Today is the day Christians around the world celebrate the alleged resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The significance with which this miracle is imbued varies from sect to sect, of course, but for most Christians, the “Resurrection” (you gotta capitalize a miracle) is the central miracle of the Bible. It communicates that God is control. That God is stronger than death itself. And it communicates that, somehow, at some point, there’ll be a cosmic Happy Ending (for at least some).
Easter is the holiday of Happy Ending Christianity.
Happy endings are nice, don’t get me wrong. But Happy Ending Christianity is a lie. There is no life after death. There is no evidence that Jesus was raised from the dead, because there is no evidence that he is alive today. Everything in the world has gone on in the world since Jesus’ alleged resurrection as if he hadn’t been raised from the dead. Nothing has changed. The simplest explanation is probably the best: Jesus is still dead.
There are branches of Christianity that flirt with this acknowledgment. Some liberal Christians will claim that finding Jesus’ remains would have no impact on their faith. That the Resurrection isn’t about flesh and blood, but about spiritual realities. And let me say this much–that’s all well and good. But there’s two ways of interpreting such claims. First, you might in fact be on board with the evidence: Jesus is dead, and his death has been interpreted by his followers in certain ways that give them courage to face their own deaths, so that “in Christ”, death is no more. Metaphor, metaphor, metaphor. Everybody still dies. The Earth still goes up in cosmic flames. No Happy Ending. Second, however, you might be trying to hold on to your Happy Ending, but making it an invisible Happy Ending. So Jesus’ body wasn’t raised from the dead; but his soul was.
Of course, there’s no such thing as an immaterial soul, and so your story is just that–a story. When told as truth, it becomes straight up undiluted hogwash (no offense to hogs).
So make a choice: do you want the Happy Ending? And do you want the mythical, make-believe world that goes along with it? Or are you willing to live in the real world? To sacrifice your guaranteed Happy Ending, for the possibility of some happy endings and some not-so-happy endings, here in the realm of mortals?
I’ve made my choice. I’ve come to the conviction that death is the complete cessation of conscious experience; that meaning and significance and joy are ephemeral human achievements, and not “gifts” bestowed upon us by the universe, or by an allegedly benevolent transcendent deity; and that unless I face the finality of my own death, I will in all likelihood fail to live as fully as I can. Having embraced the reality of my smallness, my materialness, my mortality, and my cosmic insignificance, I am now free from the need for Easter.
Jesus died. As we all will. End of story.
And that’s ok.