Roland Dürre
Sunday March 31st, 2013

Easter Holidays on the Internet

Tonight, I woke up twice from the ringing of church bells. It was during the time frame that actually did not exist: between two and three in the morning. In Germany, this is possible, because it is Easter time and due to a very old tradition, you are permitted to make noises for everybody to hear in the middle of the night.

This morning, I browse through the internet and find in Google+ a citation published by Marcus Raitner which he found in the blog die ennomane:
“Freedom of faith is the freedom to even believe in absurdities. Freedom of opinion is the freedom to call precisely those things absurd. In this spirit: Happy Easter to You!”
There is nothing Marcus wants to add to this sentence and I, too, can only agree.

Here is the rest of the story:
In her blog, “die Ennomane” informed us about a sarcastically written text on the Christian Easter Cult. Said text had appeared on Good Friday in Der Postillon. It seems that the author was reprimanded for what she wrote in the article and felt she had to justify her words. This also led to a few comments. In my eyes, the comments were quite interesting, because they revealed a few patterns of thought that are typical for “believers”.

I copied some short phrases from the comments and will then relate my own ideas on those words I marked “bold”:

  1. Antje Schrupp
    Comment by Antje Schruppp | March, 30, 2013 at 22:55:28
    I started associating the sarcastic, anti-religious jokes currently published all over the place with… a long time ago…

    However, the manner in which it is exposed to ridicule adds up to being a mere power struggle, that is: to the question who will finally win against whom.    
Of course, being a Good Christian, I could decide to remain totally untouched and just turn the other cheek.    
With respect to the global perspectives, however, I dare to predict that “you” (that is: those who consider religion “gaga per se”) will be the losers in this power struggle. And that is something that gives me a little pause, because there actually are quite a few things about religions, especially their institutionalized forms, which badly need criticism and reform.
  2. Enno
    Comment by Enno | March, 30, 2013 at 23:06:19

    Hmm… well, threatening that we are going to be the losers in a global power struggle is really a great argument, isn’t it?
  3. Antje Schrupp
    Comment by Antje Schrupppp | March, 30, 2013 at 23:23:25
    You do not really believe that I was threatening you with anything, do you?
  4. ….

Of course, the entire stream of comments can be read here: die ennomane » Blog Archive » Es hat einen Grund.

So here are my comments:

Personally, I found the article in Der Postillon rather negligible. All it did was re-kindle some well-known facts that had already been better formulated in a sarcastic and humorous but original way. The only novelty (and perhaps this was actually worth criticism) about the article was that he called religious rituals mostly “gaga”.

I am sure one could argue about when or under what conditions something is “gaga” or simply appears to be so. But then, who is to decide what is “gaga” today and what is not? To me, plenty of what I experience today seems “gaga”.

But what I find particularly noticeable is the choice of words in the arguments of the commentator Antje. Apparently, she represents the position of a Good Christian.
The first term I find worth noting is “Good Christian”. That is what Antje calls herself.

Basically, I can only excuse the “Good Christian” as a manner of speech, or else as some “thoughtlessly spoken flowery phrase”.  As soon as I take a closer look at the term, questions come up:

What exactly does it mean to be a “Good Christian”? Does it mean you have to have given up your autonomy and willingly submitted to rules set by someone else? Is it even possible for a human to give up his or her autonomy autonomously? Or is a Good Christian someone who just adheres strictly to the Christian rules while having kept his or her autonomy? But then, is that possible?

Or is a “Good Christian” just meant as the opposite of a “Bad Christian”? And then, what makes a Bad Christian – from whom Antje distances herself?
Linguistically spoken I find the “Good Christian” at least better than the “Believing Christian”. That is a term I often hear: I am a Believing Christian. So what would an “Unbelieving Christian” be?

And secondly, I am always personally concerned when I hear someone mention that a power struggle will be lost or won. It is what I hear quasi automatically from people who admit to a religious belief.

Incidentally, tolerance means that “everyone may believe in what he chooses to believe”. Why do the “believers” – who need this tolerance and claim it for themselves – keep talking about a power struggle that will have to be “lost” or “won”?

Incidentally, I would include all those in my definition of “believer” who think they know the truth, including the atheists. And how can mammals, even though basically capable of reason, but otherwise equipped with rather limited characteristics, think they know all the truth? What is God except a special metaphor for a special higher meaning, a term invented by humans?

And finally, it annoys me to read that believers who talk about winning or losing a power struggle show complete incomprehension when their words are perceived as threatening.

But here are a few personal thoughts:

When I was a small child, Easter was just great. We were allowed to seek Easter Eggs. Our joy was immense when we found some. The Easter Bunny symbolized the coming spring. I must have been five years old when I was given a second-hand children’s bike. The joy about this was of a very long duration.

Once I remember from my childhood that Easter was cold and snowy. We had no Easter-Eggs-Seeking in the garden. But we made the best of it: we carried the snow into or house with bowls, poured hot chocolate into moulds and let the figures get hard in the cold snow bowls. That was nice.

Then school started and that was the end of my joy. Easter became similar to pain, a symbol of human cruelty, of guilt and atonement. You had to fast in order to become clean. We learned about the Holy Grave. And that we are bad and someone else had atoned for all of it.

Today, we have another white and cold Easter. And since it is no fun to go out and there is no Easter-Eggs-Seeking either, I browse through the internet. Where I am confronted with enlightenment that never happened.

On the radio, I hear about the religious super festival as it is celebrated with a huge amount of ego-centrism. Including great patter. Except: that is not what reality is like. Yesterday, the agreement on weapons transfer failed, the environmental facts get more depressing each day and today they again talk about love and humility.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

2 Kommentare zu “Easter Holidays on the Internet”

  1. Enno (Sunday March 31st, 2013)

    In dem letzten Teil, dem persönlichen, hast du sehr schön zusammengefasst, wie auch ich mich an Ostern so fühle. Ich empfinde es auch als ritisches Laborieren am Leid an sich, das nunmal in der Welt ist. Niemand kann dieses ganze Leid schultern und egal, was wir tun, es wird immer zu wenig sein. Statt sich eine kleine Ecke zu suchen, in der man ein Stückchen Leid bekämpft — egal wie irrelevant und unwichtig es anderen erscheinen mag, egal ob man nun Umweltkatastrophen bekämpft oder an Linux mitschreibt — stattdessen gibt es einen Hinterausgang namens Eucharistie. Da hat einer das ganze Leid der Welt geschultert und du kannst daran teilhaben: Ein wenig Fleisch, ein wenig Blut, und die Genehmigung, dir ab hier die Welt wieder selbstgerecht Untertan zu machen.

  2. Chris Wood (Monday April 1st, 2013)

    I find Antje’s comment fairly reasonable. She wants to reform religions, rather that to have one “win”. She sees atheism as a particular religion. But it should be regarded as a group of religions, (including communism, but also beliefs in the Bavarian Constitution, or in the Declaration of Human Rights, or in equality of men and women). Perhaps for her a “good Christian” is one who accepts most of Jesus’ moral teaching, while rejecting the gaga aspects of Christianity, such as God of the Old (or New) Testament. Many Anglicans fit this fairly well.
    I doubt whether any religion will win, since there are various evolutionary niches for them. A monoculture tends to be unstable. So she may be right to see danger.

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