The irony—it burns!

At first glance this column by pastor Mark Driscoll, pointed out by alert reader Amelie, seems like a joke, but it’s real!  From the Washington Post‘s “On Faith” section, it’s called “What we tell our kids about the Easter Bunny.”  Here’s the highlight:

So, I thought I’d take a moment to share how we do at the Driscoll house.

Just like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny is a hallmark of American culture. So, unless you live in a commune, you can’t pretend it doesn’t exist and that it’s not a significant part of our cultural observance of the holiday.

My wife, Grace, and I choose to tell our five kids that the Easter Bunny, while fun, isn’t a real, magical bunny that hops from house to house laying colored eggs, candies, and toys on Easter morning. That’s a make-believe story, and we have no objections to fun and imagination so long as the kids also know that the Resurrection of Jesus is a historical fact and not a fanciful myth. With the overt commercialization that comes along with the Easter Bunny, and consequently Easter, as parents we don’t want to lose sight of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

But wait! There’s more:

As with many things, we redeem the idea of the Easter Bunny. We tell our kids that the Easter Bunny is a make-believe character from a non-Christian holiday. We tell them that years ago in Germany children would build a nest for the “Easter hare” to lay her eggs in, and that it wasn’t until Germans immigrated to the United States that this tradition was widely accepted and practiced here. We stress that Easter is a time for us to remember the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but that the Easter Bunny is a make-believe character who has been adopted as the official Easter mascot.

I’ll use a theological argument here and say that these paragraphs are so improbably crazy that they must describe the real situation in the Driscoll home.

98 Comments

  1. S A GOULD
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Any holiday that promotes chocolate is a good thing, I would say…

    • Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Can you get chocolate Jesodes?

      And does the chocolate turn into the body of Christ if you’re a Roman Catholic?

      /@

      • Achrachno
        Posted April 5, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        Yuck! That’d be a compelling reason to leave the church, if the pedophiles were not enough.

      • Rayl
        Posted April 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        Needs chocolate snakes

  2. truthspeaker
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Magical bunny delivering candy: fanciful story, just for fun

    Magical human coming back to life after being crucified: totally happened, man!

  3. Posted April 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    That’s some industrial-grade ironing going on there, for sure. Does he have a permit?

    b&

    • daveau
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      License to quill?

      • Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        thwackthackthwackthwackthwack

        Have you met my rubber chicken?

        thwackthackthwackthwackthwack

        Ah, I see you have.

        thwackthackthwackthwackthwack

        What’s that?

        thwackthackthwackthwackthwack

        Sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of my rubber chicken thwacking you!

        thwackthackthwackthwackthwack

        I know, I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

        thwackthackthwackthwackthwack

        She gets like this at times. The vet says she’s allergic to puns.

        thwackthackthwackthwackthwack

        What the vet’s allergies have to do with my rubber chicken’s thwackitude is udderly beyond me.

        thwackthackthwackthwackthwack

        Hey! Stop that!

        thwackthackthwackthwackthwack

        b&

        • Justicar
          Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          I’m told that one shouldn’t beat one’s rubber chicken in polite society. Even Pee-wee Herman learned that thou shall not thwack it in public.

          Otherwise, +0!

        • daveau
          Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          Wait a minute! Let me put on my lederhosen first!

  4. daveau
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Nonsense! Easter is the Spring fertility festival where we commemorate when the Great Chocolate Easter Bunny had his ears bitten off for our sins. I always celebrate by throwing colored eggs at churches.

  5. Posted April 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    You have to wonder what the edtiors at Washington Post are doing if they’re not looking out for this type of “historical fact”.

    Finding out that your beloved Christian holiday is based on a fertile Germanic goddess…..ouch. ;)

  6. Justicar
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    AHAHA!

    Magical bunnies who do nice things for people are make-believe.

    Magical zombies who want you to come live with them in their magical empire in the sky, and do nice things for you for all eternity are entirely real.

    See the difference, kids?

    • Launcher
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      I believe the historical Jesus was a golem, not a zombie.

      • Posted April 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        Adam was a golem. Jeebus was straight-up zombie.

        And that’s a historical fact.

    • Gluon
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      The Easter Bunny is more credible since, for a time, the Easter Bunny actually left me tangible things that I could eat. I’ve never seen this empire in the sky, on the other hand.

    • eedwardgrey69
      Posted April 6, 2012 at 5:38 am | Permalink

      Uhm – guys? Vampire. Obviously. His followers don’t eat his brain, they drink his blood.
      (And eat a bit of his flesh, admittedly, but still…)

  7. Kevin Alexander
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    We don’t have to argue here, we can come up with a synthesis. How about if we have Jesus hop from house to house on the Saturday when he isn’t doing anything anyway, deliver the choconoms and still be ready to pop out of the rabbit hole on the Sunday.

    Sorted.

    Lately I’ve been thinking of some syncretic superstition aids. What if we combine the various powers. How about a Lucky Jesus foot for my keys so I don’t lose them again?

    If I word the ad just right, the adbot will put it up on the Christian sites.

    • steve oberski
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      I think you’ll do better with a Lucky Jesus foreskin, there seem to be a lot more of them out there than Jesus feet.

      • Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

        Besides which, a Jesus foot simply won’t hold water. Too holey….

        thwackthackthwackthwackthwack

        Hey!

        b&

        • Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          Yes, that’s clearly not the sole reason…

          /@

          • Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

            You’re right. I think it might also have something to do with the fact that it’s only the unluckiest of the Jesopodes that get their feet whacked off and turned into novelty keychains. Same goes for the lagomorphs, curiously enough…

            b&

            • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

              No “thwackthackthwackthwackthwack”? Too subtle?

              /@

              • daveau
                Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

                Ben is a master at understatement.

    • Naked Bunny with a Whip
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Here come Jesus Cottontail,
      Hopping down the savior trail.

      • S A GOULD
        Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Ok, but where’s the rest of the verse? Don’t stop!

        • Screechy Monkey
          Posted April 6, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

          …Hippity, hoppity,
          Armageddon’s on its way!

      • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        I think you have the name wrong – this wickle bunny wabbit had a social disease and his name was Peter Rottentail.

        • the Siliconopolitan
          Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Any relation to Ladle Rat Rotten Hut?

  8. Matthew Cobb
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    My kids were told by a nutty Christian teacher in their UK primary school that the reason we eat eggs at Easter is that the rock that was rolled in front of Christ’s tomb was egg-shaped. Honest!

    • Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      I heard that one too. sigh. Pretty funny how oblivious this pastor is to his own lies.

      • Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        Yep, the yolk’s on him, all right!

        /@

        • Matthew Cobb
          Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          He was a she…

          • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            The pastor? Mark?

            /@

            • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

              Take a walk on the wild side.

              Do. Do-do. Do-do. Do, do, do-do. Do-do. Do-do. Do do-do do!

              b&

              • daveau
                Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

                Where did you get that fine counter-cultural reference? I thought you lived in a cave…

              • Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

                Who said there’s no decent radio reception in a cave?

                b&

    • steve oberski
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      nutty Christian teacher

      You mean there is some other type ?

      • NoAstronomer
        Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        non-nutty christian teachers … you can’t prove they don’t exist.

  9. Naked Bunny with a Whip
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    There must be a grain of truth to the Easter Bunny. People couldn’t have just made up such an historically significant being.

    • Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      You of all people should know!

      So, what was he? Something like your fourth great-great grand uncle three times removed?

      b&

      • Naked Bunny with a Whip
        Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        My momma always told me stories about great great great grandma Esther Bunny. It wasn’t her eggs that were colored, but you know how the patriarchal white rabbits distort the truth in their favor.

        • Tim
          Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

          (In best Butthead voice): You must be, like, some kinda prophet. Huh-huh, huh-huh…,

        • Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

          “One egg makes you larger
          And one egg makes you small”

          /@

    • steve oberski
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Why did the people that lived with the Easter Bunny claim to have seen Him leaving chocolate eggs even when it cost them their lives????? If it was in fact a lie, why would they all die for it? that’s insane…

      (comment from the WP article with a bit of search and replace, strictly to make it more credible)

    • the Siliconopolitan
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      And by the criterion of embarrassment it must be true: Noöne seeking to be believed would make up so ridiculous a creature as a hare laying eggs – certum est, quia impossibile.

      Now for multiple attestations.

  10. Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I want to believe that the Driscoll Way of explaining the Easter Bunny will turn the kids into atheists, just as soon as they get old enough to reason. Like, maybe, tomorrow?

  11. MadScientist
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    It sounds like the Driscolls feed on nothing but fantasies.

  12. Chris
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Sadly, this is one of the least insane things that Pastor Mark has said. We are talking about a guy who claimed in the NYT that liberal Christians worshipped “Queer Jesus”. At least this is just kinda funny.

    • Kevin
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Well, that part’s true.

      Think about it. An observant first century Jew should have been married at age 13 and had a few dozen kids to help around the carpentry shop by the age of 33.

      But here’s Jesus, not only unmarried, but whose followers are almost exclusively other unmarried Jewish men (and a “beard” in Mary Magdalene). And there’s that phrase to Peter, “I will make you fishers of men.” Hmmm…

      I’ll bet he was buff, too. Rock hard abs and a steely blue gaze.

  13. Posted April 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Su – I would buy chocolate Jesus if Cadbury decided to switch myths. The demise of the mythical Easter Bunny was actually my first clue that “God” was probably not real either. Yay for the Easter Bunny of truth!

    • litchik
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      I remember finding out that Easter is set as the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. I tell xtians this and it doesn’t phase them at all. I mean, really? After the first full moon after the equinox? Sounds like pagans – or, oh no! witches!!!! to me.

      Which gives me the idea to celebrate by reading passages from Good and Evil.

      • Posted April 6, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

        Actually, as I like to remind people, he scheduling of Easter is just the last vestige of the Jewish lunar calendar left in Christianity.

    • Nick
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Probably too late for this year Beth, but here you go:

      http://chocolatefantasies.com/religious.htm

      I especially like the crucifix lollipop idea.

      • Tim
        Posted April 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

        Chocolate Jesus would be so much better than that crappy wafer: “Hey, look at me! I’m transubstantiatin’!”

    • Marella
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      You can get a chocolate Jesus, somewhere at least. There’s a book, “What do you do with a chocolate Jesus?: An irreverent history of Christianity” Apparently the author found one at some sort of revival meeting, he thought eating it was somehow inappropriate.

  14. Golkarian
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    So apparently the Germans were all pagans in the 18th century. I didn’t know that.

    • the Siliconopolitan
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Ever heard of Christmas Trees?

      Taking in an evergreen in rite to celebrate the reborn Sun? Germans did that.

    • Locate
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      German Christianity is infused with massive pagan influences – and I guess the same is true for other places of the world, probably to ease the adaption of christianity for the people it was largely forced upon. Many native gods where made saints. The Story of St. Martin, for example, is basically a redress of old Odinic myths, with Martin taking the place of Wotan/Woden/Odin.

      Other saints are revered for their sacrilegious behavior. St. Boniface, who cut down Thor’s oak near Geismar while under the protection of frankish troops (probably the moral equivalent of burning down a church) is a top tier saint in the more southern parts. The Frisians put an belated end to him. Thanks to them, he is considered to me a martyr nowadays.

      Central and northern european christianity is basically a collection of pagan rites with a Jesus sticker on it.

      • Locate
        Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

        *”to BE a martyr nowadays” – while it’s not the worst thing I did to the english language in that post, it’s probably among the more hilarious ones.

  15. neil
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Bunnies laying eggs. Sounds like creationist science to me. Driscoll should like it.

  16. Veroxitatis
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Just another fertility myth that the Xtians stole from the pagans.

  17. John K.
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait to hear about how they explain the “Christmas” tree, wreaths, and Santa Claus.

  18. Kevin Alexander
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Doesn’t PZ have a regular feature where people write ‘Why I am an Apasqualapinist?

  19. Felix
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Wait, r we talking about the bunny from Donny Darko? Cos that 1 still gives me the creeps,…

  20. Chris aka Happy Cat
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Driscoll can help me with Easter. Last year I crucified my bunny on Good Friday and made sure it was buried before sundown. I got up before sunrise on Easter. The bunny? Still dead and buried. Religion is horribly confusing.

    Resurrecshun, I’m doin it rong.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted April 6, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      You have to bury it in the special part of the pet cemetery.

  21. Jim Thomerson
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if he gives his kids chocolate crosses to eat while hearing his clarifying explanation.

  22. newenglandbob
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Might as well sever the childrens’ corpus callosum.

    • lamacher
      Posted April 6, 2012 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Indeed! That might explain the cognitive dissonance demonstrated so clearly by these people. A functional corpus callosumectomy!

  23. litchik
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Somehow he leaves out that the Easter bunny was a bird whose wing was trapped in ice b/c the spring goddess, Eostre, had returned late. She felt bad and freed the bird by turning her into a rabbit (or hare?) Thereafter the bird left eggs (apparently, as a rabbit it still laid eggs) every equinox as a thanks to the goddess. Probably didn’t want to get into, some gods are real and some are make believe…

    • litchik
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      apologies for the errant comma. Dyslexics posting always a dangerous endeavor.

  24. John McAuley
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    If you want to see how a religion could start, if you want to see the beginning of a new branch of apologetics then check out Mass Effect Three’s indoctrination theory.

    For example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue8z3UL4mmk

    Listen to what he is saying, examine the evidence. Weep for humanity.

    I am not really saying that this is the start of a religion but I bet that there are many similarities.

    They want to believe because they want to believe.

    They say things that are demonstrably false, but they really believe them.

    There are kudos for coming up with a new thing that doesn’t make sense in the game. (The assumption is that if something in the game doesn’t make sense then it has been deliberately been put there by the developers as a clue for the Indoctrination Theory).

    You can see the social aspect and the community aspects coming into play.

    Maybe this is something for someone who wants to study the psychology of religion and apologetics.

    • John McAuley
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Check out the comments to the video and see the participants trying to come up with new evidence or drop in old evidences just so they can be a part of the movement.

      Wishful thinking and confirmation bias has gone rampant.

  25. Derek
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    That is precious.

  26. Posted April 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    What is the real origin of the Easter Bunny? Who used to celebrate the Spring with rabbits as fertility symbols? Who with eggs? When and where did they get merged?

    I don’t trust this guy’s version, for obvious reasons.

    • Posted April 5, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      litchik at 3:03pm seems to have the answer.

      • Posted April 5, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        Well, I’m not able to find litchik’s version of the myth. But eggs and rabbits were both fertility symbols, and apparently Eoster sometimes took the form of a rabbit.

        • daveau
          Posted April 6, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

          Splitter!

  27. Pray Hard
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    The bunny is symbolic of fecundity, Spring, new life, etc., as is the Resurrection. Who is typically the most enamored with the bunny? Children. There you are. It’s no more complex than that. Have some chocolate.

    It’s not that terribly recent either. Note bunnies in lower left:

    https://www.kimbellart.org/Collections/Collections-Detail.aspx?prov=false&cons=false&cid=8502

  28. Pray Hard
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    The eggs and the bunny probably merged in that they are both symbols of fertility, not that they necessarily had anything to do directly with each other. You know, the world egg and all that.

  29. dunstar
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    lolz. I watch alot of Driscoll’s sermons online and he’s awesome! He equates the practice of yoga to devil worship! He also once gave a sermon where he claims to be able to have psychic abilities.

    Another awesome dude to listen to is Francis Chan. lolz.

  30. Posted April 5, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Then there’s Bill Hicks “I was over in Australia during Easter, which was really interesting. You know, they celebrate Easter the exact same way we do, commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus by telling our children that a giant bunny rabbit … left chocolate eggs in the night. Now … I wonder why we’re fucked up as a race. I’ve read the Bible. I can’t find the word “bunny” or “chocolate” anywhere in the fucking book.” And I’m still waiting for something to be said of dinosaurs.

    • Marella
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      Yes we do, and it’s even more confused because it’s autumn (fall) down here. So we celebrate the harvest with a pagan spring festival including magic bunnies and magic men who pretend to die. On top of that there is a movement to replace the bunny with the native bilby which is endangered and cute and somewhat bunny like, but not at all an appropriate fertility symbol. Soooo confused.

      • Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

        But there is chocolate involved, so I will believe anything you tell me. It is all true! For Realz.

      • truthspeaker
        Posted April 6, 2012 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Why not replace it with the platypus? At least that lays eggs.

        • Posted April 6, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

          That is an innovative down under approach to settling a religiously confusing and capitalistic (no connection there), holiday. I would say that big ass toad that got imported should be the New Easter Toad (no shortage there eh?), thereby opening up new avenues for industry and job creation… wait, sorry, got carried away there.

  31. onceupona
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I will confess (sheepishly) that that might be the very thing I told my daughter’s when they were growing up. Unfortunately, sadly, it is real. Now that I have grown up and don’t believe in fairy tales, I have told my son that the Easter Bunny is real and that Jesus is a fairy tale. ;)

  32. Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    If anything, I hope those eggs are non-fertilized bunny eggs, because if they are not, they would be, you know, aborted chocolate bunnies. And we all know most churches positions on abortions.

  33. gravelinspector
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Woooh! I thought that I was a good boy for saying “Cocaine… so that’s what that was ; nice ; no repeat.”
    bUT IF i WERE A Godly (bloody CapsLock key!) person … then I’d have to pretend ..a lot.
    The only reason that I’m shaking my head is that I don’t have rude enough words for the retard in question.

  34. greyhound1405
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Easter Bunny not Real! No chocolate eggs! Too much…

  35. Posted April 6, 2012 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    Everybody knows that Easter Sunday is the day that Jesus rolled the stone aside and emerged from his tomb, saw his shadow and we had 6 more weeks of winter (or something like that).

    • truthspeaker
      Posted April 6, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      LOL. My Catholic high school English teacher told me that joke.

  36. procrastin8or
    Posted April 7, 2012 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    A shame because the first half was a well-considered rebuttal to those who don’t celebrate it on the grounds of its pagan origins.

    I guess he must have opened the Kool Aid after the picture.

  37. Posted April 7, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    In a similar piece about Santa, Driscoll says he is concerned about lying to children, and about the importance of distinguishing fact from fiction. The problem is, he thinks the way we know what’s true is by believing whatever our parents tell us. But of course if Driscoll had happened to have been born in Saudi Arabia, he would be teaching his children that Allah’s revelation to Muhammad is historical fact, while Jesus’s resurrection is a lie.

    I’ve written more about this here


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