I know what I’m about to say is going to get a lot of my fellow Christians in a tizzy, however truths must be told-even if they go against “conventional wisdom” in Christianity.
It’s been argued that Christianity has its roots in Paganism. This is a possibility if one were to review the Jesus story and see similar motifs in earlier Pagan beliefs. This argument was also put forth by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy in their works, The Jesus Mysteries and Jesus and The Lost Goddess (both books I recommend highly). If a serious student of Christianity was to suspend his or her Pastor/Priest-influenced beliefs for a moment and do some serious study, they may make some surprising discoveries about what (and why) they believe. There are also arguments to the contrary. The famous of which was espoused by the Church Father, Justin Martyr (100-165 CE) stated below:
For having heard it proclaimed through the prophets that the Christ was to come, and that the ungodly among men were to be punished by fire, [wicked demons] put forward many to be called sons of Jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere marvelous tales, like the things which were said by the poets. (Thanx Shema).
The reason I write this post is that we’re in the Halloween season, a time I enjoyed growing up in my Christian home with the decorations (including Jack O’Lantern), trick or treating, and costumes (I was a devil one year). In later years, I’ve looked forward to all the spooky flicks the movie channels would show; and even enjoyed the annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in Manhattan.
However, we see a number of Christians calling Halloween “satanic” and is to be avoided as a celebration; many churches hold “Hallelujah Parties” as a “Christian” alternative. And don’t bring up Satan, Wicca, Paganism, Voodoo in any conversation; God help you if you read about the stuff or bring it into your Christian home!
When you ask the Christian-on-the-street why all the hubbub, you’ll get many answers: that Halloween celebrates death; you don’t want to invite demons (or God’s disfavor) into your home; you don’t want such stuff to influence your walk; etc. Funny. We fail to realize the similarities between Paganism and Christianity. The first regarding Halloween that it celebrates death. Well, what about Good Friday and Communion? If those aren’t celebrations about death, then what is? But you’re not going to hear some Pastor/Priest, or apologist explain that! We sing about the “Blood of Jesus”, but yet will turn our noses up at Day of the Dead celebrations!
Plus, we’re afraid of those things that deal with the devil, Paganism Wicca/witches, or Voodoo. Why? We’re quick to say the above, that we don’t want to invite the devil into our lives; or invoke God’s disfavor upon us. First of all, the “devil” is not some evil force that Christians created to be their whipping boy. “Satan” is actually an obedient servant of God, an angel assigned a specific task under God’s orders (read the Old Testament for once, won’t you?). Also, realize that many Christians-especially those in African-American communities-can be the most superstitious people around. How many of us still read our horoscopes? Have some “lucky” object we bring to Las Vegas or Yonkers? How many of us don’t want to “speak” things into existence. How many of us use “point of contact” objects (oil, hankies, etc)?
And how many Christians still whine about demons, seeing spirits, angels, elves, etc.; keeping us in a perpetual state of fear that makes the Dark Ages look like Star Trek.
And do you really think God’s going to have to go on Abilify® because you have an interest in the subjects above; or celebrate Halloween at your home? I think not. In fact, our fears actually diminish God in ours (and other’s) eyes. We turn God into some impotent being that’s unworthy of worship; only to be pitied. When I listen to Christians who rant about the above without ever taking time to wonder why, or to learn about the above, such people make me shake my head.
In my opinion, this strain of superstition among believers was not founded by Jesus, by the Old Testament prophets, nor the Apostles. A lot of this “spook stuff” was foisted onto us by the early Church Fathers that were moving the Faith of Christ into an religious institution about Christ; later ratcheted up exponentially by the institutionalized Church and continually fed by present-day fundagelicals. To me, it all ranks of superstition in its stinkiest form which mocks God.
If you want to celebrate Halloween with all the trimmings, then be my guest. If you want to read about the much documented Christianity-Paganism connection, about Paganism itself, Wicca, Voodoo, etc, then do so. You have a brain to think. Don’t let some scaredy-cat fundagelical who runs on superstition stop you.
It’s ultimately between you and God. Isn’t that what Christianity’s supposed to be about?
Happy Halloween, and please save me some chocolates!