Monday, April 2, 2012

The Myths Behind Easter

Probably the second most popular ‘Christian’ holiday in our culture is Easter. But most people don’t realize the disturbing imagery used in Easter traditions or the pagan roots of the holiday.
A little background on why so many pagan traditions are in the most important holidays in Christianity might be helpful. Back in the early days of Christianity, Christian missionaries would frequently give allowances for their new ‘converts.’ Some other traditions gleaned from pagan tradition include the fir tree on Christmas and hearts on Valentine’s Day. This practice allowed the pagans to ‘Christianize’ their former religion, corrupting the whole tradition. Also, why were these particular traditions chosen to be joined with Christ’s triumphant resurrection? Well, as you will see, all of these are fertility and rebirth traditions, which happen in spring, around the time of Passover, and, therefore, Christ’s death and resurrection.
So, let’s start with the most basic question about Easter; what does ‘Easter’ mean? Easter refers to several pagan deities, several of which are condemned in the Bible. The main ‘Easter’ was Queen Semiramis, the wife of King Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-12). While the Bible does not give much documentation on what happened to Nimrod, he is shown to have founded several evil cities, which went on to become the enemies of Israel. According to Mesopotamian legend, once Nimrod died, his wife (Queen Semiramis) had an illegitimate child named Tammuz, who she claimed was Nimrod reborn. Not only that but she also claimed he was the savior promised in Genesis who would crush the serpent (Satan). Queen Semiramis went on to become the Mesopotamian goddess of rebirth, fertility and the moon. She was also (as the Queen around the time of Babel) the basis of almost every fertility religion in the world. To name a few Ishtar/Astarte (originally pronounced Easter) was the Mother Goddess (fertility goddess) of Assyria and Babylon and Ashtoreth was the Phoenician version of the Mother Goddess, her temples were a center of sexual immorality innumerable ways; both of these goddesses are almost identical to the original myth built around Queen Semiramis.
Next up; the Easter egg. This colorful and frequently fun tradition is another fertility symbol used in many cultures; we’ll focus on the Babylonian myth. The Easter Egg myth was the birth of the goddess Ishtar (Easter). Basically a giant egg fell out of the sky and into the Euphrates River. Subsequently, all eggs became the symbol of Ishtar and fertility. Similar traditions in China included the coloring of the eggs.
Finally the Easter Rabbit/Bunny/Hare (whichever you prefer). Have you ever heard the term ‘reproduce like rabbits?’ That is exactly where this tradition comes from. The Bunny is yet another fertility tradition (and not without reason . . . actually I wonder why rats weren’t used; they reproduce faster . . . I digress) that was popular in many cultures. It has also represented the Mother Goddess in many cultures.
Please don’t take any of this incorrectly; I enjoy my Christmas tree, I enjoyed looking for Easter eggs when I was younger. (I didn’t really do the hearts on Valentine’s Day though). I don’t mean to say that these traditions are bad, but we must keep in mind “. . . if your brother is grieved by your food, you are not walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.” (Romans 14:15 NKJ) In context this verse is talking about food sacrificed to idols. Paul says that eating a pagan’s food is not sin, but doing so in a place, or in a manner which causes others to stumble is. While these traditions are not sin in and of themselves, they may cause others confusion. And that is reason enough to be cautious in engaging in such traditions.

Leaping Lizard


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