong with you people? Forget the religious significance, where’s the party?)

I’m just disgusted. The whole phenomena of pagans talking a big game about finding the real truth of the historical past and then casually rewriting history so that the supersessionism was overcoming Germanic pagans rather than the actual Jews who were condemned and persecuted for not buying into a Christian line disgusts me to levels of incoherence that are perhaps not obvious from my ranting about it here.

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