Sunday, April 20, 2014

Annual Accusations of Easter Pagan Origins

Every year it's the same thing - we get bombarded with Facebook memes or other snippets that provide us with supposedly well-researched claims that Easter is actually a pre-Christian holiday. Although some are due to Leftists or atheists, most of these have their origins in the old anti-Catholic works such as Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons, Ralph Woodrow's Babylon Mystery Religion. Both of these are (in the first case- deliberately) poorly researched and paint the picture of anything that is specifically Catholic having its origins in the old middle eastern religions. Woodrow relied heavily on Hislop's book, and years later he admitted in a thoroughly manly manner that he was too trusting and did not but should have made the effort to check on Hislop's credibility.

We normally get two claims -both of which claim to be the truth but contradict each other:

- that Easter comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess Ēostre

-that Easter comes from the Babylonian Ishtar

I won't go into details as it would take too long and there are many good sources on these subjects that are readily accessible. I have read many sources through the years, and I hold that the best explanation for the English Easter and German Ostern  is that it was a reference to the season of Spring that in time was applied to the day that Christians use to mark Christ's resurrection -accidental, but not a problem. Suffice to say that Christianity did in fact incorporate or otherwise use some pre-Christian practices, such as weddings rings, the actual dating of Christmas, green branches in homes, etc. None of these things, however, take anything away from the means for which they are used by Christians for symbolic or practical purposes. We are not Muslims, so we do not and should not excise anything from our pre-Christian past that does no harm to our beliefs. If that sad attitude had existed before the 19th century, we would not have works such as Beowulf that were only preserved by the labor of monks.

In trying to change the name of Easter to - for example, Resurrection Day (but curiously keeping the Catholic dating of that day)  radical Evangelicals and Fundamentalists willfully ignore the most basic facts.

In most nations that have been Christian for the longest time, Easter is called Passover:

"....Greek “Pascha” (Pâques in French, Pasqua in Italian, Páscoa in Portuguese, Pascua in Spanish), which comes from the Hebrew “Pesah”, meaning ‘Passover’....." Basque Ondo izan Bazko garaian
Breton Pask Seder
Danish God påske
Faroese Gleðilig páskir
Finnish Hyvää Pääsiäistä / Iloista pääsiäistä"

"Càisg From Old Irish Cásc, from ecclesiastical Latin pascha, from Ancient Greek πάσχα (paskha), from Aramaic פסחא (pasḥa)"

In short, if anyone wants to petition for changing the name of Easter in English or German, he should try for Passover rather than bullying people into saying Resurrection Day. 

-From the The Blaze link at top:
"Did Christians steal Easter and Jesus’ resurrection from pagan traditions and co-opt them as their own? This is the claim that is sometimes made by secularists in an attempt to dismiss Christianity as a myth.

But Dr. Candida Moss, a historian and a professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame, believes these accusations generally lack merit.

“Among the rash of sensationalist stories we can expect through the season, the annual ‘Easter was stolen from the pagans’ refrain has sprouted again just in time for Holy Week,” Moss wrote in a recent op-ed for CNN. “Don’t believe the hype.”

In the same article, Moss went on to explain that one of the biggest pieces of misinformation that is often spread on the Internet is that Easter stems from a celebration of an ancient Near Eastern fertility goddess named Ishtar — an allegation she flatly denied.

“This idea is grounded in the shared concept of new life and similar-sounding words Easter/Ishtar. There’s no linguistic connection, however,” she wrote. “Ishtar is Akkadian and Easter is likely to be Anglo-Saxon.”......"

-previous posts : 

Evangelicals Erase Term "Easter"

The term Resurrection Day, which Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians (Those who do not prohibit the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ altogether) has been pushed with a proud determination for some time now. Having a horror of any name or practice that has its roots in pre-Christian traditions*, they do their utmost to excise any an all remnants from not only their world, but those of others.


Easter is a sort of accidental name for the celebration of Christ's resurrection. In Romance languages, the respective word for Passover is used. Most linguists assert that the name came from the Germanic goddess Eostre, but some claim that it derives from the word "East", signifying a focus in the direction of Jerusalem.

Regardless of the actual choice of name for this day, the dating** and its actual day (Sunday), like all Christian holidays, are the work of the Catholic Church. Most Eastern Christians utilize the older Julian calendars. Evangelicals and Fundamentalists will I guess grudgingly accept the Catholic dating of Easter, the Church's decision on what books are in the New Testament, the doctrines of the Trinity (Excepting "Oneness" Churches) and Jesus' divinity and humanity, but a name for a holiday that has come down through the ages just will not do.

**The dating is certainly a bit confusing, but the Church eventually came to the conclusion that the resurrection should be marked on a Sunday.

While Catholics, Orthodox, and Mainline Protestants largely or entirely gave up on refusing to recognize each other as Christians and deriding their differing beliefs and practices, Evangelicals and Fundamentalists (EF's) are, in the words of Al Pacino's character in Scent of a Woman" ".....just gettin' warmed up!'" Having learned little about the latter two from their Pastors, E/F's take the fight to Catholics on a regular basis. Armed with a quite distorted picture of what the Catholic Church actually teaches and seemingly always on the alert for a chance to break in with a diatribe, EF's almost never pass up an opportunity to take a poke at their Catholic friends, family members, and coworkers. Interestingly, former Catholics tend to comprise a disproportional amount of EF's who walk around with apparently purposely distorted understandings of Catholic teachings (Former Catholics tend to stick with the rule of "never confuse me with the facts").

EF's have for about twenty years been promoting the change to switch the name Resurrection Day for Easter. It is almost embarrassing to see and hear them going out of their way to wish non-EF's a Happy Resurrection Day when Happy Easter clearly says the same thing, utilizes the universally recognized English word for the day, hurts no one, and allows no room for an absolutely unnecessary debate when we are in the middle of a holiday that should bring us together. Being fully aware that non-E/F Christians utilize the term Easter, their use of Resurrection Day smacks of an aggressive and bullying tactic. What is worse, EF's employ the new term in a manner that is clearly designed to suggest that it is they who are using the proper term and that all others are in the wrong.

Evangelicals and Fundamentalist Christians, despite the quite recent (In the course of Christian history) and significant changes to Christian doctrine and thought  that they have adopted, have nevertheless made tremendous efforts to present themselves not as a new Christian group, but as the Christian group. All others are dismissed as pseudo-Christian or less than that. For some Fundamentalist bodies, the work of railing against and printing literature assailing the Catholic Church comes perilously lose to matching the work of preaching itself.

As with Muslims, who adhere to a religion that is presented not as a new revelation given to Mohammed but as the religion from the beginning of time, Evangelical and Fundamentalists  continually struggle with the nagging reality that early Christianity had, in beliefs and practice,  immeasurably more in common with Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and much of Mainline Christianity than with E/F Christianity.

As Muslims labor to paint Noah, Abraham, Solomon, and Jesus as Muslims in heart, practice, and mind, so too do E/F Christians work to portray Jesus, the Apostles, and early Christians as classical-era Christians that taught and worshiped as, say, American Baptists. We are told or expected to believe that these early Christians had professions of faith that consisted of "accepting Jesus Christ and my personal Lord and Savior", altar calls, "witnessing" in which a laundry list of one's pre-Christian life is almost bragged about in public, "dedicating" as opposed to baptizing infants and  young children, believing in a forgiveness of sins "past, present and future" which locks a believer into salvation from the moment he accepts Jesus, and even the roughly two-hundred year-old belief in the pre-millennial and pre-tribulational Rapture. E/F Christians would have us believe that the early Christians would be as horrified as they are at the thought of Sacraments in any form, a belief in the intercession of the Saints, an apostolic succession, the use of images for any purpose, and most of all the sacrificial nature of the Christian liturgy.

All these things were kind of OK for E/F Christians to claim  when they and their communities could remain isolated from historical works that would refute their claims. Once this arrangement began to fall apart, however, E/F Christians were faced with a dilemma; what to do with our inability to demonstrate the existence of E/F Christianity in the early Church?

Aside from a few E/F writers that had no scruples about falsifying history outright (St. Patrick was a Baptist by Rev. John Summerfield Wimbish, and The Noble Army of Heretics by Bill Jackson, most E/F Christians have dropped the whole idea of wishing their beliefs and practices into the past and concentrated instead on usurping Christianity in the here and now.

The  E/F assault on Christianity had been relentless. Although, as I have fairly noted previously, E/F Christians defend much of Christianity such as the the doctrines of the Trinity and Christ, the family, and speak out against the threats of Leftism and Islam, their strategic switch to co-opting all of Christianity has led to a war of words in which E/F Christians work tirelessly to force their chosen definitions onto all who profess Christianity.

Christians who take part in celebrations such as Halloween that contain even the slightest residual element of pre-Christian practices are condemned and routinely mocked by E/F Christians. Please can we admit for once that maybe just a few old pagans did some nice things?

E/F Christians expend substantial efforts to pretend that practices such as abstemption from meat during Lent are something other than they are. A Catholic sits quietly at this lunch at work, an E/F fixes his gaze on the papist's meal, and the game of deception begins. "What are you eating?" - "Tuna sandwich". "Why Tuna?" - "It's Lent." "You know, that won't save you". The E/F obviously knows fully well that the Catholic nor his Church never believed that a good act or omission earns salvation***, and that the 'binding as loosing" authority of the Church includes designating religious practices but he still steers the conversation (while the guy is just trying to eat) into a picture that both eater and accusers know don't exist. The Catholic never gets a chance to explain as the E/F is too busy describing a scenario that he knows is not true.

***Salvation by works and without faith has been condemned by the Church throughout her history, especially at the Council of Trent, which was the body that dealt with the age of the Reformation.

Allowing a little imagination in the mind of a child is essentially verboten to E/F Christians. Refusing to allow that Santa Claus has anything to do with the Christian Bishop Nicholas of Myra, they deny their children a chance to have that spark of wonderful anticipation and imagination. Gone too are completely innocent stories about dragons and other mythical creatures; these all being seen as opening doors to the occultic world.

As I have noted in previous posts, EF's place no value on cultural aspects of Western societies that predate Christianity. This is unfortunate as there is in Western Civilization a wealth of literature and history that would be edifying for anyone regardless of religious preference. Even Christian monks were astute enough, for example, to record most of the saga of Beowulf with little Christian-friendly editing. No sense of the history of one's nation or people is a threat to one's faith if that faith is sincere. Steeped in the Bible, EF's grow up, in one way, just as the Left wants them, fully ignorant of their cultural past. This is dangerous in many ways. Possessing no basic understanding of the culture that bred his society, the Evangelical is vulnerable when confronted with the propaganda of the Left whenever a crisis of faith or moment of doubt arises.

Christians, Jews and others who hold our cultural inheritance dear have far too many real threats to be engaged on word-play with each other. Evangelicals and Fundamentalists need to be made aware of this. A deliberately placed "Happy Resurrection Day" should be tactfully answered with "Happy Easter to you too." A gentle reminder that the English word for the day of the Lord's resurrection is Easter would not hurt either.

Fundamentalists to be Mortified By 1,300 Year-Old Anglo-Saxon Girl's Grave

The grave of a 16 year-old Anglo-Saxon girl, most likely from an aristocratic/noble family, was recently found in Cambridgeshire. The time of her death was a fascinating time in history, as although the people were becoming Christians, many practices and traditions from the old Germanic religion were still is use. As I have noted in previous posts, such actions are anathema to the vast majority of Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians. Allowing for any practice from a people's pre-Christian days will cause them to recoil in horror. Theirs is a mindset that to some extent mirrors that of Muslims, who not only refuse to acknowledge anything good about a pre-Islamic past, but will do all they can to suppress anyone else's appreciation for it, and make every effort to erase symbols, monuments, and harmless practices that go back before the days of their religion. That is why Evangelicals and Fundamentalists often express such an aversion to things such as Halloween, the sight of mistletoe, or kid's stories about dragons. Although I would never claim that a Evangelical/Fundamentalist-run society would even approach the level of oppression of an Islamic one, the result of a removal of pre-Christian imagery, legends, and traditions, would be much the same. Even examples of true virtue and bravery of pre-Christian Europeans are not only  ignored but rejected outright for any consideration at all by them.

When a kid from that world then gets told in a Leftist-run school that he (European descent in US) has no culture and that Muslims and others do, he is likely to believe his teachers.

To get back to the subject of the girl, the state to which the English/British state has fallen caused the thought noted below to cross my mind:

I feel terrible in saying this, but she must have been recently rolling over in that grave at the current state of the very nation that her people were building at the time.


  1. You say that the claims of Easter being Eostre and Ishtar contradict each other, but they do not. They are both known as the goddess of fertility meaning they are one in the same. The slight changes of the tale of goddess Eastre over thousands of years has not changed who she is and what she still represents. Wicca and modern pagans still worship her in the same way as the Christians who invoke the name of the goddess and idolize rabbits and eggs in honor of the goddess Eastre.

    1. Unfortunately, they not only contradict each other, but the contradiction is quite strong. There is zero linguistic evidence of any Babylonian names or loan-words making there way to the ancient Germanic peoples. One must also take note of geography - by the time we would know of Germans using Eostre, they are still solely in the more northern regions of Europe; centuries before the initial Volkerwanderung that would bring them as far south as Bavaria and Austria. I would encourage anyone who has relied on these sloppy versions of history to demand accounts that can pass the test of historical scrutiny. Easter is the celebration of the Resurrection, and clinging to claims that state otherwise does no justice to either the Catholic or the Evangelical side.