Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Concerning Halloween

This outstanding article on the subject of Halloween was written by James Jordan. Concerning Halloween

6 comments:

Rick said...

I've always liked this article. Nice picture, by the way.

Jennifer said...

Chris,
Here's a quote from an article about the origins of Halloween:

"Halloween's origins date back two thousand years to the Celtic New Year festival of "Samhain" (pronounced sow-in) named after their god of the dead. Samhain was also one of the four high days (sabbats) of witchcraft or, more accurately, Wicca.

On the night before the November 1 new year, Celts believed that Samhain and the dead would roam the earth causing all kinds of trouble. So the Celtic priests, Druids, would demand that all light be extinguished on Halloween night and sacrifices be made to prevent trouble.

To avoid "tricks," the villagers would bake up "treats" to appease the dead. They would also dress up in ghoulish costumes and parade to the outskirts of town hoping the departed souls would follow them out of town.

After sacrifices, villagers would carry the fire, thought to be sacred, back to their homes in carved out vegetable shells.

In the eighth century Pope Gregory II moved the church festival honoring martyrs of "All Saints" to November 1 as a Christian alternative to the Celtic New Year celebrations. "All Hallow's Eve" or "Halloween" means the "evening of holy persons" and was to be used in spiritual preparation for All Saints Day."

Chris, It's so hard to know what to believe about the historical origins of Halloween! But I'm not sure that "mocking" evil spirits is a good thing. I think Christians should take the forces of evil very seriously. Yes, Christ is in control and defeated Satan at Calvary, but we still have a very real enemy until His return, and I would never want my kids to think that evil spirits should not be taken seriously. Can't think of an example in Scripture where Believers mock demons. Christ Himself did not mock them -- he drove them out in a very serious manner! If the Catholic tradition of "All Saints Day" is the true origin, then why would I observe it? I'm not Catholic. And if the pagan theory is true, certainly why would I observe it? Either way, I'm not convinced!

Chris said...

Jen

Greetings in the name of Lion of the tribe of Judah; the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world!

I'm curious as to the source of your quote. Would you post it please?

You said, "Christ did not mock evil spirits.." But Colossians 2:15 says He, "put them to open shame." Here's the quote:

"He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him."

As we follow in the footsteps of Jesus and excercise dominion over this world, we trample Satan and his minions. Romans 16:20 says, "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under YOUR (emphasis mine)feet.

We must recognize Satan is a defeated foe. We do not have to fear him. "No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us," Romans 8:37.

Also you said you were not catholic and I would agree so long as you keep the "C" in Catholic a capital letter, as in "Roman Catholic." Otherwise I would consider myself "catholic" in every sense of the word. To not, is to put oneself outside of orthodox Christianity.

Concerning holidays, which would most modern churches be likely to celebrate?

Pentecost, or Mother's Day?

Ascension or 4th of July?

Which are most biblical?

The Lord be with you!

Chris said...

I don't think it is nessasary for Christians to dress up like ghosts and ghouls in order to "taunt demons." But I would love to see more churches participating in things like "All Saint's Day" and being "catholic" in that way. I think it would be great to celebrate the victory Christ has achieved for us, and others that have gone before, (in a Romans 16:20 sense), not by dressing up as demons but rather by singing Psalms, making merry, dancing, playing games, and maybe in even dressing up as Bible characters, heroes of church history, etc. As for candy? Trick-or-Treat be d#@%ned!!! (in the most biblical language possible,)..given an opportunity to eat some chocolate, and I'm there!

So, bottom line, I'm not a Halloween advocate, at least not in the modern sense of the word. I thought James Jordan's article was good, because he brought out the fact that a lot of modern Christians are influenced by a revisionist type history and not aware of it. Christians should not learn how to be Christian by their surrounding culture.

Jennifer said...

Hi, Chris! Yes, obviously I understand that I am part of the Catholic church (the church universal), but I am not Roman Catholic. I don't doubt that All Saints Day was a Christian observance. But I do believe that the traditions of trick-or- treating and the main things we associate with Oct. 31 was of pagan origin. If we're going to honor the Saints who have gone before us (ie: martyrs) then let us do so. Halloween as we observe it, does not do this. As the article at the below link states, "...elements of pagan practices were perhaps “baptized” by some cultures or attached themselves to the celebration of All Saints and All Souls."

In other words, popular culture adopted rituals associated with Samhain and other pagan Autumn festivals with All Saint/All Souls Day. Trick-or-treat, carved pumpkins, etc. are pagan in their origins. http://catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0199.html

Also, check out FactMonster.com at this link: http://www.factmonster.com/spot/halloween1.html

Again, it is observed that All Saints/All Souls Day were of Christian origin, but officially established by the Roman Catholic churh...

"Taking place on November 2, All Souls' Day was a day of prayer for the dead. It was believed that the prayers of those still living could comfort dead souls, or elevate them from Purgatory."

These are clearly heretical Roman Catholic ideas, not Protestant.

Likewise,

"Another observance involved "soul cakes." These (and alms) were given to the poor, in return for which the poor would offer a prayer for the dead. The poor and their children in some areas would go "souling," going to the homes of the wealthy and asking for soul cakes, fruit, and alms."

Another Roman Catholic-influenced idea (praying for the souls of the dead).

Now, one might argue then why do Protestants observe Valentines Day, or St. Patrick's Day since these too were clearly of Roman Catholic origin. Because they celebrate univeral Christian ideals -- love one another, and the furtherance of His kingdom with the spreading of the gospel. As far as Mother's Day, July 4, etc. that you mentioned, noone holds these as religious holidays. They merely recognize special things or important events. Observing them does not contradict my faith. Recognizing a holidy that was intended to either rescue souls from pergatory, or observe a pagan ritual go against what I believe is biblical. At the very least, they are enought to make me uncomfortable.

Finally, "The modern observances of Halloween are more recent than one might expect. The holiday had a rebirth in North America between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, probably through an influx of Irish immigrants. They brought with them traditions that combined features of the Celtic and Christian holidays, and celebrated with feasting, divinations, and mischief making."


I guess all this to say that there is enough pagan and Roman Catholic heretical roots to make me uncomfortable with observing Halloween as somehow a purely Christian holiday. Let every man exercise his own conscience here.

Thanks for the lively debate!

Rick said...

*squirming in the back of the classroom with hand up*
Oooh! Pick me! Pick me! I really want to comment here, but I don't have time tonight: getting set for Sabbath fun tomorrow. I'm going to try to comment tomorrow or Monday.