My Annual Criticism of an Easter Day Sermon
(Counter Sermon #2)
by: Evan D
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Every year around Easter time I take a few hours out of my busy life of accounting and craft yet another counter-sermon to the sermon that I hear on Easter Morning. Pastors are given a pulpit every week, but how often do we question the things that they are actually saying? It is my hope that these counter sermons will help you to recognize the sloppy thinking that is orientating at the pulpit.
I have been an Apathetic Agnostic Freethinker for about 1.46 years which makes this counter-sermon #2. Here are this year’s observations and criticisms to my former pastor’s silly Easter Day assertions.
Assertion 1: This is not “Pie in the Sky Religion.”
My former pastor will often open his sermon with a prayer asking for divine guidance while he is preaching. This year, he tacked on a piece thanking God that we do not have “Pie in the Sky Religion”. I found this amusing since the entire sermon that followed was geared toward offering me a fresh start to life. Perhaps he should have appended “I have not only Pie in the Sky Religion but also Mirth here on Earth Religion”, which I feel would have been the correct diagnosis of his religious condition.
Assertion 2: “I can promise you that there is a God, and He is in the business of transformations.”
This is obviously a very strong epistemological stance for a person to take and of course it is substantiated on only a Bible verse. Isaiah 43:19 is quickly read and taken out of context to prove the point. “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
It is more likely that the author of Isaiah was talking about making way for goat herding in the desert than about transforming the life of an individual by believing that Jesus died for the sins of humanity. There are other verses in the Bible which might support such claims, yet it is sloppy thinking to believe that the Bible is true its own merits.
Assertion 3: “We have good reason to believe that Jesus is alive today.”
The following evidences are given to support this assertion:
- The Christian church is here today despite early persecution.
- Christianity is different from other religions because Christianity is not based on the teachings of Jesus but on the resurrection.
- Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell arguments
Starting with the first evidence, the Christian church is here today because it had great power yesterday and not because Jesus is still alive. The history of persecution in the Christian church consists of about 200 people being martyred by the Romans during the first couple centuries due to the Roman’s fears of political revolt. I know of no other time in the entirety of history that Christianity has been illegal simultaneously, everywhere in the world. It follows then, that Christianity will continue to gather new members as long as it keeps meeting the needs of the followers and is not substantially hindered by other authorities. Jesus’ resurrection is not part of the continuity equation.
As for the second evidence, it is actually true that Christianity differs from many other current day religions. What is not usually mentioned, however, is that there were many religions similar to early Christianity that were persecuted out of existence during the Dark Ages. My former pastor should read up on Mithras, Dionysius and Osiris, whom all died and resurrected in a similar manner that Christ allegedly did. Due to the wrongdoings of the Christian church, followers of many of these pagan religions were either killed or assimilated into Christianity by force.
Some of the same old arguments of the Lee Strobel and the Josh McDowell sort were also advanced quite unconvincingly. These arguments crumble to pieces when you point out to Christian apologists that they are assuming that Jesus actually existed. It is not well known among the general population that there is no historical evidence for Christ outside the Bible. Furthermore, the so called historical evidence in the Bible contracts itself out of merit. With only four contradictory gospel texts, a collection of Gnostic works which the church considers heretical and a few fraudulent Josephus clippings, they are left without a leg to stand on. Christians, please tell me why your God hero wasn’t considered important enough to merit an extra-biblical biography. Also tell me why the facts in your eyewitness accounts contradict each other.
When you walk into a church next time, be skeptical because the truth they are serving is littered with unsubstantiated assertions. All you agnostics please join me for a post-Easter liturgy:
HE IS DEAD!!
HE IS DEAD INDEED!!
- Also see Meditation 348