In theory Easter is the biggest festival in the Church’s year. How it works out in practice is another matter.
Today the main issue is that it’s impossible. Nobody rises from the dead. Some people conclude that Christianity is wrong, others that the whole point of Christianity is that God made something impossible happen. Cue science against religion debate.
I have recently received an email warning me of eternal damnation in hell. It comes with a link to a video full of graphic descriptions of what is in store.
Revelation 21 v 8 says: ‘All liars will have their part in the lake of fire”. The bible says: ‘No thief, adulterer or blasphemer will enter heaven’. You broke God’s laws and deserve eternal punishment...
And so on. Full text at the bottom. The video is here. It’s a bit more than four minutes long, but you get the idea quite quickly. The author, quite clearly, takes eternal damnation very seriously indeed.
If I were the Archbishop of Canterbury I too would feel distinctly uncomfortable.
Speaking on a radio phone-in, Justin Welby said he had stood by a mass grave of 330 Christians murdered in Nigeria because of gay weddings in America. The murderers justified the massacre by saying
‘If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we will kill all the Christians’.
A friend told me an intriguing story about a funeral. The dead man’s grandson prepared for the cremation by dressing his grandfather as he had normally dressed when leaving the house: with his jacket, and in the pockets a ten pound note, a mobile phone, some cigarettes and a lighter.
These would all be burnt in the crematorium. Nevertheless the grandson, a man who did not consider himself a religious believer, insisted on dressing him like this. Something must have been going on at a subconscious level.
In Friday’s Church Times Andrew Brown quotes an article by John Gray:
With few exceptions, contemporary atheists are earnest and militant liberals. Awkwardly, Nietzsche pointed out that liberal values derive from Jewish and Christian monotheism, and rejected these values for that very reason. There is no basis – whether in logic or history – for the prevailing notion that atheism and liberalism go together. Illustrating this fact, Nietzshe can only be an embarrassment for atheists today. Worse, they can’t help dimly suspecting they embody precisely the kind of pious freethinker that Nietzsche despised and mocked: loud in their mawkish reverence for humanity, and stridently censorious of any criticism of liberal hopes.