Not so good Friday


Your dead man hanging on a tree

Did not die for you or me,

Not for our sins, since we were not even born.

Then for whose, may one ask?

Since our ancestors were not even there,

Our people unheard of in that bleak desert,

His people unheard of on our green hills.

What sins were those, may one ask?

Did anyone know what they had done wrong,

For what they were being absolved?

And how, may one ask, did that gruesome death

Advance humanity one iota?

We have invented worse ways to die,

We murder and maim babies even,

And what, may one ask,

Does your dead man on the tree

Have to say about that?

Free will?

To kill on such a grandiose scale

Your dead man on the tree could never have imagined.

He could? He did?

Then what, may one ask, is the sense in that?

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

23 thoughts on “Not so good Friday”

  1. Thank you, Jane, for so eloquently expressing my thoughts and feelings about this. I usually get too wary of discussing the subject but I have felt, for a long time, that Christianity (as it is usually practiced, in case someone has a different private way of going about it) glorifies suffering in the figure of Jesus on the cross. Some people will argue that the main point is the resurrection, not the crusifiction, but I can think of thousands of other ways to send a message of freedom that don’t carry an implicit message that suffering is a necessary part of spirituality. I think I was in my twenties before I figured out that crusifiction was a standard way to torturously execute people, rather than the symbol of a single event of violence. And Christians use it all over the world for what? A reminder of love? Peace? That’s twisted. Just like the concept of universal sin, or just sin in general. People do horrible things to each other but that doesn’t make us broken, un-whole-ly. And I’ve often wondered how many Christians realize that continuing to uphold the belief that their god has somehow absolved everyone from every culture is hegemonic and an insult to those cultures, those people. And don’t get me started on the Catholic communion ritual of symbolically or not so symbollically consuming the body and blood of another human, regardless of whether or not that person really is a god, or is just a god to them. The details don’t seem to even matter compared to the implications…

    1. I never really thought about it much until lately. the whole thing just seemed so absurd that once I threw off the shackles of the priest and Sunday Mass, I just stopped thinking about it. But the recent Islamist stuff ( and let’s be honest, God is a Jewish invention, pinched first by the Christians then by the Muslims) has made me so angry that it’s made me think a bit harder exactly why the whole religious thing is so mad and inhuman. It’s hard to know where to start. So many religions have a god who dies at the end of the winter and is resurrected. As a symbol it makes sense. But the Christians have to stick this extra bit on about how god dying is somehow for the good of the whole world. Which world? When? What about the Egyptians, the Sumerians, the Neolithic people, the Celts, the Assyrians, the Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, Aztecs, Inca Mayans, Inuit etc etc. Tough for them unless they had some divine communication network going. And the notion of sin. Isn’t it enough to just try and be just and fair? Why invent this idea of guilt and shame? Then add to it by saying, look, I died for your sins? How did the death of one preacher among the thousands that the Romans crucified on a regular basis make any difference to anybody living or dead? It’s the guilt factor that the Christians wallow in, the self-flagellation, the I-am-a-sinner and at the same time doing all the repulsive things we all know about in the name of Christianity.

  2. I became disillusioned when they told me that you were “saved” only if you accepted Jesus as your savior. Live the life of a saint? To hell you go, unless you’ve accepted Jesus. Hitler? If he accepted Jesus as his savior he has been forgiven and he’s in heaven. …….Really? 50 years later and I still don’t get it. (K)

    1. And who says so, anyway? All religions are just a bunch of rules made up by some man hundreds if not thousands of years ago. The rules change according to which section of the club you belong to. The god of the Jews, Christians and Muslims seems to have only ever handed down ten rules and they’re debatable. Anyone ever seen those tablets of stone?

  3. Good questions all Jane. We hear talk of free will which is why their god won’t interfere in the killing of innocents.(what a kind god) but the book also says about not visiting the sins of the father on the child which is exactly what happens when innocent children are killed daily in Syria. Answer, they’re all part of original sin. Well, what a cop out is that.
    As for Jesus, though I’m sure he existed and was probably a nice chap, everything we read about him is put there by the Roman legionaries who forced to follow Christianity bu Constantine, used all the stories of their God Mithras for Jesus. 12 disciples, virgin birth, healer, teacher time in the desert etc.
    The Christian church adopted so many pagan festivals into their religion to make it easier to convert people that it’s hard to say who’s beliefs are actually followed now.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    1. Exactly. I can’t understand why people refuse to see that all religions are just a set of rules invented by men whose mindsets we wouldn’t even understand now. Jesus probably was a nice enough bloke, but the whole god story just doesn’t make an iota of sense.

  4. Know where you going and I’ve already arrived there a long long time ago … I’m afraid all this has never made much sense to me either. Good questions one and all.

    1. Resurrections were a standard part of most religions. The return of the sun, the blossoming of the year etc etc. They all have a god who cocks a snook at death. But Jesus didn’t offer the possibility to bypass death to anyone else (except his mammy) the poor were just as ground down and died just as hard after him as before. The rich and powerful have the power of life and death over the poor, always have done and still do. Nothing’s changed. I just don’t buy any of it, Catholic education or not.

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