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Here’s an old Easter one, from 5 years ago.



Discussion (67)¬

  1. Pete le Oz says:

    An oldie but a classic.

  2. NSPike says:

    Nailed it!

    While being raised Catholic this one always confused me too. For several reasons, none of which were ever adequately explained.

    1) Chocolate eggs? Why? “Because Jesus rolled the stone away from his cave all on his lonesome, so the eggs symbolise the stone…” doesn’t sound too likely for me but that’s what I was told.
    2) At what point did Jesus take on all our sins so that killing him would remove them? Apparently that isn’t quite the point, “God killed Jesus to show just how much he loves us”. I just hope he never loves me that much. And still it makes no sense.

    Good ol’ folklore, that mix of influences, myths and exaggerations sure do make for one confusing story!

  3. Pete says:

    Ah Easter, the most confusing* but most important event in the xtian calendar.
    Dripping with pagan references, the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.

    *YMMV

  4. matthias says:

    @NSPike: As far as I know, eggs and rabbits have been symbols of fertility (obvious, isn’t it?) for a long time in many cultures and as such have been very common at traditional spring festivals. Christianity isn’t much more than very ancient festivals with little less ancient stories…
    Actually, I’ve never heard of this explanation egg=stone, but it’s also mentioned in wikipedia, so I think this is just the least stupid explanation that does not refer to pagan traditions.

  5. machigai says:

    “Nailed it.”
    har

  6. John B. Hodges says:

    Hate to be serious here… one of my peeves with Christianity is that it does not remotely resemble what Jesus taught. When I settled on atheism, I studied philosophers writings on ethics for a number of years, until I arrived at an understanding that satisfied me. I then read a Christian’s comment that the teachings of Jesus were the Absolute Truth about ethics, so I decided to find out what he had said… I went through the four gospels collecting everything he was reported to have said about what his followers should DO. I found that there was an underlying logic to his teachings. He taught that the world was soon to end, Judgment Day was imminent, and almost everyone would be consigned to a fiery Hell for eternal punishment; very few would be saved by being admitted to Heaven. He told his followers to take drastic action to rack up as much credit as they could in the limited time remaining. Sell everything you own and distribute the money to the poor, follow the entire Law of Moses down to the last iota, practice strict nonviolent pacifism, abstain from all sin even in your thoughts, even to the point of self-castration to avoid thoughts of lust, which were spiritually equivalent to adultery. And after you had done all that was commanded of you, say “We are unworthy servants”, and hope for Yahveh to be Gracious. For chapter and verse on all this, see
    http://www.atheistnexus.org/profiles/blogs/the-ethics-of-jesus

    Somehow Christians have decided that they can ignore everything Jesus taught in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and instead put their faith in the gospel of John, who says you will be saved by believing and taking Communion, and who never mentions Hell. All the ethical teachings reported by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and all talk of Apocalypse or Judgment Day, are simply absent in John. I’ve heard that most scholars agree John was the last gospel written, sometime after 100 AD, in other words, after Jesus’ generation had passed away. The apocalypse had not come, so the church leaders took the gospels they had and did an Apocalypsectomy.

  7. W. Corvi says:

    I have often wondered why an all-powerful god needed to go through all the rigamarole to reopen the gates of heaven (actually, they had never BEEN open before, come to think of it) after A&E had sinned. I wondered how an all-knowing god could have put the apple tree in their garden and then tell them to stay away from it – couldn’t he see what was going to happen? The whole story made perfect sense when I was eight, but by 15, it was clearly nonsense. This never seems to occur to some of the simple-minded among us. The story makes zero logical sense, if you think about it for even a minute.

  8. theGreatFuzzy says:

    Easter eggs are laid by that pigeon, the Holy Ghost, or maybe it’s hatched from one. Not sure which.

  9. justducky says:

    where’s the bacon? there should be bacon.

  10. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Ah, Easter. Inspiring zombie stories for 2000 years.
    Or, of course, the celebration of God sacrificing himself to himself to forgive mankind the sins they wouldn’t have had had He not given them the damned things in the first place.

  11. two cents' worth says:

    John B. Hodges, thanks for the term Apocalypsectomy!

    I hope everyone enjoys the coming weekend, whether they celebrate Easter or not. I’ll be eating the traditional Polish Easter breakfast with my dad, but it’s all about the food, not the symbolism :-) . In my family, the breakfast basket was always separate from the candy basket. Surprisingly, it never occurred to me to ask what the chocolate bunny and eggs stand for, but then, I never need a reason to eat chocolate.

    For more Easter fun, see http://www.latintimes.com/10-funny-easter-quotes-bring-you-merriment-easter-season-165740

  12. “Which bit?” another rapier sharp punch line. And which bit indeed, given that none of it makes a lick of sense unless you have a mind saturated since childhood with rote nonsense and gibberish. Another one that made me laugh out loud, Author. You just keep doing it.

    John B. Hodges, thanks for the summation of the gospels. I’ll take your word for it. I haven’t taken the time myself to come to such an understanding and I appreciate it when others take the time for me.

  13. Litchik says:

    Ok, eggs laid by bunny because goddess of spring turned bird whose wing was frozen to a bush ( goddess was late arriving) into a bunny so it could escape. ( why not just fix it? Ah, ye of little faith. ). Each year as an homage bird bunny left a gift of its beautiful eggs under the bush for the goddess. Makes perfect sense. Or as much sense as the other vernal equinox stories.

  14. cbnz says:

    People who live in the Southern hemisphere are stupiderrr! than those in the Northern Hemisphere. At least you celebrate ancient fertility rites (Easter) in the SPRING.
    Down here in New Zealand we do it in the AUTUMN !!
    Best Easter card arrived from Hell Pizza: Pretty picture of Easter Bunny dancing in the spring flowers, and inside :- An invitation to get your yummy
    “Rabbit Pizza.”
    We will be eating bunny rabbits and chocolate eggs this Easter.

  15. Chiefy says:

    I think we should all celebrate the Rex’s Erection. Surely you remember Rex Humbard? http://abandonedplaces.livejournal.com/2498550.html

  16. Jim from Australia says:

    I very much doubt if the alleged New Testament Jesus ever existed. However I do like the Easter bunny to call and leave a chocolate easter egg. I’m almost 80 but I’m not senile either.

  17. Alexis says:

    And if he sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.

  18. djdummy says:

    Do not Temt the something,something err! Egg yes egg.

  19. Reid Malenfant says:

    After a great many years of grumbling and whinging about the Bible as so many of us are apt to do, I finally got around to reading the entire thing from cover to cover and I still haven’t quite got over what I read!

    Outside of an intensively archaeological bent the content left me utterly stunned; I simply cannot understand the thought process required to take the contents of this book even remotely seriously, let alone literally! It is so obviously and unambiguously a product of its time I struggle to comprehend how anyone can seriously regard it otherwise.

    Fun as it was, if this was the greatest story ever told I dread to imagine the worst one – though the Book of Mormon must be in the running.

    If only there was a Director’s Cut ……

  20. djdummy says:

    I may have lost a P. Sorry.

  21. Lusankya says:

    The egg part of Easter supposedly comes from a woman (supposedly Mary Magdalene) who tried to tell people that Jesus had come back from the dead and one guy told her that was as true the egg he was about to eat was red. Magically, the aforementioned egg turned red. I suppose the chocolate part came way later as a sort of prize for doing your Lent. Not to say that the whole thing isn’t a bit silly of course, but hey, chocolate is chocolate!

  22. John B. Hodges says:

    Eggs and rabbits are symbols of fertility, derived from the pre-Christian tradition in parts of Europe that celebrated the goddess Oestre. When Christianity became the official religion of Rome they first tried to suppress the pagan holidays, but the people refused to give them up. So the Church switched tactics, and made up Christian replacements, such as Christmas for the midwinter, replacing Solstice, Saturnalia, and Yule, and Easter for the Spring Equinox and the celebration of Oestre. The people often persisted in celebrating in the old ways, so many pagan elements became incorporated into the Christian holidays. Jesus never told his followers to celebrate either his birth or his death. The tradition of eggs at Easter is not of Christian origin.

  23. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    two cents’ worth, what does a traditional Polish Easter breakfast consist of? I’m always up for trying something new.

  24. Jim Baerg says:

    How many ‘holy texts’ are as badly misinterpreted as this?
    http://partiallyclips.com/2014/04/15/monk-reading/

  25. Jim Baerg says:

    How many ‘holy texts’ are as badly misinterpreted as this?
    http://partiallyclips.com/2014/04/15/monk-reading/

  26. Hobbes says:

    Thanks for the very good hoot!

  27. two cents' worth says:

    AoS, the traditional Polish Easter breakfast basket includes dyed or decorated eggs (typically, they’re hardboiled hen’s eggs, and there is at least one per person); horseradish; salt & pepper; butter (preferably molded in the shape of a lamb); sweet rye bread; placek (PLOT-sack, a yeast-based, streusel-topped coffee cake, made with golden raisins for Easter); ham; and cooked kie?basa (keel-BAH-sah or kyew-BAH-sah). The food is prepared on Holy Saturday, and served cold on Easter morning, with the usual breakfast beverages (such as hot coffee, tea, milk, and juice).

    You can find recipes for placek online. I follow the recipe used by Babcia (BOB-chah, Grandmother), my Dad’s mom. I make it only for Easter, and my Dad is the vital quality control expert–he knows when the dough has the right amount of flour in it, and he reminds me that the more I beat the dough, the better the placek will be.

    My Dad is also my kie?basa connection–he brings it from Buffalo, NY (where he lives) to my house in Pennsylvania. After some initial taste tests, we have become loyal to kie?basa from Redlinski Meats in Cheektowaga, NY–Dad gets their Holiday Special fresh Polish sausage with extra marjoram & garlic. (Redlinski’s products are available in stores in the Buffalo area, but Redlinski Meats is also affiliated with a group of Buffalo shops that accept orders online–a service I might use when the day comes that my Dad can no longer make the trip to see me.)

    In places with a large number of inhabitants of Polish ancestry, the supermarkets carry butter molded in the shape of a lamb at Eastertime. The lamb has black peppercorns for eyes, and often comes with a small red plastic banner on a small red plastic pole. When I was growing up and my family lived in cities where butter lambs were not available, my Mom or one of us kids would sculpt a stick of butter into a lamb, and add the peppercorns for the eyes. Our butter sculptures often looked more like sphinxes than lambs, though ;-) !

    I was taught that the egg stands for the tomb; the horseradish, for Christ’s passion; the lamb, for Christ (the lamb of God); and the yeast breads for the resurrection (risen dough). Sweet rye is used instead of sour rye in celebration of the holiday. I buy my sweet rye bread, but my Mom (a devout Catholic) bakes her own, with a cross on the top of the loaf–the symbolism is obvious. The golden raisins symbolize Christ (the light of the world). The meats, which are pork-based, are supposed to be a reminder that Christ is the Messiah for the Gentiles as well as the Jews. (Why the basket includes both ham and kie?basa was never explained to me.) The salt is a reminder of the call to be the “salt of the earth.” (I guess the pepper just goes along for the ride.) Wikipedia has a different take on the symbolism (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9Awi%C4%99conka ).

    As I mentioned above, for my Dad and me, the Polish Easter breakfast is all about the food, not the symbolism. He was raised as a Catholic, but has long described himself as an agnostic with atheistic leanings.

    Bon Appétit! Or, as Polish speakers would say, Smacznego! (That’s pronounced smotch-NEH-go–the a sounds like ah or like an English short o [as in cot].)

  28. two cents' worth says:

    Looks like the crossed l was transliterated as a question mark when I submitted the comment above. I should have used a regular l, so the word would appear as kielbasa.

  29. hotrats says:

    tcw:
    the egg stands for the tomb; the horseradish, for Christ’s passion

    Well now you put it like that, of course the connections are self-evident.

  30. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Thanks for that, two cent’s worth, sounds delicious so I may be making a trip in the morning to the Polish store in the nearby town. I’m quite partial to several of the sausages and hams they sell and stock up every chance I get.
    If I can get hold of a couple of the lamb-shaped moulds they’d also double-up excellently for my lambs-liver pate (not that my head is made of offal, there should be an acute accent over that e), as long as they’re big enough.

    hotrats, do I detect a subtle undertone of sarcasm? :-)

  31. two cents' worth says:

    hotrats, now that you mention it, maybe the horseradish root stands for Christ’s passion, and the ground horseradish that’s in the breakfast basket stands for his suffering. It’s been a long time since I was in parochial school, and I’ve forgotten many details ;-) . I do know that ground horseradish makes me suffer, so it’s included in my basket only because my Dad likes to eat it with his eggs and kielbasa.

  32. two cents' worth says:

    AoS, if you get fresh kielbasa, I suggest boiling it for an hour. (I put the kielbasa in a Dutch oven with plenty of water, bring it to rolling boil, turn down the heat, set the timer, and let the pot simmer for an hour.) Once the kielbasa is boiled, you can serve it cold for breakfast, or, if you prefer, you can warm it and brown it (by broiling or sautéing it).

    My Dad always brings an extra package of kielbasa that I freeze for later use. (He coils the kielbasa so it will fit in my Dutch oven. That way, I don’t have to thaw it before I put it in the pot to boil it.) If you freeze some kielbasa, I recommend eating it within 2 to 3 months. YMMV, but if you leave it in the freezer too long, the herbs and spices won’t taste right when you finally get around to eating the kielbasa.

    Leftover cooked kielbasa is great if it’s warmed & browned, and served (instead of bacon) with eggs, hash browned potatoes, or both.

    Here’s hoping the acute accent sticks around in sautéing after I submit this comment. The 5-minute editing window hasn’t been available today (or, at least, it hasn’t been available to me).

  33. white squirrel says:

    just to add an element of confusion

    why would the day Jesus supposedly died move with the phases of the moon

    the easter rabbits are March hares

    ‘Bunny’ originally meant ‘squirrel’

    the egg is the symbol of isis [ Aset]

    Easter is probably the festival of the goddess Isis [ aset ]
    as Bede relates in H.Eccleisastica

  34. white+squirrel says:

    ps

    in many cultures lagomorphs are symbolic of the vagina

  35. white+squirrel says:

    if this was the greatest story ever told I dread to imagine the worst one

    the worst one – the flood myth perhaps?
    although other chunks of the bible/veda/quran might qaulify
    unless of course there were previous ‘creations’ that a vindictive ‘god’ totally destroyed leaving no trace or record

  36. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    white+squirrel says:

    April 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    if this was the greatest story ever told I dread to imagine the worst one

    Any story turned into a film starring Hugh F. Grant. I’d take the Bible over that any day!

  37. Kassandra says:

    Oh well…at least we get to watch “MOSES” for the 1000th time and see what a REAL Patriarch looks like!

    Never could figure out what HE had to do with Easter either.

    PS: I think Charlton Heston began to get a GOD complex there towards the end.
    “From my cold, dead hands” boomed he

  38. Jerryw says:

    On behalf of many west coast atheists I’d like to thank our catholic buddies who chose to be observant and not go to work today, thereby freeing up our freeways this morning. So what they call good Friday actually became a great Friday for me, my normal 1 hour plus drive from the San Fernando Valley into Los Angeles took me about 15 minutes.

  39. hotrats says:

    AoS:

    hotrats, do I detect a subtle undertone of sarcasm?
    I was aiming for overt withering contempt – I understand that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.

    Hugh F. Grant? If you mean the star of ’4 Weddings’ and ‘Love Actually’, his middle names, as revealed in taking the oath at the Levenson Enquiry, are John Mungo.
    - or did you mean as in, “Oh no, not another Hugh Fucking Grant movie.”?

  40. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    hotrats, definitely the latter concerning Grant. I think I may have mentioned before that he shares that middle moniker with Jeremy Kyle, Phil Collins, Jesus Christ, and Jennifer Aniston.

    Regarding the rabbit/Easter connection; could it have anything to do with the rabbit being re-classified as a fish by one of the earlier popes, in order to allow Catholics without access to the piscine species to get their protein on holy days?

  41. Chiefy says:

    I thought Jesus’s middle name was Hussein. Whatever.

    AoS, there’s something fishy about that story. Or harey.

  42. krokus says:

    Now we can reveal where all those chocolate eggs are from. Fluffy bunny Geezus chills them in a cave before serving unmelted here and there at crack of dawn!

  43. David Byrne says:

    I find this exactly what it is..a joke…very funny…..If I had wanted a bible lesson in all the comments …I will read the bible (Never)

  44. Ignatius Loyola says:

    The faithful will swallow it whole, so long as logical reasoning is never allowed to be brought to bear on it.

  45. Walter says:

    @Chiefy Not Hussein, Hoploid, he had only one parent.

  46. machigai says:

    I heard about the rabbits-as-fish thing in connection with Buddhists not Catholics.

  47. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    machigai, I was almost rigt about the rabbit/fish connection. To quote Saint Carl, from his book Cosmos: ‘The rabbit was not domesticated until early medieval times (it was bred by French monks in the belief that new-born bunnies were fish and therefore exempt from the prohibitions against eating meat on certain days in the Church calendar).’

  48. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    Hah! I suddenly cannot spell right, and the edit function has gone and done a runner.

  49. efahl says:

    @Chiefy As children, we were always taught it was Focking. A typical mutterance by parents, “JESUS FOCKING CHRIST, WHAT ARE YOU UP TO NOW?” and so on.

  50. machigai says:

    Birds have hollow bones, rabbits have hollow bones.
    therefore

    rabbits fly only at night?

  51. white+squirrel says:

    Birds have hollow bones, rabbits have hollow bones.
    therefore

    rabbits fly only at night?

    only in the qurano-bible

  52. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    I think you’ve started a new game, machigai.
    Rabbits have large teeth, The Osmonds have large teeth. Therefore, rabbits are Mormons.

  53. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    A question; has ‘truth’ been re-defined without my noticing? I only ask because I heard a bloke on the T.V. today describe the resurrection as ‘the Universal truth’.

    Still no Nassar, I see. Author, is it too early to ask you to drop him an e-mail?

  54. hotrats says:

    AoS:
    Still no Nassar, I see. Author, is it too early to ask you to drop him an e-mail?

    Good luck with that – he hasn’t replied to anything in years.

  55. omg says:

    Oops, wrong link. Here is the one I wanted to post:
    http://imgur.com/r/atheist/xjgEvvr

  56. Author says:

    @AoS et al – Nassar is not well. He hopes to be back in action in a couple of months.

  57. Good wishes to Nassar for a speedy recovery – we miss his unique style.

    Chiefy – The “H” in Jesus H Christ stands for “Harold”, as in “Harold be thy name, thy kingdom come… etc”

  58. machigai says:

    Get well soon Nassar!

  59. Chiefy says:

    We’ll save your seat, Nassar.

    I foresee several new Baptist sects arising based on different views of Jesus’s second name. Why not? We already have churches split over what to call themselves. They could settle it if they would just come here and ask Jesus.

  60. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Thank you, Author, much appreciated.

    Get well soon, Nassar.

    Chiefy, I love the idea of a fresh wave of schisms based on his middle name. Fans of religion and fancy footwork could have theirs based on Jake Blue’s Jesus Tap Dancing Christ.

    Happy St. George’s Day to all.

  61. Mary2 says:

    It’s just not the same without each thread beginning with a Nassar Original. I think the other poets amongst you should fill in until he returns.

  62. botanist says:

    Poet Nassar, it’s Easter, recover!
    Full health we wish you, and soon.
    Your failure to rhyme,
    or scan either
    Enliven our weekly cartoon.

  63. Mary2 says:

    botanist, Perfect! Nassar would be proud.

  64. Happy Oestrogen, one and all!

    I heard the equivalence theory between eggs and circular tombstones explained by reference to kids rolling hard-boiled eggs down hills (just like they’d roll tombstones, apparently).

    And rabbits were horny long before “rabbitus” turned icthian, I suspect.

    One of the reasons I’m no longer an annoyingly evangelical fundamentalist christianist is that on a bible basher based retreat I read the bits in the bible between the 0.025% that I knew as the bible. My horror was so great, I switched from the 1411 KJV to a number of more modern versions, but they all showed the same damn things, just using different words! Hence my attempt to learn koine Greek.

  65. I’m buying botanist’s next round. Well put, and heartfelt in every phrase.

    Get your health together, Nassar. I’d sacrifice a virgin for you, but I don’t know any! (Well, my mum is one, but that’s another story altogether…).

  66. Paul+May says:

    The ‘Jesus died for our sins’ with the thief Barabbas being let free is /exactly/ the scapegoat ritual. Jesus is ‘the perfect sacrifice’, Barabbas is the goat set free into the wilderness bearing all the sins.

    To support this, one of Barabbas’ known names is ‘Jesus Barabbas’–and Barabbas is Aramaic for ‘son of the father’–one of Jesus’ titles.

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