Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday is fun day - and a 'conversational intervention' for the coming Holiday

Good Friday is the day which commemorates the death of Jesus on the cross, leading to the resurrection.  The technical term for that period is the Paschal Triduum, something you can trot out at the water cooler (if you feel like showing off). The Paschal Triduum was not always celebrated the way we do now; it used to be different by half a day, but that changed in 1955 under Pope Pius XII.

 The official Easter season does not end on Sunday, but goes through Pentecost, 50 days later.  The Sunday a week after Easter is called Ember Sunday, except in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, and appears to be another one of those pagan holidays co-opted by Christianity.

So we all pretty much know that Easter celebrates Jesus rising from the dead, and that before that, Jesus was attributed with the act of raising Lazarus from the dead.   But in Christianity, that used to be pretty common; some 400 saints, according to their specific history or hagiography, became saints in part because they supposedly also raised the dead.  The gospels command believers to raise the dead ( Matthew 10:8 “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give.” ) and St. Paul is credited in the book of Acts with raising Eutychus in Acts 20:12.   Eutychus was a man who dozed off because Paul's preaching was boring, and Eutychus fell asleep, and then fell out of a window where he was sitting.

So, for those who like to be able to trot out religious trivia - you have the Triduum, Ember Sunday, and Eutychus / dead raising. But if you still feel the need for a little 'conversational intervention' topic to tuck into your mental pockets in case things get tense, there are still fringe Christian groups that do so -- or claim to do so - today. 

YUP, in the U.S. we have crazy fundamentalists, or as some of us refer to them more colloquially, 'fundies' who are part of a world-wide movement that believes they can raise the dead -- and they run around trying to raise 21st century corpses.

As the Freethinker noted, in the U.S., in Washington state, there is a group called the Dead Raising Team; they claim to have raised 11 people from the dead, but of course, they can't produce any of them.  In the U.K., the BBC did a news piece on the global evangelical movement; there is a documentary about them called "the Deadraisers", and of course, youtube videos.

They actually complain about a lack of available corpses to practice on.  Although some of these fundies reject modern medical care in favor of exclusive reliance on prayer, which does seem to provide them with dead people on a regular basis.

Personally, I see this as nothing more than more groups of religious charlatans, giving religion a bad name, and embracing superstition rather than spirituality. But what the heck, it might just be the thing you need to change the subject if your crazy conservative uncle starts ranting about Obamacare, nazis, or domestic terrorists like Cliven Bundy and the dangerous militia groups out in Nevada.

If dead raising doesn't change-up the mood, there is always creating vaginas in the laboratory to fall back on.  If you get one of those transplanted in, is a woman a virgin again?

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