Friday, April 11, 2014

Is Easter Based on a Pagan Holiday?

Is Easter Based on a Pagan Holiday?
posted on Bible Gateway, on the commentary of Mel Lawrenz
reposted on Endview for educational purposes.

Is the word “Easter” derived from the name of a pagan goddess? Is it appropriate to use that term to refer to the Resurrection day of Jesus Christ—and is the entire Lent season and Easter holiday tainted by association with ancient pagan religion?
We’re asked these questions each year during Lent. We’ve asked Mel Lawrenz, minister-at-large of Elmbrook Church and creative director of The Brook Network, to talk about this issue. His answer is below.
Question: Why do most Christians use the word “Easter” in reference to the Resurrection day of Jesus, when that word comes from a pagan goddess?
First, there never has been a direct association of the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus with the pagan deity. The celebration of the day of resurrection fell on the month of Eastre (West Saxon) or Eostre (Northumbrian). So it was a time of year that was the association, the name of a month. Now that month’s name was probably (not certainly) derived from a goddess of spring. But this association is remote and that is why if you use the word “Easter” in normal speech today, people make no association with ancient pagan religion. Hundreds of millions of Christians use “Easter,” and have done so for centuries, with the meaning of “the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.”
Second, there are many words we use that have long-passed connections in pagan culture or religion, but their meaning has been changed. When we talk about going to church on “Sunday” we don’t have much heartburn about the fact that this day in the Roman calendar was for the worship of the sun. The examples are everywhere. And when we pass into January we mark a new beginning with little concern that the word “January” comes from the Roman god Janus, the god of doorways. Many of the words we use have some peculiar etymology. What matters is what the words mean to us today in normal spoken language.

One last point. Christians have often intentionally placed their symbols and labels on top of pagan symbols and labels because they believe this represents the conquest of the Lordship of Christ. When Christians began celebrating the birth of Jesus at the time of the pagan festival of Saturnalia near the winter solstice they were intentionally saying: the Son of God trumps the sun god.— Mel Lawrenz
All respect and brotherly love to Mr. Lawrenz, I disagree with his conclusions about passing over the pagan names so smoothly.  Indeed, nearly everything in our culture is named after, or for pagan gods or rituals.  Take Valentine.  Nowhere in the Bible are we considered to celebrate the romantic, lusty form of love, Eros, (i.e. lust) which so many in the church today celebrate, nor is there an a cute little naked angel named Cupid.  But Cupid was a god of the pagan beliefs, and being celebrated by pagans or Christians is still worship!
And as most "holidays" (holy days?) in the American Western Culture, our so-called holy-days are loved and celebrated by the world!  Do non-Jews celebrate Jewish holidays?  Do non-Muslims celebrate the Muslim holidays?  If you said no to both of those questions, good, you're paying attention!
The reason for this is that the Western "Chrisitan" celebration have been distorted and pulled from their origianl foundings.  The celebration of the Resurrection of the Saviour of humanity indeed should be celebrated, and remembered by Christians with Thanksgiving, but call it after the name of Ishtar/Astarte/Easter, who was the wife of Nimrod, Semiramus?  Especially when the sun god Ra/Horus/Apollo/Gilgamesh/Nimrod is one of the main contenders for returning as the antithesis of the Messiah of Judeo-Christian belief?
Earlier this year, we gave worship to the gods of Mt. Olympus, as the world paid attention, time, money and honor to the latest manifestation of the Olympian gods. Is it any wonder all these things are so?  The Bible tells us that the god of this world is none other than the diabolical one himself, once known as 'Light-bearer,' Lucifer, a.k.a. Satan (2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 1 Jn. 4:3, 5:19).  If the world is in his sway, his direction... and we are heading toward his kingdom (Dan. 7:19-21) ... should we not come out from them and be separate, says the LORD???
2 Corinthians 6:15-18  15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?  16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.  17 "Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.  18 "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty. 
Romans 12:1-2  1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 

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