I would be grateful for your responses to a letter which was published in an Irish newspaper on Thursday last. The writer undoubtedly holds anti-Christian (indeed anti-religion) views, and I have debated with him last year on the same letters page over the “Jesus’ Tomb” story which emerged last March - I’ve posted that on CAF somewhere!! Anyway his latest letter was a response to a very good article about why Easter is a moveable feast (view the article at www.independent.ie/unsorted/features/why-easter-is-a-moveable-feast-1276304.html ). In fact his letter was not so much a response to the article itself, but rather an opportune moment for the letter-writer to make further attacks on Christianity. I don’t know if I’ll respond to the letter or not, as no proof will ever be enough for him since he does not understand the nature of ‘Faith’, but I would like to see some of your responses- especially in relation claims regarding the Gospel of Mark. Many thanks in advance!
Here is the letter and the link to the original source:
"KUDOS to Gemma O’Doherty for her informative but highly amusing article ‘Why Easter is a moveable feast’ (Irish Independent, January 29).
I haven’t seen gymnastics like that since the last Olympic games.
Whilst trying to convince herself, and others, why “the most important feast in Christianity” moves on the calendar, she seems to have conveniently forgotten that there is no proof whatsoever that the resurrection of Jesus ever took place.
The resurrection is not actually mentioned in the original version of Mark’s Gospel – which Matthew and Luke are largely derived from.
An event of this magnitude should have been front and centre in the New Testament, yet scholars today know the account of the resurrection was not added to Mark’s Gospel until the second century, and are unsure as to its exact origins.
As for “the theological significance” of the equinox which Ms O’Doherty seems to attach special, and mystical, meaning to; the equinox is simply a term used in astronomy to describe the moment when the sun is positioned directly over the Earth’s equator, nothing to do with theology, or the nature or will of any God or gods.
Moreover, Ms O’Doherty conveniently omits any mention of the Pagan festivals and rituals of re-birth and fertility from her article.
In fact, Easter is a classic example of the early Christian church adapting an existing pagan ritual to suit their own purposes, much like Christmas.
The Saxon spring festival of Eostre, was named for their goddess of dawn, and when they came to Britain in the fifth century, the festival came with them along with re-birth and fertility rituals involving eggs, chicks and rabbits.
When the Saxons converted to Christianity and started to celebrate the alleged death and resurrection of Jesus, it coincided with Eostre, which is why the church called the celebration Eostre or Easter, in modern English.
Easter may move on the calendar year by year, but it’s nothing compared to the amount of moving done by religious believers to shoehorn the past into their personal modern-day beliefs. Just because you believe it doesn’t make it true, only evidence can achieve that feat."