11A110 Easter Fables by Jim Davies, 4/23/2011    

Yesterday was Good Friday, and tomorrow is Easter Sunday, and there is hardly any weekend more packed with amazing stories taken as fact by a vast number of people. There is one fable (Bastiat's "great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else") more prevalent yet, for it transcends those that are more commonly admitted to be "religions;" but as this is a frightfully holy season perhaps I might remark on how gullible some humans are.

Details differ, among the denominations of Christianity, but a fair summary of what all believe comes in the ancient Nicene Creed, formed in 325 across the Bosphorus from modern Istanbul when all its bishops convened at the command of Caesar Constantine to consider an offer they could ill refuse. They hammered out their differences and took the bait: once united under that manifesto, they were to be promoted from persecuted provincials to leaders of the Roman Empire's #1 religion and rewarded with buckets of government money to build churches and such, all across its face. It was a sweet deal for them, and not a bad one for Constantine, who badly needed a fable that would unite an increasingly fractious and fragile set of subjects. He may not have worried too much what that fable was, but did want it spelled out and made universal - hence the gathering of all the bishops. A few of them were expelled, so as to form the united front the ruler demanded.

The Creed begins "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible" from which we can clearly see it is indeed a statement of faith; there is not a shred of proof of its veracity and its implications are littered with fatal contradictions. This alleged "God" is said right there to have the characterisitics of a "father" and yet to be the "maker of all things." So, as a caring parent he allegedly created both the gazelle and the lion, along with the entire food chain that survives only when stronger members tear the weaker ones limb from limb and eat them for lunch. Some "father." Further, the statement is superfluous; the origins of the universe do of course remain a puzzle, but merely to posit an undefinable "maker" does nothing whatever to solve that puzzle; it rather introduces an extra level or question, about who or what created the creator. It merely pushes the mystery one stage further back. It sounds impressive, but sheds no light.

Later on, the Creed declares that the Godhead includes a son, "being of one substance with the Father", an idea beyond rational explanation so that plain folk suppose those who claim to understand it must indeed have very superior brains. Declared in all solemnity, it helps establish a priestly class of superior men, and that is a vital element in all religions. Where would the government religion be, without a Ben Bernanke or (better) an Alan Greenspan, to keep a straight face and deliver hour upon hour of solemn gobbledigook about mysteries of economic control, just as if they made sense?

It continues, to say that this Son "was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again." Wow! Did 35 words ever present a more staggering set of assertions? They are even more elegantly expressed in Latin, in only 27 - the better to impress unschooled masses, who could understand neither the concepts nor the language conveying them.

That's where you have it, this weekend: crucified (yes, as far as I know) and buried (no doubt) and resurrected (no way.) The whole fiction is woven to be so amazing that it "must" be true, for otherwise it would be ridiculous, and sincere and scholarly men do not embrace and teach ridiculous myths, do they? Do they?

Yet, ludicrous as religious fables are, I must admit that none is as brazen, long-lived, preposterous and oxymoronic as the Great Government Myth. Happy Easter, complete with mammalian bunny rabbits hatching from chocolate eggs.

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