The thought of skepticism brings negative reactions from some folks. This perception is most unfortunate because a little skepticism applied towards Christianity could produce a better presentation of faith. Say what? Whose side are you on?
Easter's shifting dates from year to year is a "stumbling block" to rational minded people. In fact, it was one of my top 5 question marks back in 1999 that helped ease me from my faith. Here is what I wrote:
Isn't the historical date of a person's birth & death constant? Does Easter get a special exception? For example, Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826. Isn't it ironic that he died 50 years to the date of the adoption of Declaration of Independence? My point is that the date of death is FIXED.
Easter's date is determined by astrology, not a historical date! Not only do we get differing months and days for Easter, theologians, historians, and the Bible itself cannot agree upon the year of birth or resurrection of the Christ. Why don't Christians pick a date to celebrate the resurrection? Something like the first Sunday in April? They chose a fixed date for Christ's birth(Dec. 25). The dates of Easter in years past:
1992 April 19
1993 April 11
1994 April 3
1995 April 16
1996 April 7
1997 March 30
1998 April 12
1999 April 4
The well-respected Thomas Paine had this to say about Christianity, "The Christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun." If you seek more information about this, read the chapter named "Astro-Theology" by Jordan Maxwell contained within "The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You To Read," edited by Tim Leedom.
I love what Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos, associate general secretary of the National Council of Churches for Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations is attempting to do! He argues for a common celebration of Easter in the east and west. Below, I have listed two of his paragraphs; I encourage you to visit this link and read his thoughts on the matter.
Easter is at the heart of our Christian faith. On that day, we celebrate our belief in what the apostles claimed - that a man, Jesus, who had died upon a cross, is risen from the dead - and our belief in what the Church subsequently concluded after years of contemplating this miracle - that he is the Son of God, fully human and fully divine, one of the Holy Trinity who, with the Father and the Spirit, created and redeemed and continues to sanctify the world.This is Good News indeed. And yet almost every year the Christian community is split on which day to proclaim this Good News. The split is along an Eastern (Orthodox) - Western (Catholic, Protestant, and Anglican) divide, and duplicative celebrations cause confusion both inside and outside the churches. This, my dear friends, is a scandal! How is it that we have allowed the glory of the Gospel of the risen Christ to be diminished by a fractured telling of the story?If I were still behind a pulpit, I would happily support this! Now that I'm out, I still find myself supporting Dr. Kireopoulos and encourage Christianity to follow his leadership and resolve the Easter problem!
Fixing the Easter scandal was my first point of this essay; the second is that skepticism can inadvertently stand in the way of progress without even realizing it! I think that we could do a much better job to help facilitate positive changes within religion if we only had a better attitude towards religion! I'm not suggesting that skeptics love religion, just don't get caught up in the hatred of those that do!
There are many things that the clergy could do that would benefit both the faithful and society at large. But faithful church members and sarcastic skeptics wouldn't permit church leadership to "exhale" and make those changes due to traditions and "heresy" charges. The clergy are in a sense "painted into a corner" without a viable exit plan!
No clergy wants a "heretic" label or to be scoffed at by a skeptic that can't wait to pounce on them with "I told you so"! Skepticism needs to better understand the clergy and allow them to be more progressive.
Need an example? What about the Pope's condoms statement scandal last year? The Pope is a powerful man that is in a position to bring about positive change; but just like any head of state or leader they are all subject to pressure and political whims as well! The thoughts of their constituents and "opposition" are always factors in decision making.
Do you know what I really think? I think that some skeptics are so desperate for a cheap laugh, scoff or sarcasm that they would prefer to have that "selfish moment of jubilation" rather than progress!
This ex-minister is a skeptic, I don't believe in the claims of my religious past. I do believe that religion does a lot of good and that secularism is silly if it thinks that it is in a position to "fill the void" that religion satisfies in the world! Religion isn't my cup of tea, but let's not throw a tea party!
I'm after "goodness" in this world and want to believe that you are too! Goodness is hard to find! Let's be skeptics rather than goodness killing cynics! We could fight and hinder progress, but I'm asking you to show charity and support people like Dr. Kireopoulos!
Brian Worley May 13, 2011 Ex-minister.org All rights reserved!
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