Geek of Faith – Origins of Easter – Part 3 of Several

I’ve established in parts one and two that the Catholic Church did not originally celebrate Easter as it is celebrated now. I’ve also established that the only people that really call the holiday “Easter” are English and German speakers. The rest of the world, including the Catholic Church calls it some variation of the word “Pascha” or “Passover”.

I’ll cover Easter Eggs and infant sacrifice today as that seems to be the weirdest thing a lot of the conspiracy sites point to as being horrifically evil in origin.

The Claim: Ancient Babylonians used to sacrifice infants and dip eggs in the blood of sacrificed infants during their pagan Ishtar sex orgies (what other kind of orgy is there?). They did this as far back as the Tower of Babel. Also Nimrod who ruled at Babel and his wife Semiramis became deified and are worshiped as Ishtar by the Catholic church.

The Reality: It is true Ishtar worshipers had temple prostitutes, as did many other religions. What I can’t find is any secular history that confirms the infant sacrifice claim, and the Bible itself certainly doesn’t mention infant sacrifice and attribute it to the Babylonians, or the Tower of Babel.

Certainly the verses in Genesis talking about the Tower of Babel make no mention of mass baby slaughter during orgies. The sin committed at the Tower of Babel was that of hubris, not infant sacrifice during prostitution rituals. The Jews who wrote the Old Testament were certainly not shy about owning up to their own baby killing, and talking about others who did the same thing. It makes no sense that they would make a big deal of the hubris at Babel and not mention the orgies and baby sacrifice if there were any.

As a side note the phrase “Tower of Babel” is a sort of ancient pun making fun of the city of Babylon. The word comes from the Hebrew “Balel” (seen some other spellings too) which means “jumble”. The Akkadian (Babylonian) word for their city comes from the word “Babili” which means “Gate of God”, or “Gate of the gods”. I’ve also seen it broken down further as “Bab” means gate and “Ilani” means “gods”, much like the Hebrew “elohim” which means “gods”. This is basic stuff I was taught in Sunday school.

We also see the claim of Nimrod and his supposed wife “Semiramis” being tossed around as well. This is also really only found in “The Two Babylons”. I did a brief search and it is true that Queen Semiramis was a real Assyrian queen, she was married to King Shamshi-Adad and apparently was responsible for a lot of amazing stuff, as well as being the alleged inventor of chastity belts, and eunuchs. The Greeks mistakenly thought her married to Ninus, who they thought founded Babylon. Hislop supposed the Nimrod of the Bible and Ninus of Greek legend (he founded Babylon and Nineveh is named for him according to them) were the same person.

On top of all that the Bible doesn’t even connect Nimrod to the tower of Babel. All the traditions linking him to such are extra-biblical. Here’s literally all the Bible has to say about Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-10):

And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth.

He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.

10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

It does link him somewhat with the “kingdoms of Babel, Erech, and Accad” but if you flip over to Genesis 11 it doesn’t say he was the one that had the tower constructed, it’s just traditionally assumed. It also states in Genesis 10:11 that someone named “Ashur” built Ninevah, so if anything Ninus and Ashur are the same person, not Nimrod. Apparently in the original Hebrew text this is even more ambiguous and has confounded scholars for ages.

As for the eggs dyed in the blood of infants, I can’t find evidence for this either. Since I can’t find any real mention of infant sacrifice attributed to the Babylonians, this doesn’t surprise me. I found a LOT of evidence to show that various cultures throughout time have dyed or decorated eggs for various reasons. Egyptian priests used to dye them and hang them up in their temples. There have been engraved ostrich eggs found in Africa that are 60,000 years old. Egyptian tombs have been found with them. Persians have been painting eggs for their new year for 2500 years. I’ve found some people attributing current Easter egg traditions to this Persian/Zoroastrian custom instead of the Germanic. The list goes on, and on.  Nearly every western and African culture has done something with eggs at some point.

It seems that as long as human beings have been human beings we’ve been painting bird eggs just for the fun of painting bird eggs. Deeper meanings have been ascribed to the practice and there are many superstitions about them. Our Easter egg traditions seem to be Germanic in origin. But, it seems to me that you could just pick any decorated egg tradition and point to it as the origin of the practice and be just as right and just as wrong.

It seems to me the whole child sacrifice thing was mostly propaganda about ‘other kingdoms’. If you want to make your neighbors, other culture, etc, there’s basically two things you tell your kids and fellow countrymen/clansmen/ethnic group. The first thing you do is talk about rape and murder a lot. Take a few cases and ascribe the behavior to the whole group. Stuff like this:

“The Outsiders will come in, murder your boys and rape your daughters.” -Everyone, ever, about their disliked neighbors or their current enemy.

And

“The Romans beat me and raped my daughters.” – Boudicca, heavily paraphrased.

And

“Catholic priests are all child molesters.” -US Media, Fundamentalist Christians, Atheists, Etc during the early 2000’s

In Boudicca’s case, this might have been true. And yeah, some priests were charged and convicted of child molestation. Does that mean all Romans were rapists? Probably not. Does it mean all Catholic priests are child molesters? Not at all! However, all of this stuff is guaranteed to really anger a population against another population.

The second thing you can do is talk about people killing or eating babies. If you want to make it really bad, they sacrifice babies to pagan or other gods than yours and eat the remains. For instance.

“Country A will kill every girl child until they get a boy.” -Figure it out.

And

“The people of Judah burn their infant sons in sacrifice to Moloch in the Valley of Hinnom” – Jeremiah 7:30-32 – Prophet Jeremiah on the practices of Israelites in Judah. I added the part about Moloch, but that’s what they were doing according to 2 Kings 23:10

And

“Jewish families have to eat a Christian baby once a year.” – Horrible Anti-Semetic Bullcrap from Russia. Also this garbage. 

The first item may or may not be true in Country A. The second one is Biblical, talking about people from Judah. The third one was some idiotic stuff from the last century or so to make people suspicious of Jews. I want to go on record as saying I’m not anti-Semitic at all, but the Jews have been falsely accused of some pretty bad stuff over the centuries. So it was just easy to find my examples. Ironically in Jeremiah it was one group of Israelites accusing another separate group of Israelites of baby sacrifice.

Point when you hear about baby sacrifice, the first thing you should think is, “This is probably unfounded propaganda.” and ignore it. It’s probably made up to make a group look bad. Not always the case, but until you see some evidence or at least good scholarship for it, don’t take it seriously.

Our current Easter traditions seem to be mostly Germanic in origin. It seems that Christians didn’t dye eggs, make hot cross buns, or a bunch of other stuff until they started converting Germanic peoples. These people had these neat spring time traditions and the Catholics doing the conversion didn’t have the heart to tell them to tell them to stop. Every bit of that is attested by the Catholic Church and there’s not much attempt to hide that. They just aren’t as shocking and bad as the propaganda makes them out to be.

 

 

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