An Atheist’s Easter Confession

For nearly 50 years I’ve listened to the original Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack annually

Tim Gebhart

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Album cover for the 1970 U.S. soundtrack release (Source: discogs.com)

I’ve been an avowed atheist for decades. I’ve always found the Bible and the story of Jesus incredible in the true sense of the word — not credible. Perhaps that accounts for some of the “D” grades I got in “Conduct” in Catholic school. But I have a confession to make, pun intended. Every year around Easter, I listen to Jesus Christ Superstar and relish it.

Although, or perhaps because, I’m an atheist, I’ve long been fascinated with Christianity’s history. How could the world’s largest religion and so much of our history arise from the story of a man who may not have existed? What explains so many intelligent people accepting a narrative so full of inaccuracy and contradiction? Still, Jesus Christ Superstar gave me a perspective my Catholic education lacked or ignored, lending some actual realism to the origin story.

If there’s any truth to that story, the musical established the political undertones from the outset. In the first song, “Heaven on Their Minds,” Judas is worried that Jesus is losing control of his followers and things are getting out of hand. He’s concerned that “all the good you’ve done will soon get swept away. You’ve begun to matter more than the things you say.” He…

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Tim Gebhart

Retired Lawyer. Book Addict. History Buff. Lifelong South Dakotan. Blog: prairieprogressive.com