Consider this my two cents regarding the latest Internet phenomenon that says Easter is really based upon a Babylonian goddess named "Ishtar" - the goddess of fertility whose symbols are eggs and bunnies.
Since turning my life over to Christ in 1990, I've witnessed many bans and boycotts. From Disney, Halloween, to Santa Claus and Christmas and then Easter (the first campaign, not the most recent.) I use to jump on some of these “ban” wagons, I felt duped, I had long been ignorant of too many pagan/worldly agendas. But then I noticed that many Christians who led and participated in these campaigns felt more passionate about their causes than they did about the cause of Christ to save a lost and dying world. It seemed like a bit of a double standard. I backed away and came to terms in my own heart. Many Christian campaigns put a wall between me, and the people in the world that God loves.
That year I started deliberately giving candy to the kids who came to my porch on Halloween, I bought a Mickey Mouse watch, I helped my Mother build her Santa Claus collection and I celebrate Christmas (even though I know Jesus wasn't born on December 25th.) I try and put Christ in the center of everything in hopes that the world might see Christ in me. I left all the info-maniacs to fend for them selves. When Christ becomes the center he easily trumps all other pagan symbols and gods.
Easter falls near Passover ... Christ was crucified on Passover. This year, 2013, Passover began March 25th and Ends April 2nd. All throughout history we can trace Easter and find it occurs on or around Passover. Coincidently In the northern hemisphere Easter is celebrated in early spring. I like the fact that Easter falls in the spring because the whole earth is resurrecting from a wintery grave. Even the animals know it is time to reproduce. Spring is a time of new life and fruitfulness. The resurrection power of Christ made my life new and fruitful.
I used the Daily Beast as my source to do some research. I purposely chose a non-Christian source because I didn’t want to be subjected to the biases that unconsciously occur when articles are written. This is a segment from Megan Mcardle’s article.
Ishtar was associated with fertility and sex. However, her symbols were the lion, the gate and the eight-pointed star; I can't find any evidence of eggs or rabbits symbolically belonging to her. And Easter has nothing to do with her.
Most scholars believe that Easter gets its name from Eostre or Ostara, a Germanic pagan goddess. English and German are two of the very few languages that use some variation of the word Easter (or in German, Ostern)... Most other European languages use one form or another of the Latin name for Easter, Pascha, ... derived from the Hebrew Pesach, meaning Passover."
Which is it? A Babylonian pagan goddess or a Germanic one? And what about the word in other languages, the ones that don't use a derivation of 'Ishtar?' Does anyone get why this bugs me yet? The true gospel message is consistent in every culture and every language. It is consistent in every hemisphere whether it is springtime, or not. These other “ban” wagons are distractions from the true message.
The bottom line for me is that we must resist being sidetracked from the true focus of the Christian message. I am Christian because Jesus Christ the Passover lamb died for my sins and ransomed my life from the grave. There is no greater message in the world than the redeeming message of God’s Love. “He loved me (and the rest of the world) while we were still sinners." Pagans - Hedonist - Communist.
May the Spirit of Jesus Christ Rise up in his church!