The Real Reason Some Christians Oppose Halloween

Internet Monk indicated that the roots of the anti-Halloween movement are in a deception. But why was and is the nonsensical idea that children dressed in costumes are the front line of a war with the forces of evil taken seriously?

I think the reason is because American Christians want to be deceived in this way. It is a self-deception.

Christians are reminded time and again by their Scriptures that they are to be at war with evil. But most American Christians are too intricately entwined with the roots of the problem, and too far away from those in need of a solution, and much too comfortable, to ever really engage evil: injustice, oppression, poverty, starvation, human trafficking, war. Tackling such real problems and offering real solutions would take a sacrificial investment of time, energy and money that most Christians in the United States are not willing to give.

I think that is why so many gravitate towards treating things that are or should be non-issues as though they are Satanic ploys. It allows us to persuade ourselves that we are “fighting the good fight” while the real scary monsters are allowed free reign.

The image on the left is what should scare us. And because it scares us so much, we put it out of our minds and pretend the real enemy is in the image on the right, not the causes of the suffering in the image on the left.

Shame on us if we do that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.w.morehead John W. Morehead

    I would agree with this sentiment as applied to Christians in America and the Two-Thirds World. However, since most of Christianity’s growth and membership is now found in the latter, perhaps they can bring a critique of their Western brethren.

  • Angie VanDeMerwe

    And if Americans don’t care, then, we are going to be made to care, is that the message?
     Justice is only about care and equality, not liberty? How are those that oppose Halloween with scare tactics of demons and threats of “God’s judgment” or “evil spirits”, any different from those that suppose that those that don’t do anything about “their pet project”, evil?
    Most of us have concerns, as there are so many in the world, but are we allowed the liberty about where we will be concerned? Or is that to be regulated by government or some other entity?

  • http://twitter.com/jasonstaples Jason Staples

    If opposition to things like Halloween are correlated with lesser concern with bigger problems of evil, it would follow that Christians who do not oppose Halloween are more likely to be concerned with injustice, oppression, poverty, war, starvation, human trafficking, etc.?

    That would be an interesting sociological study; perhaps someone can arrange for the data to be collected. I’d like to see it.

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    So would I – it could make for an interesting project for someone!

  • Brian

    Thank you James for this post, I am most appreciative you were able to express my concern in such clear language. It’s sad how the real injustices are ignored for non issues, hopefully we wake up soon.

  • Jkilmon

    Ours is still a very immature and adolescent society.  Seeing “satan” in children in costumes and playing trick or treat is part of the religious arrogance that allows them to ignore their own self-centeredness.  Evil is when people are hurt by the actions of others and Halloween never did that even when it was Samhain (“SOW-an”) for pre-Christian Celts.

    shlama Ya’aqub

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  • Chris

    Good post, sir…truly we in “civilized” worlds have very screwed up views…and it’s so easy to point a finger at whomever you wish for the fault or evils – but the best thing would be to remember the three fingers pointed back.

    And if I may paraphrase Jesus: take care of your own (large) issues, before you help someone with their (minor) ones.

    I’m Christian, and I love Halloween!

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  • Anonymous

    While you are absolutely right to call our attention to starving children with the picture you provided, your overall post was a cheap shot at many people who sincerely question the value of celebrating Halloween.  I say “cheap” because the picture you provide (the adorable tyke in the cute animal costume) is hardly representative of the images we usually encounter at Halloween.  And you know that.

    Moreover, things are getting worse.  When I was a child, Halloween was the province of children.  Adults have been increasingly getting into the act.  And the ghoulishness of most Halloween images commonly shown on tv and in other media as the holiday approaches would surely distress the very child you have pictured in the animal costume.

    You are a smart man, and your argument here is not worthy of you.

    By the way, an estimated $7B was spent on Halloween this year.  That works out to $72 per person.  How far would that money have gone if applied to starving child for whom you profess concern?  
    (http://wp.me/p1eZz8-uj)

  • Vincent Wong

    I would say that to focus on one’s “rights” rather than on one’s
    responsibility is symptomatic of the current post-modern, post-Enlightenment
    mindset. Christians are not “at liberty” in the casual sense of
    “liberty” we are “slaves to righteousness”. If you see that
    Halloween *symbolizes* evil, so be it…
    … but as Jesus said to the pharisees in
    his seven woes, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and
    Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and
    cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice,
    mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without
    neglecting the former.” (matt 23:23)

    To choose to oppose Halloween for its symbolic meaning is one thing, to do so at the expense of “the more important matters of the law” (which is not abolished as a statement of God’s will – see matt 5:17), which are “justice,
    mercy and faithfulness” is simply being a “hypocrite”.


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