Does Easter Really Have Pagan Origins?
Fri., Apr. 3. 2015 11:15am EDT
J. Jackson here again. Two weeks ago, I wrote about how some people think Easter borrows its name and many of its customs from paganism. Since then, I've done a lot more research on the topic, and it's been fascinating.
You may be surprised to discover that there is a lot of misinformation being disseminated about the supposed pagan history of Easter, often by people who mean well. Even among them, you'll find varying theories of exactly which pagan sources the word and customs of Easter are derived from.
In my years involved in an apologetics-based ministry, I have found that it is important to check sources. For example, the publications of Jehovah's Witnesses often cite supposed historical sources in their efforts to associate many things of Christianity with pagan sources. They do that not just with Easter but with even more essential doctrines like the Trinity or the deity of Christ.
However, I have found that if you do your homework, you will find that they have notoriously poor scholarship, not only taking things out of context but often deliberately misquoting their source material. There are a lot of people out on the internet who do that, too.
Just because something is posted on the internet doesn't mean it's accurate, even if that person claims to be a pastor or an expert. That's why it's good consult multiple trustworthy sources. As the Bible says, in the multitude of counselors there is wisdom (Proverbs 15:22) and "The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him." (Proverbs 18:17).
For a comprehensive look at the topic, check out this article from Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/bytopic/holidays/easterborrowedholiday.html?start=3