SERMON TOPIC: Empty promises
Speaker: Gavin Paynter
Date: 27 March 2016
Topic Groups: EASTER, RESURRECTION, SOUND DOCTRINE
Sermon synopsis: Facebook (which is of course the ultimate source for research) proclaims the following ‘truth’ about Easter:
Easter was originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols (like the egg and bunny) were and still are fertility and sex symbols (or did you actually think eggs and bunnies had anything to do with the resurrection?) After Constantine decided to Christianize the Empire, Easter was changed to represent Jesus. But at its roots, Easter (which is how you pronounce Ishtar) is all about celebrating fertility and sex.
The above post appeared on the Facebook feed of notorious atheist Richard Dawkins’ Foundation for Reason and Science. Similar claims are made on some Christian websites.
As a result some English Christians dislike using the term ‘Easter’ as the name is supposedly derived from pagan origins. They prefer to talk of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.
The argument largely rests on the supposed pagan associations of the English and German names for the celebration (‘Easter’ in English and ‘Ostern’ in German). But in most other European languages, the name for the celebration is derived from the Greek word ‘Pascha’, which comes from ‘pesach’, the Hebrew word for Passover. Easter is the Christian Passover festival, because the New Testament records that Jesus was crucified at the time of the Passover (John 19:14) and was called “our Passover Lamb” (1 Cor 5:7).