Every religion has their own myths that go to the very heart of their beliefs. The Easter Myth is central to Christianity, and somewhat revealing. Watching a performance of Bach's 'St Mathew Passion' last week I was struck by Bach's dramatisation just how revealing the Easter Myth really is.
Just think, Christians revere Christ as their ideal, and indeed Bach had his chorus praise him, worship him, eulogise Him. And then they killed him.
That's the story. That, says Bach, is what Christians revere. The murder of their ideal.
According to the scriptures which Christ's contemporaries worshipped, this man was the one they sought, the one they were waiting for, the one who was their hero. And they killed him. They couldn't wait to kill him. In the name of their own mediocrity, he just had to go: his perfection was an affront to their own imperfection; his nobility an affront to their own ignobility. So, in that Easter week they denied him, killed him and disowned him, after which they bewailed his fate, and they bewailed what they had done. BUT THEY STILL DID IT! And they would do so again.
Such is the nature of the Easter Myth.
The clear insight that it seems Bach wants us to take about the myth of Easter is one of sacrifice, and the nature of that sacrifice: in that name of religion he shows us that the good (by Christian standards) are sacrificed to the rotten, the constant to the inconstant, the talented and inspirational to the lumpen dross. Why? Because the good are a constant affront to the mediocre, the talented to the untalented, the superhuman to the less-than-human. They can't be allowed to remain -- they're an affront to us all. In the name of God they just have to go! Only once they're dead are they safe to revere once again. After all, the dead can't talk back.
In other words, it struck me that the Easter Myth is not unlike Ayn Rand's Fountainhead, only without the happy ending, and with a bloody awful ethic to boot.
LINKS: The Fountainhead - Objectivism Reference Center
TAGS: Religion, Objectivism, Ethics, Music, Books