Parting Thoughts for April 15, 2001

Today is Easter, perhaps the most preposterous of all religious holidays.  It celebrates the resurrection of Jesus three days after his crucifixion and prefigures his return to heaven.  

As C.S. Lewis noted, the story is so over the top that there's no middle ground, either you believe it or you don't.  And if you do, you believe God decided in the midst of the Roman Empire to send his only begotten son to an irrelevant dusty province, where the son, himself part of the Holy Trinity, preached to the meek and powerless and then was executed.  

Even more improbable, the story has survived for two millenniums, mainly because thousands have accepted martyrdom, many with broad smiles on their faces, rather than forsake their faith in the story's truth. 

Which raises an interesting set of questions.  If this story is so imbecilic, superstitious and implausible, as many people believe, why were all those people smiling?  And come to think of it, when was the last time you saw someone testifying joyously to the life-saving powers of atheism?