A few theological notes on Easter(Submitted 14 Apr 2003 to the BDH)
In reading Brian Rainey's column today (``An alternative Easter'', 14 Apr 03), I wasn't offended, but I can't help thinking Mr. Rainey has been a little bit misled in his theology.
First, he discusses the sacrifice involved in the Passion, but he uses phrases like "to appease [God's] own violent anger at humanity". Uh, no. You think he made a sacrifice to appease himself? The usual theological story here is that giving his only son demonstrates his surpassing love for humanity, actually. And the sacrifice involved was not really the death of Jesus as such, but his extreme suffering (unto death): unlike the case of Kronos' son, death was not a permanent condition for Jesus, but a stage on the path to resurrection.
Also strange was Mr. Rainey's seeming rejection of Easter for celebrating Jesus' "role in some cosmological salvation scheme", further asserting that he would use Easter to celebrate Jesus' life, instead. Well, of course we Christians celebrate his life, and his teachings. We do that every week, including this one. But his role in the cosmological salvation scheme is what makes him theologically significant (as opposed to just a really wise, really brave man willing to stand up for what's right and good); and so we celebrate this too.
The second half of the column, however, was right on: Jesus was a really wise, really brave man, and he was willing to stand up for what's right and good; and even if you don't buy into the theology, Jesus still makes an excellent role model to study, and to celebrate.
Feel free to link to this essay, but do so at its original link: http://www.blahedo.org/essays/easter.html. Feel free to quote this essay in whole or in part, but please attribute it to me and (if on the web) link to the original.
Don Blaheta / firstname.lastname@example.org
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