Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cults- Halloween

I know that Halloween is a not necessarily a religion but I felt it would be good to go over this subject this time of year.

I am absolutely amazed at the money that gets poured into this wicked celebration. It seems that there is no such thing as Thanksgiving during the Fall. Once the pumpkins and skeletons are hung up you can bank on it that Frosty and Santa are also coming out soon.

As a Christian should we celebrate this "holiday?" I think it helps to study what it is and the purpose of it to come to an answer. Otherwise, it is just a matter of opinion as to whether to celebrate it or not.

The word Halloween is derived from the term "All Hallows Eve" which occurred on Oct. 31, the end of summer in Northwestern Europe. "All Saints Day," or "All Hallows Day" was the next Day, Nov. 1st. Therefore, Halloween is the eve of All Saints Day.

Michael Judge, writing for the New Age periodical Common Boundary explains Halloween probably began between 1000 and 100 B.C. among the Celtic people. The actual holiday was a commemoration of the new year (Sep./Oct. 1993, p. 29). It was at this time of the year that Baal, the Celtic god of Spring and Summer, ended his reign. It was also when the Lord of the Dead, Samhain, began his reign (Ibid.).

Proinsias MacCana writes, "During this interval the normal order of the universe is suspended, the barriers between the natural and the supernatural are temporarily removed, the sidh lies open and all divine beings and the spirits of the dead move freely among men and interfere, sometimes violently, in their affairs" (Celtic Mythology, p. 127).

As a part of the Druid festival, men and women had to fear not only the departed spirits, who were to return during the evening hours, they must also fear the Druid priests themselves. It was a time of mass human sacrifice. "Men and women, young and old, criminals and innocents, were forced into huge wooden and thatch cages. Often these cages were fashioned in the shape of giants - `wicker men' - perhaps representations of Samhain himself. At a signal from the presiding Druids, these immense structures were torched, everything in them burned to cinders." After the sacrifices, the Druids held thanksgiving meals around "roaring bonfires" (Common Boundary, Sep./Oct. 1993, p. 30).

It was believed by the Druids that during Samhain, the dead would play "tricks on mankind and caused panic and destruction. They had then to be appeased" (Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 440). Part of this appeasement process involved the giving of food to the spirits as they visited the homes. This formed the foundation of the modern practice of "trick or treat."

Another common belief of the Celts was the idea that those who had died the previous year "had been transformed into animals." Thus, to welcome the dead on this sacred night, the Celts "dressed as animals." Then, "As the dawn broke, they made a great parade to the edge of the settlement, in hopes of leading the ghosts into paradise" (Common Boundary, Sep./Oct. 1993, p. 30).

What does the Bible say about Halloween? Nothing. But it does speak concerning witches, the occult, and paganism.
Exodus 22:18, You shall not let a witch live.

Deut. 18:10-12, "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD…"

The Bible definitely speaks negatively about occultic practices, spirits, and witches and condemns not only the practice but also the people who are involved in it. As Christians, we are to have nothing to do with the occult. Tarot Cards, contacting the dead, séances, lucky charms, etc., are all unbiblical and can harm a Christian's fellowship with God and open the Christian to demonic oppression. Most Christians know this and avoid these activities.

Just as the Celtic religion of Druidism had incorporated costumes from its Roman conquerors (Pomona worship, with her horn of plenty and sacred apples), so the Celtic religion adapted to its new environment. Things in America were different than they had been in Ireland. America possessed a bountiful harvest of a new product - the pumpkin.The Irish also did something that has become the indelible symbol of Halloween in America - they made jack-o-lanterns. The original jack-o-lanterns were potatoes or turnips carved and illuminated by Irish children and used to light Halloween gatherings. They commemorated Jack, a shifty Irish villain so wicked that neither heaven nor the Devil wanted him. Rejected by both the sacred and profane, he wandered the world endlessly looking for a place to rest, his only warmth a glittering candle in a rotten potato" (Common Boundary, Sep./Oct. 1993, p. 31). Hence, the jack-o-lantern finds its historical place in the history and religion of the Celtic people.

Romans honored the dead with a festival called Feralia in late October. It honored Pomona, their goddess of fruit trees who was often pictured wearing a crown of apples. During this festival, they ran races and played games to honor the "Apple Queen" and used omens such as apple parings thrown over the shoulder or nuts burned in the fire in order to predict the future concerning their marital prospects. When the Romans conquered the Celts, they combined local Samhain customs with their own pagan harvest festival. Bobbing for apples was derived from this blended pagan celebration.

I want to offer my thanks to Matt Slick, Rick Branch, and James Walker for much of the information provided here.

In the end, who in Christianity would want to be associated with such wickedness?

It does not matter how much fun you had growing up and dressing up or if you were only participating to have a little fun and candy. I say go buy a bag of candy and spend some time with your family.

Colossians 3.1-2
1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

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