I feel sorry for Jim Caveziel, for getting struck by lightning twice during a certain revisionist Biblical epic helmed by Mel Gibson. The Passion of the Christ movie basically tanked his career, from what I understand. I have seen him in The Stoning of Soraya M., which is very good. The only reason I like to watch Passion every now and then is because of its use of Aramaic and Latin (although the Romans would have actually spoken Greek at the time).
You know who is an exceptional example of upstanding human morality (sadly, also fictitious)? Jean Valjean. There is more about the goodness and struggles of humankind in the whole of Les Miserables than there is in a book that we’re not even sure who the author(s) are.
Today is Good Friday, the day which Christians commemorate a child murderer.
Fun, eh? I prefer chocolate.
“God can’t tell his chosen people from the Goyim unless they kill an animal and smear its blood on their front door? God knows your every covetous thought, but he can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys unless they turn their stoop into a horror show?”
Technically, the (religious explanation of) putting of lambs’ blood on the Hebrews’ doors at Passover wasn’t so God would be able to see who not to massacre – it was to see who was obeying his orders.
The secular explanation of the death of the Egyptian firstborn (and the other plagues) is explained as a natural phenomenon here, but there are many conflicting ideas and evidence about whether or not the plagues actually happened, who died and who lived, why they died or lived, etc.
One thing that’s always bugged me: Pharaoh Rameses (think Yul Brynner) was the firstborn of his father, the previous Pharaoh, right? He doesn’t get struck down. Why? In Cecil B. DeMille’s epic The Ten Commandments, it could just be that it would ruin the storyline and the animosity between Moses and his one-time brother, Rameses.
Whether or not the events which gave way to Passover celebrations (which don’t begin until 22 April this year) actually existed, I don’t know. Many secular seders I’ve attended have drawn parallels between the story of the Exodus and the end of slavery in the US*, and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of the Jews against the Nazis on the first night of Passover, 19 April 1943.
I think any of these is a good enough reason to celebrate Passover, even if you don’t believe in God.
* Note: Slavery has not ended in the US, and it still is firmly in place in many parts of the rest of the world in the form of human trafficking. However, Moses and the story of the Exodus have been used as a metaphor for the end of enslavement of African Americans, particularly in the Deep South. One seder I attended, I remember singing the song “Go Down, Moses” as part of the evening. It’s about the birth of freedom, just like Passover.