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10 Days (belated): Should Christians celebrate Halloween?

October 22, 2008

So, I stumbled across this article today questioning whether Christians should celebrate Halloween. It’s from the 700 Club, so you know it’s going to be well-reasoned and informative.

I interviewed several people and then researched what many leading Christian writers, authors and spokesmen have written about the subject. I also searched various websites like www.christianitytoday.com, www.focusonthefamily.org, and www.cbn.com to read what others might be saying. What I found was an agreement on the origins of Halloween, but a mixture of recommendations about allowing our children to participate in this super-charged media driven holiday.

Allright, so he consulted all Christians sources in his research. With the kind of ultra-biased and inbred knowledge of other religions that Christian “thinkers” tout, it’s no surprise that the rest of this article is going to be a trainwreck.

In what is now Britain and France, it was the beginning of the Celtic year, and they believed Samhain, the lord of death, sent evil spirits abroad to attack humans, who could escape only by assuming disguises and looking like evil spirits themselves.

Oh, as quick as the second paragraph no less! I have never seen a historical reference to an entity called Samhain. It really is just the name of the day, and translates roughly to “end of summer”. Looks like Pastor Eric Watt did some of his research by watching The Real Ghostusters in addition to consulting Focus on the Family.

Then, the good pastor of course moves to Wicca. Now, the only thing that Christians tend to be nearly as misinformed about as atheism is Wicca.

Halloween is a real, sacred day for those who follow Wicca.

Oh, not so bad so far…

The Celtic belief of spirits being released is current, along with the worship of Samhain (the lord of death) – both are promoted as something to embrace on that day. There is no question in my mind that to those who believe and follow the practices of witchcraft, Halloween represents an opportunity to embrace the evil, devilish, dark side of the spiritual world.

Well, at least he got that one sentence right. Yes, Samhain is a sacred day in Wicca, but certainly not for the reason the ignorant pastor tells us. From my study and former practise, Samhain is kind of a mix of Thanksgiving and the Day of the Dead. Wiccans give thanks for the fact that they have food to eat, are encouraged to donate money and food to those less fortunate, and celebrate the memories of those who have died. Again, there is no “Samhain, Lord of the Dead”, but if there was, I bet it would be Zombie Michael Flatley. I would also like to note that I have met and befriended many many Wiccans, have have yet to find one that “embraced evil”.

Too, rather than “hide” in the face of evil, we should unabashedly and boldly create an alternative that is positive and uplifting; that celebrates good over evil and the triumph of God over Satan. We need to provide an environment that also makes room for heaps of fun while using the day as a “teachable moment” to celebrate God’s protection, provision and purpose for our lives.

So, now we have to deal with a yearly “War on Halloween” to counter the yearly “War on Christmas”? How about just leaving folks alone to dress funny and gather free candy for a day? What’s wrong with letting the Wiccans remember the people they’ve lost for a few hours?

Oh, I forgot that this pastor completely failed to do proper research into the holiday and other religions. Listen, if Christians as a group want to shed the cliche of being ignorant then all Christians, not just the few that break the cliche, have to make themselves more informed on what they preach against. This pastor missed a great opportunity to educate himself from real sources on the history of the holiday and the faith of another group, and that saddens me. Read a history book, walk up to someone you see in a coffee shop who’s wearing a pentacle, anything except failing by consulting one biased source. Chances are, that Wiccan you talk to will be more than forthcoming about their faith and practise once the shock of talking to an unjudging Christian wears off.

And, to answer the original question “Should Christians celebrate Halloween”? Yes. By all means, dress up like a zombie, get some candy, eat popcorn balls, bob for apples, and hang a little skepeton on your door. It’s just good, clean fun!

PS: To all the Christians that I personally know and love, I count myself lucky and grateful that I don’t know any that share this pastor’s level of ignorance.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ed T. permalink
    October 24, 2008 8:30 am

    I always loved the misconception viewpoint of the “Blind” that says that this is time of the greatest evils. When I was younger and in catholic school, my teachers used to tell us that Halloween was a time of great evil and that satan pushed his evil soldiers out to the land of the living to make up for all of the souls he was going lose on All Saints and All Souls day.

    I would laugh and laugh as I was told over and over again that I was to wear a costume to prevent the devils minions f rom finding me. Because dressing up like Egon Spangler was going to scare aware demons hungry for my moratl soul…b*tch please…

    -E

  2. October 24, 2008 9:19 am

    Maybe actually being a Ghostbuster would scare away the demons. Unfortunately, I traded in my proton pack for some gummy berry juice.

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