Thursday, 19 April 2007

Easter: leave us in peace by AC Grayling

This celebration of natural pleasures is soiled only by the cacophony of nonsense spouted in the name of religion.

AC Grayling

Easter is an ancient festival celebrating sexual intercourse, pregnancy and birth, new life, the return of light and flowers, the promiscuity of the rabbit, the iconic significance of the egg, and randiness in general. We forget that the Maypole, a giant penis erected on village greens to be beribboned by dancing maidens, was once central to happy Easter celebrations, but was moved from April to May to distance it from Easter itself once the latter had been hijacked by the ugly Christian story of arrest, flagellation, trumped-up charges, execution, interment, and mourning.

Oh, plus the fable put about by clever Saul and a bunch of gullible fishermen, that some time after the failed insurgency against the Roman occupation, an executed rebel had popped out of his grave like a jack-in-the-box and (after a bit of appearing to the same) flown off into the sky. Thus the one-day concession to the once all-joyous tradition, permitting Easter Sunday's happy-clappy hymns and the chocolatisation of the eggs that once, with the erect pole on the green, spoke Easter's true but now disguised and forgotten message.

Mention of chocolate eggs reminds me of Sweet Jesus. While shaking my head over news of the removal of a chocolate sculpture of Jesus (the "Sweet Jesus" in question) from a New York art gallery - not shaking my head at the censorship imposed by complaining Catholic groups, for that is standard stuff, but at the pusillanimity of the gallery at giving in to the superstitious, immature, humourless cretins who imposed the censorship - my eye fell on a news report that a French nun claims to have been cured of her Parkinson's disease by Pope John Paul II ... two months after his death.

Wonders will never cease. The dead Pope allegedly cures a nun - one of those so useful creatures - instead of directing the ray-gun of his miraculous posthumous healing powers on millions of African women dying of the Aids that his anti-condom policies inflicted on them, and who leave children - many of them suffering from Aids for the same Pope-given reason - behind them. Well, his priorities are Catholic ones all right.

I think, however, that the appearance of a hole in one of a pair of my socks three months after the Pope's death is surely another sign of his miraculous powers. The hole is the shape of Antigua, which I have never visited, but which is on planet Earth like me, so (by Catholic logic) this has to be infallible proof that the dead Pope's miraculous powers are responsible for it. Anyway, had I not better believe that the hole is the result of the deceased Pope's saintliness, for has not the new Pope reminded us, just a week ago, that Hell is a real, physical, tangible place, that hell-fire is eternal, and that if we do not do our damnedest to believe in (non-chocolate) Jesus we will be damned indeed, and fried agonisingly forever by the all-merciful deity?

I see a pattern. I see ranting Islamist mobs burning effigies of cartoonists (while, with disgusting hypocrisy, not uttering a peep of complaint about the dozens of daily murders perpetrated by Muslim on Muslim in the Middle East); I see Sihks closing down a play; I see Protestant Christian evangelicals trying to do so too; I see Hindus complaining about a Christmas stamp; and now I see Catholics on the march over a chocolate Jesus.

So: Catholics are getting in on the religious give-in-or-else act. They are jumping on the bandwagon. All the other airheads are squealing and complaining, demanding and protesting, thus trying to force their absurd beliefs and anal-retentive moralities on the rest of us, while at the same time rummaging in our pockets for our tax money so that they can continue to ghettoise their children into the same lunacies; and the Catholics have no wish to be left behind. They have registered their bona fides already by trying to cling to their exemptions from law (an old, old trick: remember "benefit of clergy"?); and they are in no mood to let the goodies go only to those who shout loudly, stamp their feet, and murder people in the name of their supposedly merciful gods.

Where will it end? In nuns flying commercial airliners into nuclear power stations? That, as it happens, is one not entirely illogical conclusion, because seriously religious people believe that the world is scheduled to end at some point determined by the whim of a giant ghost in the sky, and there is at least one thing right about the scenario this invokes: that if mankind does not grow up and shed its infantile superstitions, the religions will do their fantasised giant ghost's work for him.

The coterie of religious bloggers who will doubtless swarm out of the woodwork in response to the above must regard themselves as having been offered their response in advance: too much real life calls from beyond the laptop screen for this blogger to wade through another chorus of their predictable wails. (You think I too predictably bang on about these matters? But the Pope and hell, the nun and miracles, the chocolate Jesus, are all offerings of the seven days immediately preceding the day on which these words were written. Shall we pass them over in silence? If we did, it would be a silence of the lambs.)

The blogosphere - that giant electronic lavatory wall on which most of the graffiti has a tiresomely predictable character, with some very honourable exceptions - allows its more assiduous sans-culottes the luxury of being both authoritative and right on the basis of paragraph-long Collected Works, though I note that it is mainly the Catholics among them who believe that the mud-hut Dark Ages constitute the glory days of their fistula-inducing version of religion; and they have the fanciest websites on which to post their revisions of history. These latter are a wonderful example of the delusional power of superstition, to set alongside nuns' miraculous cures and papal indifference to the Church's role in spreading Aids.

One hopes that, as should follow Benedict XVI's hellish remarks, their endeavours will keep the ridicule going that will at last prompt them to keep their nonsense to themselves, and to leave the rest of us in peace - so that we can enjoy the celebration of natural pleasures and the concomitant resurgence of life that is the true meaning of Easter.

reposted from: CIF
my: highlights / emphasis / key points / comments

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