Apathetic Followers: A Look at Halloween

“The real danger for the majority of people,” Andrew told me, “is not that they are going to turn into human sacrificing Satanists, but into apathetic followers of whatever comes along, believing it to be harmless.”

We’ve all participated. We’ve all run from dressed up monsters trying to make us scream “mommy!” Many of us have memories of the lunatic with the chainsaw chasing the poor neighborhood kids down the street—all in fun, of course. Some of us have spoken to skeletons, and some have debated whether or not to reach beneath a guillotine to grab that wonderful candy bar. We’ve dressed up and knocked on strangers’ doors and repeated the infamous phrase “Trick or Treat!.” But is this holiday, this “day of the dead,” something that believers should participate in? And does a decision to not participate mean that we are legalistic right-wing conservative fanatics?

“Test everything,” says Paul in Thessalonians, “Hold on to good. Avoid every kind of evil.” Would we be correct to surmise that what most of us celebrate on October 31st of every year is not good, but something evil that we are to avoid? Or perhaps, as Christians, we’re just seeing the bigger picture. We see the celebration of evil, but our culture only sees a day to get more candy.

That is what we are going to look at – what Halloween has been and is today, what the Bible says about this holiday, and what our response as believers should be.

A Brief History

The history of Halloween is hard to trace, and in many cases is contested at all levels. It is a mix of many different traditions of the past, but one solid story seems to emerge from each account – a history of paganism, Christianity, and a fusion of the two to form one day at the end of October.

Halloween began with a Celtic festival of the dead. This festival was called Samhain (prounounced Sah-ween or Sow-in), and it was a celebration of the beginning of winter. It was a time when the Celtic people believed that the ghosts of the dead were mingling amongst the living. The Celts gathered together to sacrifice their animals and their crops. They lit bonfires to honor the dead, to aid them on their journey, [Wikipedia], and to make sure that the dead would not haunt the living. It was a time of great darkness.

Christian missionaries, or rather Roman Catholic missionaries, transformed this celebration to what we see today. They combined the elements of pagan worship with that of Christian elements—perhaps attempting to be all things to all people. Yet were these missionaries doing the right thing by bringing together two completely opposing belief systems and smashing them together? One might wonder whether this would be equivalent to bringing two positively charged magnets together or attempting the old science experiment of mixing water and vegetable oil.

A Biblical Understanding

The Bible does not say much about Halloween—at least, not specifically. But many verses in Scripture teach us to avoid all evil. Psalm 101 has always stood out among many Scriptures as an example of this:

I will be careful to lead a blameless life
when will you come to me?
I will walk in my house
with blameless heart.

I will set before my eyes
no vile thing.
The deeds of faithless men I hate;
they will not cling to me.

Men of perverse heart shall be far from me;
I will have nothing to do with evil.

That last line is absolutely amazing, and utterly astounding. The Psalmist will have absolutely nothing to do with evil, no matter what. Never will he stoop to the level of faithless men. The standard is astounding and stunning—someone who is willing to have nothing to do with evil. How many of us can say that we have this thought pattern? Instead, many Christians today are seeing how close to the line they can get, instead of running as close to the holy throne of God as they can.

A Biblical Response

It is a tough situation. We could quickly respond to the idea that we should avoid “everything evil” with an argument just as strong. One reader said, “We should not be distancing ourselves from a society that needs us more than ever.” Another said, “Atheists participate in Christmas, what’s the difference?”

“Jesus commands us to be in the world but not of it,” said another man, “To me, distancing ourselves from a holiday that demonstrates that people need God even more is not a good idea. We need to use this holiday as an example of what God’s love means—no death, no pain, no suffering in Heaven, but in Hell.”

What we end up with is Christian discernment. When the Scriptures do not speak specifically on a topic, it is left up to the Christian. He is to follow the Spirit’s calling to him on the specific issue, not his sinful self. He is to search the Scriptures for insight and understanding, instead of apathetically going with the flow of the culture that surrounds him. When he does this, God is glorified.

In the end, Halloween today could be just a day to get free candy. Perhaps it is not a day to worship Satan—the Wiccans even consider it an offensive day. So, whether you decide to participate or not, neither side should be considered sinful or arrogant. But when we consider an issue like this one, we need to keep in mind that we must not apathetically accept what our culture deems acceptable. That is not how a Christian is to live

The Struggle of Rebelution

The Struggle of Rebelution had taken me two weeks to write — then in one day, I got rid of my past work, and I just sat down and wrote it all out. It was shorter than I expected, yet hopefully the final product can fully explain my thoughts on the struggle that comes with doing hard things. It had been alluded to in the previous two articles on the rebelution (Doing Hard Things In My Life and My Story of Rebelution), and this will be the final true essay (if it can be called that), as the next article will be used for more of an announcement and request for guidance. Just keep your eyes open for that.

The struggle that I had in writing this article was mainly as to what issue I needed to address when it came to the rebelution movement — which issue is that which a rebelutionary would most struggle with? In addition, I wondered if I should address the improper applications of doing hard things as well as the myth of adolescence, which has been used by some to promote immorality and sin in the lives of young men and women. This was not where I felt a leading to write. Instead, I wish to briefly address one issue that I see many rebelutionaries, myself included, struggling with daily. When I say this, perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps this issue is for me alone. Perhaps not. But in all honesty, I feel that we all struggle with it in our battle to rise above low expectations.

When we finally begin to make headway we begin to fall into a trap of pride. It is the trap that I find myself in each and every day, almost each and every hour, and I feel nothing but constant grief for this sin of pride. I see myself and my duties of doing hard things a great benefit to our nation, my family, my church, and my friends. I see myself much higher than they are — more holy as I rise above their low expectations for themselves. I am the example they should follow, the writer they should read, and the speaker they should hear. This is absurd, to be certain, yet so accurate and telling of my inner thoughts.

It is with great pain that I relay this wrestling in my soul to you. Nevertheless I see this issue all across the board, infiltrating quietly and subtly. We are not living humbly as we should — truthfully, the hard thing is to humbly do hard things. This humility is lacking for many — or to be honest, many possess a very false humility. We claim that our work to do hard things is nothing, merely small things. We believe somehow that we are humbly doing good works and hard things, when our whole life is full of self-interest. We are many times doing hard things for ourselves and not for the glory of God as we should. We fool ourselves into thinking that we are humbly doing these things when many times we are far from humbly doing anything.

In saying these things, I should note that this is not always the case. Thanks be to God, we are doing hard things for His glory! However, this is not always the case, and as we wrestle and fight in a battle between the flesh and the Spirit, we can fall quickly and easily into the trap of pride and self-interest. This is a warning — a pleading for discernment. Tread carefully on the ground — if you think you are standing tall, you very well might be sinking into this trap of pride.

We must walk lightly, we must walk humbly, we must speak carefully, and we must do all to the glory of God. It is our life goal to make much of God — and in doing this, we will be doing hard things.

Still To Come
// Do Hard Things In My Life // My Story of Rebelution // The Struggle of Rebelution // Holiness and the Rebelution