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Paul Little is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Paul Little: Bury Easter once and for all

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It's time to let Easter go. Photo / Babiche Martens
It's time to let Easter go. Photo / Babiche Martens

Like our other major religious festival, Easter conspicuously fails to reflect the values and virtues of the man it purports to honour.

It's not easy to celebrate the Prince of Peace in a world teetering on the edge of terror.

So let's remember what we claim to be commemorating at Easter. A religious teacher with a small group of enthusiastic followers was convicted for dubious reasons and executed in the cruellest way imaginable. Then suddenly he wasn't dead any more.

We say so glibly that "Christ died and rose from the dead" that it's hard to get the distance needed to look at this statement objectively and see it for what it is: not just absurd, but creepy.

There is a whole genre of cheap-thrills cinema devoted to the idea of people dying and coming back to life. It's not dignified.

Then there are rabbits laying chocolate eggs, which doesn't really bear thinking about.

Certainly Easter provides an opportunity for reflection and debate. But where once the issues under consideration might have been the nature of the Trinity or the importance and meaning of the resurrection now we argue about whether shops and cafes should open on Good Friday and if so whether there will be a surcharge.

There is one venerable religious debate about Easter that persists today - the question of when it should be held. Easter is held in New Zealand on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Northern Hemisphere's equinox.

The idea of a fixed date for Easter has been the topic of heated arguments within the Anglican Church in UK. It then spilled to the pages of the Spectator where a correspondent pointed out that: "Parliament has already provided by the Easter Act 1928 that Easter Sunday is to be the Sunday following the second Saturday in April, which would always result in Easter Sunday being between 9 and 15 April."

As a debate, it's entertaining, but hardly necessary.

Easter also requires many of us to take an enforced holiday when we've just started getting back into the habit of working after summer. Those are two days off that could be better enjoyed at other times of the year.

For some seasonal workers, such as Destiny Church managing director Brian Tamaki, this, along with Christmas, is their busy season and the time when they make most of their money.

That possibly inspired his repellent tweet last week: "Jesus spoke to a tree/fish/wind/water nd [sic] other things ... i spoke to a $100 bill early in my life nd said 'you nd all your whanau come to me'."

Which made clear the difference between him and the founder of Christianity, as if that hasn't been obvious for some time.

It's time to let Easter go. Its spiritual significance is non-existent and its recreational function an annoyance. *

The revelation that the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority has spent $120,000 to send four people to Harvard to study leadership, finance and leading change raises interesting questions, such as: How could those who went on the courses justify this? Why is Cera employing people who aren't already proficient in these areas? Why haven't the people responsible for this decision been sacked?

* Disclaimer: Of course, I have given my grandchildren Easter eggs. I'm not a total shit.

- Herald on Sunday

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