Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween


This is a question my church received the other day.  Here is answer that the church has written but what do you think?

“What does the Bible say about Halloween and Christians celebrating it?  Including but not limited to, trick or treating, costume parties and the like.”


The Bible never mentions Halloween.  Therefore it does not specifically tell us how Christians should relate to this day.  This has resulted in Christians coming to different conclusions as they seek to take the Bible seriously.  There are two streams of thought regarding this issue: 1) Avoid Halloween.  2) Engage in Halloween with discernment.

Avoid Halloween
Some Christians have nothing to with Halloween because they are convinced that this day is a celebration of evil.  It appears that the origins of Halloween began with the Celtic celebration of Samhain.  This was a pagan festival in which, among other things, focused on warding off evil spirits and ghosts.  Even today there seems to be a certain fascination with darkness and evil that is part of Halloween.  The Bible does teach that we should not participate in evil.

Engagement in Halloween with discernment
Many Christians believe that we can engage in Halloween with discernment.  Halloween may have begun as a pagan festival but today, some 1500 years later, it is radically different.  While there is a fascination with evil, many of the things done on Halloween are not evil in and of themselves.  There is nothing wrong with dressing up, or giving out (getting) candy, throwing parities…  Christians who hold this view believe that we can redeem even parts of Halloween and bring God’s light into this dark time.  There is a level of discernment that needs to take place.  The Bible does teach us not to fear evil but overcome it with good.

Conclusion
We believe that this is a family decision, not something that the church decides.  Each family may choose differently.  Some may avoid Halloween completely, others may just hand out candy, while others may attend Halloween alternatives (South Park MB hosts one – Winkler Bible Camp used, not sure about this year), and still others may have parties and allow their kids to trick or treat.

6 comments:

Matthew said...

Are you actually looking for a comment? The question, "What do you think?" denotes an expected response.

Ben said...

I am totally hoping for comments.

Greg said...

Good balanced treatment Ben.

Where our family has landed on this issue is that. In current day this celebration focuses on death and fear which I believe to be the opposites of life and Love. Since our approach is fundamentally one of life and love, we don't want to sanction the celebration by supporting it through candy distribution or financial incentives for retailers doing Halloween promotions. We don't go begging door to door, we don't do scary pranks. What we do is enjoy a family time together and (when I am reminded) I offer prayer for my neighborhood that the violence and mischief would be suppressed. We do let our kids dress up for the school costume parade. Just like we expect all the athiests to participate in the school Easter pageant. OK totally joking in that last sentence there is no Easter pageant and I put no expectations on others for how they live their lives.

Ben said...

Greg that is great that you guys have wrestled with this issue and have decided what you will do. Personally my family has probably done different things every year in regards to Halloween. But one thing I think has been good and productive is to invite my children into the decision making process. After all my goal is not simply to give them rules but to teach them how to discern.

Pastor Dan said...

I look at it this way - many of our beloved pseudo-Christian symbols have as questionable origins as Halloween; including the Christmas tree and Easter eggs. Furthermore, Christmas is on the 25 of December because of sun worship. Easter is where it is because of moon worship. So if we are going to boycott Halloween then Christmas and Ester need to be thrown out as well.

Ben said...

Dan I agree with you that what took place 1600 years ago should not be the final determining factor in what we do today.
We need to decide our involvement based in what is happening presently.
Of course this means that I am not convinced of the logic that says I'm not going to base my decision on the past so I can freely engage in Halloween today.