Easter is a confusing time of year for kids. And even some adults. On one hand they're being told the story of the resurrection, which is really quite creepy, while on the other they anticipate the arrival of a giant bunny who delivers colored eggs, gifts and chocolate effigies. A quick review of the Bible does not reveal any scriptures depicting the existence of a giant bunny any where in Jesus' time. So where did he come from?
I thought the answer might be in those religious texts that theologians study but never discuss because they confuse people. I searched the web and made some calls but there were no stories that connected the dots between the Easter Bunny and Jesus Christ. Clearly the two must be connected because churches around the world sponsor Easter Egg hunts.
Knowing what I do about Christianity and how it has a long history of commandeering other deities and holidays (how else do you explain the saints and the correlation between Christian holidays and pagan rituals?) I decided that the Easter Bunny might actually be an ancient god from a forgotten religion. Clearly the Easter Bunny's powers were impressive and the Catholic Church could not successfully remove him from parlance so they found away to allow Jesus and the Easter Bunny to coexist.
But which one is better?
Jesus walked on water, healed the sick and turned water into wine (I hope it wasn't the water he walked on). Clearly he had some pretty impressive tricks up his sleeve and people loved him. They loved him so much that 2000 years later he is worshipped as a god. Until Elvis came along there was nobody who had such an enduring following. In another 1500 years Christianity might evolve to incorporate Elvis into its theology, or Elvis might end up being the cornerstone of a new religion.
On the subject of Elvis we should carefully watch how the cult around his legend develops. I remain convinced that the fact that the letters in his name can be arranged to spell "evils" is not a simple coincidence. Anyway, Elvis didn't perform any miracles. Tom Parker did by turning somebody so cool into a punch line before the Elvis was out of his prime, but Elvis wasn't a miracle worker. Jesus performed miracles.
But the Easter Bunny is a miracle worker too. First of all, the image of a giant bunny is impressive. That's a miracle in itself. Jesus was a guy. Sure his mom claims she was a virgin, but how many women have tried that one? Come on. And even if she was, is that really a testament to Jesus? Maybe Mary was exceptionally fertile. Maybe she got hammered one night at a frat party. Who knows?
Regardless of birthright, the Easter Bunny is a giant rabbit carrying around a magic basket. No confusion on who he is. Jesus had to tell you who he was. Even if you don't know the Easter Bunny you would be in awe if you saw him. Or terrified. Jesus was an average guy with dirty feet. So on the first impression scale the Easter Bunny wins hands down.
When it comes to miracles Jesus was impressive but Jesus didn't have to contend with billions of children. In one day the Easter Bunny manages to deliver eggs, gifts and goodies to children all around the world. Jesus did his thing in an area not much larger than Massachusetts. More important is the fact that the Easter Bunny is still performing his miracle every year. Jesus has been laying low for a while. Points go to the bunny.
As for the lessons they teach I have to call it a draw. Jesus told people to treat others the way you would like to be treated. Even though some do bad things and justify it by saying they'd like to be treated that way, most people don't dodge this issue with semantics. Jesus had some good ideas. But so does the Easter Bunny. If anything the Easter Bunny might be more effective in encouraging people to behave responsibly because you don't get any gifts if you're bad. Only good boys and girls get a basket from the Easter Bunny. If you're bad that giant bunny will eat your hostas. I've seen evidence of that.
The thing that troubles me about Jesus is that I think he might have been a vampire. He told the apostles that they could enjoy eternal life if they drank his blood and ate his flesh. That's pretty gross. I've been told that this is a metaphor, but if you go to church and take communion you drink wine and eat a piece of a wafer that supposedly represents the flesh and blood of Jesus. That's just weird. The term communion in itself is just creepy. Aside from church the only time you hear that word used is in movies where the planet is being invaded by alien pod people. And the way people commune in churches is eerily similar to the way they commune in movies. Like their minds are being controlled by a slimy brain leech from another world.
The Easter Bunny doesn't ask you to eat him. Which is a shame because bunnies are tasty. They taste like chicken. Now a giant bunny who is thousands of years old and travels around the world would be a little tough, but a slow simmer would yield a tasty stew. Throw in some carrots and some garlic and you've got a great dinner. It's not weird or gross. People eat bunnies all the time. I would not try to take down a bunny the size of a Kodiak bear but he would be yummy if one was so inclined.
Having eaten the Jesus wafer I can tell you that he is not a very tasty savior. He's dry and bland. They really could use a little Ecumenical cheese or at least a little disciple butter. Sometimes I think that cheaper churches cut costs by breaking off little chunks of styrofoam and I know that they water down the wine. Some churches use grape juice... and not a brand name either. I've seen many a jug of cheap grape drink in the church dumpster on Monday morning. Did Jesus have high fructose corn syrup coursing through his veins?
When it comes to eating your messiah, the bunny wins. You see, the bunny never told anybody to eat him, which makes his love unconditional...as long as you're good. Jesus wanted people to eat him. Which makes me wonder if he was being literal, or simply expressing his frustration with the people he was talking to. I've told quite a few people to eat me (or at least certain parts) but I didn't mean it.
If you do eat the bunny you are rewarded with a delicious meal that sticks to your ribs. With Jesus you get a stale cracker that has no taste and a little half-shot of a mystery beverage that doesn't quite wash it down. In some Catholic masses they actually drink out of the same goblet. With herpes and mad cow disease running around out there I think I'd rather enjoy my Jesus in a plastic shot glass, if you don't mind.
When you break it down the Easter Bunny is the better deity by a long shot. He's more impressive, more powerful and more interactive than Jesus. If Jesus would take the time to deliver gifts to people around the world once a year, he'd have a shot. At passing Santa Claus. Yeah, that's right, Santa Claus. We didn't compare him to Jesus today, but if we're being honest Santa holds a narrow edge over Jesus. I don't think either of them has a chance of passing the Easter Bunny. Santa tries by giving more gifts, but everybody knows that his exploitation of wildlife and guest workers is what makes him the commodity he is. Besides, that fat SOB not only demands good behavior in exchange for gifts, he wants cookies left out at every house. No wonder he's such a fat hog in spite of being so allegedly busy. But at least he delivers gifts! Jesus is still telling people to eat him 2000 years later.