Salon.com has Christianity’s number: most churches don’t like to talk about what there’s little to talk about. They’ll talk about talking snakes and the occasional talking ass, but about four words from the Apostle’s creed, not so much. Whole books have been written about the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, which are barely mentioned in the New Testament, but about the prominent place Jesus’s descent into Hell enjoys in the Bible, you’re lucky if you can scrape up the occasional leaflet bundled into a penny saver.
Enigma? That’s for the Eastern Orthodox. Paradox? What would Lutherans know about paradox? Five minutes of Luther and you’re positively positivistic. As for fundamentalists and heretics, give ’em six-day creation, speaking in tongues, tea-totaling, and Sabellianism, but theological weirdness is just not respectable in the rarefied circles they circulate in.
Let’s be honest: we’ve been running from the harrowing of Hell since Tertullian ran off to form an ABBA cover band.
I thought I’d spare Salon’s editors from having to commission an Easter essay for at least the next ten years. Just read the following and you’re good.
1. Jesus was Jewish on his mother’s side.
2. Jerusalem was in Judea. Now it’s in the Middle East, which is why the Palestinians are so mad.
3. God did not sit for the painting in the Sistine Chapel.
4. There is no evidence that Mary literally called it Good Friday.
5. Jesus was not born on Christmas Day 0 AD but on Christmas Day 4 BCE.
6. John the Baptist was not Southern Baptist.
7. Pontius Pilate did not have a pilot’s license.
8. Herod did not subsidize crisis-pregnancy centers.
9. The four Gospels were written by four different people, none of whom had last names.
10. Paul did not want women to become bishops because he thought their heads were too small to carry those big hats.