GOOD FRIDAY, here’s a penny for your thoughts that might give you a pounding headache: is the Easter Bunny a male or a female? All the very many people I’ve asked in the past have unhesitatingly pronounced the Easter Bunny to be male. The Trinidadian Easter Bunny is a figure of authority, analogous to God the Father himself, and Trinis default to declaring anyone in charge of anything to be a male.
Which is understandable, in our culture.
But isn’t it hard enough for a rabbit to lay eggs without also depriving it of ovaries?
Strictly speaking, those chocolate eggs that all children are openly and most honest adults are secretly looking forward to far more eagerly than church on Easter Sunday morning, should really be laid by the Easter Chicken.
And, on a weekend devoted to what is seen as the greatest miracle in all Christian belief, does a Cadbury creme egg dropping out of a yard fowl really matter? In Easter terms, it’s miracle small beer.
All the very many and even the very weirdest of Christian sects believe that, 2000-odd years ago, today, Good Friday, Jesus Christ, who was literally God made man, was crucified (by the religious leaders of his time) for the sins of mankind; and that, come Sunday, he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, thereby creating a route for everyone who believes this story to achieve life everlasting after death.
A chocolate egg-laying male rabbit begins to seem plausible.
Today, at least 25 per cent (and perhaps as much as half) of British Christians who go to church every Sunday reject the literal truth of the resurrection. There is a debate (which one should probably call “strenuous” rather than “lively”) going on in the Church of England today over whether the literal interpretation of the Nicene Creed (accepted since circa 325 CE) that Christ literally rose again in the flesh should be rejected in favour of a more symbolic – and much less ridiculous – notion of spiritual rebirth.
It is, though, even more wondrous that intelligent people should engage in this kind of “debate” at all.
Since my own fall – or, more accurately, liberation – from faith, I have been puzzled over what seems to be the real mystery of modern-day religion: that individual believers can continue holding on to the certainty that theirs alone, of the half-dozen or more currently on offer, is the “one true way to God.” Centuries ago, we had to take it on trust from our holy men that there were, eg, heathens in Darkest Africa who had to be saved by being brought to our God. Few Christians had even seen a Hindu or a Mussulman.
Today, on their way home from church, British Christians are likely to buy their Sunday paper from one.
It is beyond belief, and beyond reconciliation with belief, that a modern Christian can assert that Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists will deservedly go to hell and suffer for all eternity because they happen to have been raised in a different religion; no matter that it worships God just as fervently and believes in itself just as completely.
Today, every believer, no matter how ignorant (the AK-15-toting Boko Haram thug or the curly side-burned, Torah-toting Jewish “scholar”) knows for sure that the person he is required to dismiss as an infidel is, by that person’s own terms, not just not a heretic or heathen, but actually a devout believer, and already saved.
To continue believing in one’s own force-fed doctrine while rejecting the equally-viable beliefs of others who believe equally fervently seems to me to be purely evil: it is a rejection of God as powerful as a rejection of one’s own.
For there cannot be half a dozen “one true ways” to God. All are either equally true – or equally false.
If believers have the faith to declare the belief of others to be false, they must recognise that theirs, too, must be.
The real wonder, then, is not that Christians continue to believe that the resurrection of Christ gives them eternal life, but that they deny the reincarnation of Hindus does the same for them.
And both religions, in practice, do the same thing for both believers.
Which is nothing at-firetrucking-all.
Perhaps, on this holy weekend, we may benefit from having, not so much a bunny for our thoughts as other life forms.
Perhaps the Trinidadian should consider whether he receives his chocolate eggs from the Easter Bunny.
Or the Easter Iguana.
BC Pires believes there are greater rewards from one bar of 72 per cent Lindt than life everlasting. Read more of his writing at www.BCPires.com