Theologist and author Bart Ehrman provides a stellar answer to a question posed by Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air.” (The answer appears at the end of the 4/8/14 interview at the 35:30 min. mark, but the rest of the interview is very informative, as well):
Terry Gross: As we’ve talked about before on Fresh Air, you used to be a Christian – a fundamentalist who took the bible as literal and now you describe yourself as agnostic – what meaning does Easter have to you?
Bart Ehrman: You know, I went through a number of stages as a…as a Christian, I was – uh, for a long time I was a very hardcore evangelical Christian – I guess you would call me a fundamentalist, and I thought, back then, that you could prove the resurrection happened historically – I had all sorts of historical proofs for it happening; I came to think that I no longer could do that and I moved from being an evangelical Christian – and for many years I was a fairly liberal Christian, and for me, the meaning of Easter was that in Christ, God had manifested himself in this world. That Easter showed that God triumphs over evil, and that evil doesn’t have the last word – God has the last word. And I still resonate with that, but I’m not a believer in God anymore. And so what is the meaning of Easter now for me? I think Easter continues to show me that there is horrible injustice and oppression and political violence in the world, but that we should wrestle against it. In the Christian story of God raising Jesus from the dead, God was saying no to the Roman Empire and the forces that were aligned against him. There are political forces in our world today that do horrible things: acts of injustice and oppression, creating poverty and misery and suffering, and I think we should say no to them. And so, I understand the Easter story not to be a historical event, but I still think it says something very important about how we ought to live in the world.