Oh, this is fun. I stopped by Salon.com to see what my intellectual superiors were up to today, and their huge headliner made my eyes bug out:
Jesus went to hell: The Christian history churches would rather not acknowledge: Prior to his resurrection, Christ descended to the underworld -- a paradox most churches would rather not confront.
Yup, that's right: it's a shocking, unbelievable exposé about . . . something that Catholics say out loud that they believe, every single Sunday. Or more often, if they say the rosary. The lede from Salon:
“It was Saturday that Jesus Christ went to Hell.”
This is one phrase that Christians, whether mainline or evangelical, Catholic or Protestant, will likely not hear from the pulpit this week. And yet the story of Christ’s descent to the underworld has deep roots in tradition.
And you thought Holy Saturday was when Jesus just hung out with the Easter Bunny! Pshh, Christians. They'll believe anything. Or it's easy to think so, as long as you never make any effort to find out what they actually believe.
The Salon piece is a prime example of the fine art of doing zero research. To craft this kind of essay, you start out knowing nothing about something, and assume that the only explanation is that either (a) there is nothing to know, because religious people are stoopid or (b) there is plenty to know, and it's SUPER SCANDALOUS, but religious people would rather not talk about it, because religious people are stoopid. The author says:
Broadly speaking, the Eastern Orthodoxy has been more comfortable with paradox and the irrational, but in the Latin West Catholics and their Protestant inheritors have attempted to tame the scandal of Christianity with the rational equations of systematic theology.
"Broadly speaking," indeed. Let me interpret that paragraph for you: "I stumbled across a phrase I've never heard before, and it sounded really weird! So I assumed it was proof that Christianity is actually weird and awful! But then I did a tiny bit of research and discovered that Catholics, especially, have actually spent the last two thousand years thinking and talking about this idea which is brand new to me. This is proof that Christians are too afraid to face the weird, awful truth about themselves which I just discovered a few minutes ago. HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR JESUS NOW, CHRISTIANS?"
Um, fine, thanks. I like Him just fine. Especially the part where was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried, and then the part where He descended into Hell; and then the part where, on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
It's my favorite part.
Anyway, Twitter has, for once, redeemed itself by tossing around this silly little beachball of a story, and has invented a new hashtag: #SalonChristianitySecrets. As in, things those dumb Christians are completely unaware of, despite the fact that they repeat the exact phrase every time they go to Mass and every time they say the rosary. Twitchy has collected a few of the jucier secrets that will rock your world, Christians, including:
"The Church is so ashamed of Paul's previous life as "Saul, Christian Killer" that they never mention his conversion"
"Let's not mention that Mary was unmarried when she conceived . . . could be controversial."
and my favorite bombshell of all time:
"Jesus loved his wine."
C'mon, you ignorant church monkeys! Whatcha got? What secrets would you like to see exposed?