On Wednesday March 11, 2009, CFI Northeast Ohio’s regular monthly meeting hosted Dr. Rick Rickards, licensed humanist minister, long time contributor to the causes of humanism and freethought, and one of the treasures of our local community.
In “Thoughts about Easter”, Dr. Rick, as he is known, gave us the Christian definition of Easter: “it celebrates that Christ was crucified, died for our sins, and was ressurected from death”. The ‘sins’, of course, are a legacy of Adam and Eve eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, aka ‘original sin’. (N.B.: To those charges, I enter a plea of Not Guilty.)
What Easter is Not:
o The word ‘Easter’ is not mentioned in the New Testament.
o Not mentioned in the early church, and was formalized in 325 CE.
o Entirely Christian: it is yet another Spring equinox celebration, with traditions in other religions.
Dr. Rick covered the etymology of the word, and that it is related to ‘pagan’ practices.
N.B.: this is confirmed in http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/qt/whatiseaster.htm:
“Because of Easter’s pagan origins, and also because of the commercialization of Easter, many Christian churches have begun to refer to it as Resurrection Day.”
As with Christmas, the four Gospels have different and often contridictory descriptions about the events which now comprise Easter. Dr Rick traversed through the various stories, observing how rediculous they often appear to a thinking person. He also raised into question the historical validity of the Jews turning over one of their own to civil authority.
He gave us many reading recommendations, spoke – as a veterinarian – with authority on euthanasia, and concluded with answers to questions.
Maturity, sincerity, and serenity define his presentation style, and it was an evening of entertainment and enlightenment for all of the capacity crowd in attendance.