March 25, 2016

Good Friday: A Celebration of Torture

Stations of the Cross - Good Friday
Today is Good Friday, a day that some Christians (and many state governments in the U.S.) embrace as a holiday. Mississippi is one of those states, and that means I have the day off work. All this really means is that I'll be working from home today rather than having to go into the office, but you certainly won't catch me complaining about that. I don't particularly care why I don't have to go to work; I'm just happy to have the opportunity not to do so whenever it presents itself.

Historically, Good Friday was supposed to commemorate the death of Jesus. Evidently, some people used to be quite serious in thinking that there was a historical Jesus. Imagine that! I've always found it interesting that Good Friday, as celebrated by early Roman Catholics, was designed to be a somber occasion suitable to commemorate a death and a show of grief. As I've mentioned before, there is little evidence of that in much of the U.S. today.

Relatively few Christians in the U.S. appear to be in mourning during Good Friday. It is far more typical for Good Friday to be a travel day that is anything but somber. Some Christians have also reinterpreted the day to make it into a celebration of Jesus dying for their sins. I suppose the idea is that the resurrection couldn't have happened without there first being a death. They simply try not to think about the question of why the Jesus character described in their book had to die in the first place.

To this atheist, the attempts to make Good Friday into a celebration look an awful lot like these Christians are celebrating a stomach-turning form of torture and brutality. Their god could have accomplished its goals in many different ways; it chose to inflict one of the worst atrocities imaginable (well, next to manspreading) on someone it allegedly loved. I don't see how this sort of callousness is worth celebrating, even if one can somehow convince oneself that it led to a positive outcome. I suppose there is at least some consolation in the notion that at least these U.S. Christians are not going anywhere near as far in their religious devotion as their neighbors in the Philippines.

I think atheists are the ones with the right idea about Good Friday and Easter. Turn the whole thing into Zombie Jesus Weekend and have some fun with it. Not only does this give us a perfect excuse to reflect on the metaphor of Zombie Jesus devouring the brains of the faithful, but it is a blast. Here's hoping you have a fun Zombie Jesus Weekend.
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