I’ve given up on trying to reconcile the incongruity of eating ham on a day marked for commemorating or celebrating the resurrection of a Jewish man from the dead. Like all other Christian holidays, Easter has assimilated so many ancient observances and rites into its collective and perverted them that it’s nearly impossible to separate them. In a religion in which many believe Jesus walked among dinosaurs, perhaps among his many miracles was the ability to make pork kosher.
While not a believer, I do find Christianity quite interesting. I am fascinated by its numerous incongruities and contradictions, its irrational adherence to belief while virtually ignoring the teachings, and its followers ability to cherry-pick whatever passages that seem to support their irrationality while ignoring scripture that counters their views.
Last night I toggled between The Big Bang Theory and The Bible on The History Channel. TBBT was all episodes I’d seen countless times before but The History Channels presentation held my interest due to the editorial license taken with the scriptures and that Jesus and the Disciples all had British accents. Many of the events depicted were taken out of context, not in the order in which they occurred, or were not in the Gospels at all.
I think the Mel Gibson film is the only Jesus epic to portray Jesus as a Middle Eastern Jew. Every other film adaptation of the story, as well as most of the Christian world, portrays Jesus as a European male with long, flowing hair and a neatly trimmed beard. When we give our deities name and form, we personalize them according to our own cultures. Perhaps in parts of India, Jesus is portrayed as blue man with six arms.
I haven’t seen the Gibson film and it’s not likely I will but I’m familiar with its premise and its purpose. Personally, I think Mel Gibson’s focus on Christ’s suffering misses the point. A great many Christians also miss the point by highlighting his arrest, crucifixion, and the resurrection to the almost total exclusion of his teachings. The belief that Jesus suffered and died for our sins then was resurrected is paramount and guarantees the Kingdom of God. Because Jesus suffered, we must also suffer because he did it for us and we owe him big time. Suffering leads to salvation.
That was not what Jesus was saying at all. His teachings were radical, for his time and ours. He taught that the Kingdom of God was to be found within, in the present moment. It was not something to be found externally at some unknown point in the future nor was it dependent upon his returning in physical form to personally do battle with the forces of evil. All that crap in Revelations was the creation of a crazy cave dweller with an over-active imagination. It was only included in the Bible to scare the shit out of everyone.
Jesus borrowed some great spiritual ideas from Buddhist and Vedic teachings and applied them to Judaism. As the Church became organized and began to coalesce its power, many of his most important teachings were conveniently watered down, obscured, or banished because those teachings would have threatened the power of the Church. Jesus taught the salvation was an internal process and he felt that the priests and the Church hierarchy were unnecessary.