Happy Halloween

“I like this amusing bit from Southern Baptist theologian Russell Moore” is not a phrase that often appears on this blog, but I like this amusing bit from Southern Baptist theologian Russell Moore:

An evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for Halloween.

A conservative evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for the church’s “Fall Festival.” …

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Moore’s colleague, SBC Archbishop Al Mohler, isn’t amused by Halloween at all. His meandering post fretting about the holiday is most notable for this kind of rhetoric:

But television’s It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (which debuted in 1966) has given way to Hollywood’s “Halloween” series and the rise of violent “slasher” films. Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff have been replaced by Michael Myers and Freddy Kruger.

I swear, these culture-warriors haven’t bothered updating their pop-culture references in decades.

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Pat Robertson isn’t joking around about Halloween either:

In a special segment ahead of Halloween this year, Robertson warned viewers that even though scary movies are “fake,” they are still “demonic” and will definitely “haunt you,” then stressed that committing a sin, like watching one, is actually just like playing Russian Roulette … with your soul.

“You don’t want to open yourself up to demonic influence,” he said, answering a viewer’s question about scary movies on television. “You begin to be entranced by it. You begin to come in to it. The next thing you know, you’re going one step beyond. The devil is very subtle and very sly.”

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Tom Doyle on Emmett Coyne’s The Theology of Fear:

The Church is not about those who control it nor is it about sustaining a power and money-hungry monarchy. The monarchical system has created a toxic dependence between its laws, structures, rituals and customs and the millions of believers. They have become emotionally dependent on this theology of fear and must find radical liberation to have a true experience of Christianity. Coyne’s book should be the opening of the door to spiritual freedom for the many who have been controlled by the Church-driven yet totally inauthentic visions of an angry, vengeful and fear-filled God. The author’s countless examples of this theology of fear, where it comes from, how it retains power and how it devours the souls of good people are all solidly grounded in history and theology. This is not an emotional rant. It is a solid, factual description of what is, in the hope that by seeing what is will lead to freedom from fear and an experience of the Church as it should be and as it is described in the life of Christ found in the gospels.

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I really, really, REALLY wanted something unexplainable to happen. I’m a little bit Scully and a little bit Mulder like that. The ghost hunter groups were very nice and friendly, and most of the people who showed up really didn’t know what to expect. We were split off into two groups and out group wandered off to one of the small conference rooms to begin our “hunt.”

— Skepchick, “A Skeptic on a Ghost Hunt

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• Happy Halloween … from Jack Chick (HAW HAW HAW!).

“They do not, however, have much love in general for anybody who can claim Luther as their spiritual ancestor. …”

• Happy Halloween from the Feminist Agenda.

Peter Montgomery reviews the anti-Halloween options for conservative Christians, from Jesusween to the Hell House Experience to Reformation Day parties.

• “Under FDR, government stepped in and changed peoples’ lives, not just the big stuff like protecting your money and providing jobs, but even expressing concern for families because back then, people understood that the future of our country depended on the future of our children.”

• “The Hallowe’en of Ray Bradbury’s childhood memories is almost as foreign to us now as the Christmas of Dickens’ memories.”

• Barry Levinson set out to make a documentary about the frightening destruction of the Chesapeake Bay. Once he realized that a documentary film might not be enough of a wake-up call, he switched gears, presenting the same story as “a low-budget gross-out in the vein of recent horror hits like the Paranormal Activity franchise.” Maybe the most effective way to tell a scary story is to tell a scary story.

• “Which kids will steal your Halloween candy? There’s a study for that.”

• Richard Beck rounds up his ghost-, vampire- and monster-related posts. Quite a collection.

• Christine Hoff Kraemer on “Reclaiming Halloween’s religious roots.”

• “The Great Thing about Doctor Who Halloween Costumes.”

• “Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

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  • Turcano

     Ooh, stale candy.  Yay?

  • Yep.  Same thing happened to me a few years ago.

  • christopher_young
  • Carstonio

    As much as I detest the bashing of religious belief by anti-theists, Pat Robertson’s talk about demons sounds like plain superstition to me.

  • It wasn’t stale. Which is kind of creepy. Lots of preservatives in that stuff. But nope, not stale at all. It’s not like I saved the candy corn. Actually, it’s not like I ate the candy corn: too sweet for me.

  • There is a difference between deep religious and spiritual belief and superstition. It’s one that very many Christians used to take pains to highlight, denouncing ideas like belief in demons and witches as holdovers from the old dark days when we didn’t know as much about the world as we do now. 

  • Carstonio

     Thanks. Would it be fair to say that Christians who warn of demonic possession from things like Halloween or Slayer or Harry Potter have actually taken a step backward?

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Slightly less believable & well-written than the version where he turns into a bat, I’m afraid.

  • I ran the Warrior Dash a couple years ago dressed as a redshirt.  Little did I suspect the pants and boots would absorb so much muddy water as to make the last leg excruciatingly hard.

    I still have the outfit, in case of emergency costume party.

  • Tricksterson

    You should have gone as Judith so you could carry around the severed head of Holofernes.  “But Mom!  It’s Biblical!”

  • Tricksterson

    Ha!  Reminds me of a LARP weekend where a friend of mine went as a white lioness.  Unfortunately she came off looking much more like a white mouse.  Didn’t help that she was quite full of herself which provoked everyone into teasing her.

  • Nicanthiel

    That was very powerful to read, as one who is basically a cementhead when it comes to sensing Other stuff. Thank you for sharing.