- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
Like most people with kids, we do the annual Easter thing. It is pretty much an orgy of chocolate bunny desecrating and peep-eating. This is also for our health, as people who eat a lot of chocolate have lower blood pressure and fewer heart attacks than those who don’t. Dutifully the kids dye festively-colored fart bombs, set out the Easter baskets, and generously leave out a plate of carrots for the Bunny, in case his blood sugar level drops after being up laying eggs all night.
The first thing we were asked when we moved to our small, rural town was not, “What do you do for a living?” or “What are your hobbies?” It was instead, “What church to you belong to?” Obviously, as in many small towns, a person is first judged not on his contribution to society, but on the potential destination of his soul after death. We are not religious, so it became apparent that we would have to at least send our kids to church occasionally so they could have some social contacts outside of school, thus preventing almost certain ostracization.
This civilization borrows so much from the traditions of Western religion that any educated person must school himself in those traditions to have a full cultural understanding. All citizens need a background in the main form of religious thought prevalent in their country- but they should not be forced to choke down the dogma that goes along with it. It would have been certain social death for her to loudly betray her Humanistic Unitarian upbringing by announcing that she questioned the tenets of the town religion– even if it was because she just didn’t understand them.
Since small town America had nothing to offer except various flavors of Christianity, we chose the lite beer version of it. So despite our being a family of Godless Heathens bound for the fiery furnace in an air-conditioned handbasket, I felt less than hypocritical about sending my non-Christian kids to Sunday School at a Methodist church.
It was just after Ash Wednesday when our 2nd grader started asking me about some of the “weird ideas” she was being “exposed to” at church. I think something must have been mentioned about the Resurrection- and the “true meaning” of Easter. She wondered if “those church people” were really serious in thinking that Jesus came back to life. She wondered if he really had died in the first place, but as the medical knowledge back then was “probably pretty crappy” maybe he was merely “put in his tomb only lightly killed- and then woke up later.”
I explained that the way it is written, it could be taken to mean that he indeed came back to life and went ahead to the next town, or that his body was moved before Magdalene got there. Since people claim to have seen him up and about after his supposed death on the cross, it is assumed by Christians that he really died, then came back to life in a miracle. He can’t exactly sacrifice himself for everyone’s sins without dying, can he? That is what they are celebrating.
I tried to clarify that the Easter Miracle wasn’t quite the same as reanimated dead tissue, as is a zombie. (Actually, I was laughing too hard to make a good point.) She had already been heavily questioning all the teachings so far- and found little logic or sense in the verses she was memorizing. Frequently she complained about clumsy syntax or excessive verbiage in the verses- though she didn’t put it that way. She mentioned that many stories were “crazy and make no sense”- and I had the suspicion she looked at the whole thing with the same skeptical eye through which she viewed other mythologies. In the spirit of humor and freethinking, she was allowed to decide for herself how to feel about the holiday and its meaning to her.
After contemplating this for a long while, she remarks on the Bible verse, “On the third day he rose from the dead. So they’re saying that Easter isn’t about springtime and baby chicks and cute little bunnies and flowers- it is really about the zombie Jesus back from the dead and walking around? Gross.” (She was expressly forbidden from sharing her “zombie hypothesis” at church.)
As disturbing as that sounded, what is really horrific is the account of the days leading up to that moment: a graphic depiction of the gruesome torture and execution of a nice Jewish boy. His wretched suffering is now immortalized on crucifixes and black velvet paintings, not to mention reenacted for numerous Passion Plays. How such a barbaric symbol of torment and agony ever become a fashion accessory for the self-righteous is something perhaps a Christian will have to explain to her. I don’t get it.
What I do understand is zombies. Unlike sparkly vampires that are really just actors in a bad teen romance, zombies represent the essence of the non-thinking consumer. Everybody knows that zombies are basically risen corpses walking the earth. Depending on the source, they possess a mindless insatiable hunger. (Please note we are not discussing voodoo zombies here, as they are actually still alive, in a trance like state of subservience, not unlike Dittoheads.)
But it did get me thinking. What do zombies do once risen? Usually destroy (and eat) brains, and create more zombies. And given the state of Christianity today, it could be argued that there are many mindless types waiting to obey any commands given them by their (equally mindless) leaders, all on the supposed authority of the Bible. People “infected” by hate ignore the teachings of the Jesus I know and love, the peaceful advocate of the poor. Entire movements, better off dead, have been resurrected as well. The country does need to be saved- from the insanity and hate spouted by the idiocracy of the Right.
Just like in December, every Spring us secular types have to listen to the fundies rant about the “reason for the season” as they strive to throw a wet blanket over the (naughty! pagan! sinful!) vernal reawakening. For some reason, this religious holiday is still called “Easter”, after the pre-Christian goddess of the dawn. Let’s call a spade a spade. In keeping with the true “reason for the season”- I recommend renaming the holiday especially for the wingnuts, with a focus on what is really important to them: Zombieaster.
Spring is a time for rebirth after dormancy, so it does make some sense to have a zombie representing it. It is a time to watch the life cycle renew. The holiday coincides with the first full moon after the vernal equinox- rebirth, moon cycles, fertility, fecundity, .BUNNIES. Not this holiday! This is Zombieaster, a celebration of the dead coming to life… and eating. If you can’t legally eat human brains, like a true zombie, you can at least eat the other white meat- HAM! It isn’t about cute little chicks and bunnies at all. Or chocolate. It isn’t about hunting for fertility symbols in the new spring grass. That is the old Easter, fit only for the seculars.
Zombieaster is all about acting like you don’t have a brain of your own, or two thoughts to rub together. It is about being a mindless follower who is incapable of thinking for himself. It is about forcing other people to be just like you. After all, Jesus’ death on the cross gives you a free pass to do anything you want at all, as you have only to apologize on your deathbed for all your iniquities, your greed and hypocrisy to be forgiven. It is about celebrating the ability to be granted the keys to Heaven, no matter how much of a brainless jackass you were to your fellow man while you were alive.
We are all about the baby chicks and chocolate.