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Friday, April 14, 2017

Easter escape



I wasn’t always driven to escape Easter. In fact for most of my life I positively, even passionately embraced and thoroughly enjoyed Easter as a way of escaping the everyday as much as most of my fellow Australians still do.
For example, my very hard-working daughter still does, and so enthusiastically that she’s gone on a jaunt with friends to a bush camp that’s five hours’ drive from Sydney at the best of times, but who knows how much longer in the bumper-to-bumper Easter traffic.
And my wife also evidently welcomes Easter as a well-earned break, as, despite the exhausting effort of working at two jobs as well as a PhD thesis, she’s somehow summoned-up the energy to accompany her mother on a flying four-day flying visit to Tasmania.
But I can no longer share their delight at the prospect of an extended weekend, Easter or otherwise, as ever since I’ve been deemed too old for regular paid employment, my life has felt pretty much like a weekend without end.
So it feels like fun, or at least a nice change every Friday, and especially yesterday, Good Friday, the eagerly-awaited first day of the long Easter weekend for most of my fellows, to be sitting on my weak end writing this column.
Since I wrote that previous paragraph, however, I have to confess that I’ve weakened a little and abandoned my total Good Friday escape into solitude for the comparative sociality of my favourite Newtown café, Buzzbar.
Which is clearly not buzzing as much as usual, presumably because so many of its customers have, like my family, joined the Easter exodus to elsewhere, or are off in the supermarkets stocking-up with such traditional Easter goodies as chocolate eggs and hot cross buns.
Dual historical significance
Two festive treats that symbolise the apparently dual historical significance of the Easter season. Easter eggs and the bunny that allegedly brings and hides them for children to find are believed by many scholars to be faint remaining traces, or, if you prefer, cultural fossils, of the cults surrounding an ancient European fertility goddess with various names like Ostara and Oestre, the latter recalled today in such terms as ‘oestrus’ and ‘oestrogen’ as well, of course, as Easter.
And of course hot cross buns more obviously symbolise the alleged events with which Christianity replaced these Astara/Oestre spring fertility and re-birth festivals, the death by crucifixion and subsequent resurrection of Jesus Christ.
An observation that brings me to the reason why, just as lack of work and dwindling reserves of energy have released me from any secular longings I formerly had to celebrate the long Easter weekend, erosion of faith in Christianity, or indeed any other religion, has relieved me of any former feelings of obligation to observe the ‘sacred’ rites of Easter.
Countless fellow Australians and billions of others around the world continue to mourn the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday, and celebrate his resurrection on Easter Sunday in advance of his ‘ascension’ to heaven soon after.
Though, with no offence to these people or their continued beliefs in various Christianities as long as they respect my right to eschew and escape from what I have come to perceive as nothing but Christinanities if not outright Christinsanities.
In short, for many reasons, from the murderous sectual and textual divisiveness promoted between the countless theologies and their competitors,to the ever-evident fact that none of the competing forms of alleged godliness have ever been demonstrably more successful in promoting human goodness than systems of secular ethics have, I’m delighted to have made my escape from any and every version or perversion Christianity, and every other superstition posing as a ‘religious faith’ into the bargain.
Back home now from Buzzbar, I’m trying to finish this column while half-watching the ABC24 news channel to catch up on what a typically dreadful so-called ‘Good’ Friday the people of the world have enjoyed courtesy of such countries as ‘Orthodox’ Christian Russia, Bashar al-Assad’s Christian-supported Alawite-ruled Syria, conflicted Communist-Capitalist China, Communist-Kimist North Korea, IS and sundry other competing if not outright warring Sunni and Shia Muslim states and the fundamentalist, born-again and otherwise confusedly Christian US.
What a shambles. What a total disgrace. What an object, abject lesson in the vicious falsehoods, savage divisiveness, and murderous power-tripping that as far as I’m concerned prevail not despite, but due to the deplorable fact that the vast majority of the human race still persists in permitting itself to be fooled and thus divided and ruled by ludicrous fantasies and falsehoods posing as ‘faiths’.
But hey, here’s wishing you as happy as possible an Easter escape anyway, or better still a happy escape from Easter and every other occasion that’s promoted in support of some group’s alleged God in preference to the general good.

DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist. Published books of his columns for Malaysiakini include ‘Mad about Malaysia', ‘Even Madder about Malaysia', ‘Missing Malaysia', ‘1Malaysia.con’ and ‘Malaysia Mania’.- Mkini

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