The Inescapable Weirdness of Easter

Here comes another Easter weekend. So what?

Chocolate eggs, downy ducklings, and fluffy bunnies—nice enough, but hardly the haul we get at Christmas…or even our birthdays.


As for the religious part, why the big deal about a belief that Jesus Christ died and then became alive again? Lots of weird, “X-file” things happen in the world. Isn’t this just one more?

Here’s the thing. The world’s most popular religion, the world’s largest social movement, the world’s most believed Theory of Everything depends on one question, Did Jesus of Nazareth rise from the dead?

As a historian and teacher of world religions, I’m impressed by the stark jeopardy of this question. Christianity in its historic, traditional form depends entirely on believing the highly unlikely assertion that the Supreme Being raised Jesus from the dead three days after his death.

And this question matters a lot, whether or not you’re a Christian.

Why? Because it’s the single most important issue in human history, besides which the invention of fire or the wheel, or the development of modern medicine, or the discovery of extra-terrestrial civilizations all pale by comparison.

For if we can know whether Jesus rose from the dead, then the claims of the Christian religion are very likely true. God became this particular human being, taught and showed us the very meaning of our existence, and provided us the way to enjoy…eternal life.

If we could know that Jesus rose from the dead, then that would be the single greatest fact there is.

Secondly, however