Paganism and the celebration of "Easter" are related - neither has anything to do with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is historically accurate.
There are several religions that celebrated the rebirth of a specific deity which is similar to the idea of resurrection but not related. This is historically accurate.
It is correct that the word "Easter" is not found in the books of the bible - the resurrection of Jesus is.
That does not in any way mean that the celebration of the resurrection of Christ has anything to do with a pagan religion. The fact is words change their meaning over time. What a word meant when it was created may have little to do with what it means now. (think about the word "gay" as a modern example)
The word Easter is likely derived from "Eastre" an Anglo-Saxon word and/or a reference to a span of time on the Germanic calendar "Eostur-monath" describing a month of days. Historians point out that a the worship of neo-goddess Eostre in Anglo-Saxon paganism as having died out long before the writing of any know history - in other words it is prehistoric. The word is derived from a long lineage of change beginning from Christians using Semitic languages, Roman, Greek and Spanish until we got the word which describes an event like rebirth.
Let's just say we renamed Easter "Rebirth" - that would be a good description for the event right? So to the word "Easter" is descriptive of rebirth. Get the idea. Rising from the dead is related to the word Easter so it was adopted to describe the resurrection of Christ and has nothing to do with pagan rituals. Easter like rebirth, rising from the dead, and resurrection all represent similar ideas and when the holy day was named the most common word describing it was Easter - that is how it works - we use the best word available to us at the time of invention.
Were we as a culture to take out every word from our language that has pagan origins we would lose all the days of the week, the names of the stars, and a wealth of history and mythology. For better or worse words are pervasive and their means change over time. If you eat hamburger are you actually eating ham? If you pick a bunch of things was it actually six? Words change over time.
Some might believe that by denouncing Easter and Christmas they do some service to God or man -by this effort on their part to make the names Easter and Christmas pagan they bring judgment on those celebrating what the days represent. Yes it is true Jesus never said "celebrate my birthday and resurrection" - and Yes it is equally true Jesus never said anyone was dammed if they did so. You just cant have it both ways. Those who celebrate do well and those who do not do well - it just does not matter because Jesus was silent about it. Remember Jesus never said invent jet aircraft, invent antibiotics or learn how deep the ocean is but he also did not say don't do those things.
Christians during the reformation sought to take back certain pagan holidays by celebrating those special events in a Christ like way. In my opinion where well meaning modern zealots go wrong is in trying to condemn their brothers and sisters in Christ for loving the resurrection and the beauty of the saviors birth. I say just don't celebrate the days and keep silent because of what Jesus did say.
Jesus did say "Don't judge, so that you won't be judged. For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but don't consider the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you tell your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye;' and behold, the beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye.
"Don't give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." Matthew 7:1-6
I know from experience that those well meaning strong voices denouncing all things in harsh ways will continue this quest in their zeal, but I hope those gentle souls wanting good information will read past it, recognize the controversy as being healthy and worthy of discussion and the value of those with strong voices - the human experience is richer for their voices and those voices should be heard - then you get to make your own choice.
URL: http://www.jesuscentral.com/ji/life-of-jesus-ancient/bi ....ography-of-jesus-christ/who-is-Jesus-by-matthew/gospel- ....of-matthew-7_1-6.php
By: Victor Emmanuel
Category: The Meaning of Easter