The claims made in this article and by those claiming that Easter has “pagan roots” are actually quite unsubtantiated. The fact of the matter is that the celebration of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection are linked to the Jewish observance of the Passover, as Christ was crucified on the day of the Passover on Friday, the 14th of Nisan in AD 33 (Dr. Steinman gets into the chronology of this on a recent Issues Etc. program: http://bit.ly/wjKNnF). We have not only the Biblical account, but extra Biblical accounts that attest to the historicity of this event. Whatever else may be brought into Easter in the culture (the name Easter, bunnies, eggs, etc.) are really irrelevant as bunnies, eggs, and jelly beans don’t make the Resurrection of our Lord. One must start with the historicity of Jesus, who He claimed to be, that He was crucified, and that on the third day witnesses attested that He was risen and were willing to suffer and die because of that witness.
To briefly summarize regarding all the alleged pagan “connections,”the pagan myths that seem to be similar (a demigod dying and rising) have no basis in actual history and a great majority are mentioned in documents that are later than Christ’s death and resurrection: for example the cult of Mithras comes centuries after Christ.
Even the name Easter itself may not be as “pagan” as some would claim. Christianity today ran an article investigating this here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/bytopic/holidays/easterborrowedholiday.html?start=1
Again, to bring it to what’s important: Jesus’ death and resurrection are events that happened in history. That is why Christians celebrate Easter (or Pascha [Passover/Passion] in most other languages).
Matthew Lorfeld, Pastor
Messiah Lutheran Church
La Crescent, MN