An Atheist Easter (Can this Meme be Spread?)
Today is my daughter's second Easter. Her fascination with the coloring of eggs brings me great amusement. It occurred to me that I probably should come up with some explanation for all of this, on par with that of Santa or the Tooth Fairy and irrespective of the biblical account. So, I devised:
THE LEGEND OF BUNRAM, THE RATIONAL RABBIT
Bunram was a rationalist rabbit who brought himself into conflict with the strictly theist majority, the Order of Gallus. The Gallusians were chickens who subscribed to the belief that by simply pondering the question of which came first -- the chicken or the egg -- one could attain perfect grace. Resolution to the question was considered impossible for any creature to attain, and the very asking of it was an affront to the Feeder.
This perfect mystery was reaffirmed, the Gallusians believed, by the existence of the Ovum, an unhatched egg that was said to contain an eternally self-replenishing supply of shelled corn, soybeans, oats and alfalfa (this is now only subscribed to by the orthodox sects, whereas the 'modern' or 'reform' denomination supports the later high-fructose corn syrup creeds of the Council of Cadbury).
Bunram, by contrast, believed this approach led only to infinite regression and raised far more questions than it answered. He felt the creation question was a scientific one, and that it could be answered definitively by rationality, reason, and, of course, scientific experimentation on unfertilized eggs.
In response to this 'haresy', the Gallusians waged a campaign of persecution against the minority population of rabbits (now ethnically reclassified as Bunrammites, or simply 'bunnies'). Being faster than a tortoise was considered incontrovertible proof of haresy, and punishable by being pecked to death. Rabbits were often accused of tempting innocents to follow them down into holes, where all manner of unnatural phenomena was said to occur, and suspicion of this activity could also result in death. It soon became apparent that if a rabbit could get by with a simple pecking off of the foot ('keychaining'), they could consider themselves among the lucky.
This dark epoch achieved its zenith with the massacre of twelve newborn chicks ('The Extirpation of the Peeps'), which was blamed on Bunram. He was mercilessly pecked, covered in a rich layer of chocolaty excrement, placed in a basket (some accounts say the basket was pink, others yellow, and still others make no mention of the basket at all), wrapped in cellophane and left in a field to suffocate.
According to the legend, Bunram broke free of the trap (The 'Decampment'), stole the Ovum, and disappeared to the East. The chickens' attempts to find Bunram and their sacred egg have remained fruitless for more than two millennia. It seemed that no matter how far East they travelled in search of him, they could never be 'more East' than Bunram.
Now, we celebrate Bunram's heroic defense of logic and scientific inquiry by boiling the unfertilized eggs of the Gallusians' descendants and playfully hiding them, consuming the likeness of Bunram in excremental chocolate (the Lapin Transubstantiation) and watching 'Bugs Bunny vs Foghorn Leghorn', which ABC-TV plays every year on this day.
Happy Easter, Bunramists!