April 1, 2007

April Fools Day: The Real Christian Holiday

April Fools Barnstar
April Fools Barnstar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Christmas is generally celebrated by Christians as their most important holiday; however, it seems that Easter is more central to their doctrine. After all, everyone who ever lived was born, but only Jesus is claimed to have been resurrected (technically, that is not true but we certainly hear far more about Jesus today than any of the others). I'd like to suggest that there may be an even more important day for Christians, one which is unfortunately not recognized as such by most believers. That day is today - April 1st, appropriately referred to as April Fools Day.

Both Christmas and Easter have their roots in replacing pre-existing pagan holidays with Christian celebrations as a way of stamping out paganism. In the United States, modern Christians celebrate Christmas as being the birthday of Jesus and as an excuse to wallow in the excesses of materialism. Easter seems to receive far less attention. While it is supposed to be about the resurrection - and thus divinity - of Jesus, it now seems to be more about bunnies, eggs, and chocolate. Still, it retains an important meaning for some of the more devout Christians.

What does April Fools Day have to do with Christianity? Everything. This pseudo-holiday, recognized but not celebrated, is about gullibility. As gullibility is a vital friend to religion, it seems that Christians should recognize this as an important holiday. April Fools is about playing pranks, about telling lies, and about trying to convince someone that something is true when you know it isn't. The parallels with Christianity are striking.

Christians, today is the day you should be celebrating the whole of your religion. I don't think you'd have to worry about any War on April Fools Day. To the contrary, I expect atheists would join you in celebration and be all too happy to remind you of the true meaning of the day.

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