The purpose of symbols is to remind us of the realities for which they stand.

Easter, for example, is filled with symbols of fertility: eggs, rabbits and cute little chicks:

The above picture, for example, was sent to me via email and labeled 'The Ultimate Peep Show.' Now, if celebrating reproduction and the general fecundity of living things doesn't seem that reminiscent of the risen Lord to you, there's a reason for that: much of the traditions associated with Easter were pagan in origin.

Now, pagan need not mean 'debased', 'uncivilized' or 'anti-Christian', a fact that seems to escape the Biblical literalist who fondly longs for a 'seamless garment' of belief. Here's a few quotes from such a believer. Savor, if you like, the sheer craziness of this inflexible brand of Christianity:

" God is very clear in his directives against the celebration of this Pagan holiday that Christians now universally celebrate as Christmas. God calls this an abomination! Christians celebrate December 25th blindly believe they are honoring the birth of Jesus, when they are in reality honoring the Pagan god Tammuz."

"Though the deified queen, whom Astarte represented, had no actual existence till some centuries after the flood, yet through the doctrine of metampsychosis, which was firmly established in Babylon, it was easy for her worshippers to be made to believe that, in a previous incarnation, she had lived in the Antediluvian world and passed safely through the waters of the flood. The Roman Catholic Church then adopted this mystic egg of Astarte, and consecrated it as a symbol of Christ's resurrection."

Valentine's day also has occultic origins. Cupid (Tammuz/Osiris/Nimrod) is the son of the Greek goddess, Venus (Semiramis). Venus, is the daughter of the Greek god Jupiter, the head god (Nimrod, the sun god of Babylon, and Ra, the sun god of Egypt). Cupid is depicted with a bow and arrow, a reminder of Nimrod being a "mighty hunter" (Genesis 10:9)."

" This is the Adversary's clever deception - Paganism dressed up in Christian clothes! It's still nothing more than Paganism, but the Christian churches have wholeheartedly embraced this deception."

To say that this author is missing the point is an understatement! Sure, Christian tradition has its pagan roots. That doesn't make it un-Christian,or an endorsement of paganism, any more than the influence of our deist Founding Fathers makes our Constitution anti-Christian. The entire notion that these holidays are 'occult' comes from the mindset of people who want us to be scandalized by the 'revelation' of the 'secrets' that they possess. Truly, I say unto you, that 'Christian' literature on such topics is often occult literature. What is Hal Lindsey and his ilk, but a cottage industry within Christianity offering to share with you the secrets of the 'End Times'?

Anyway, back to Easter. Yes, some of the traditions associated with Easter are syncretisms, and perhaps they sometimes flourished because they made the new religion of Christianity more 'user-friendly' to pagans used to their own tradition. But that is not why these symbols have been maintained! No, the fertility symbols, and their embedding in the coming of the spring, are symbols of life out of death, of the continuity and renewing of existence in cultures where time was as much as cycle as it was an arrow. Spring is a symbol of resurrection, and provides us with a reminder of what Christians claim is the pressing reality:


He is risen!


He is risen, indeed!


Eamon Knight said...

What is Hal Lindsey and his ilk,

Geez, that guy is still in business? Some major crazy over at that site.

Scott Hatfield . . . . said...

Yeah. Actually, I hadn't kept track of him, and what I found was that he was actually dropped from TBN because the network felt his comments were coming off as anti-Arab. So he took his prophetic football and went some place else.

Maybe there's hope for TBN.