The best biblical image for a veil is the “torn curtain” in the Temple. It is torn in response to Jesus’ death according to Matthew. There are also the images of Rebekah and Tamar veiling themselves. Rebekah veils herself as the she meets Isaac. Tamar veils herself as she tricks Judah. Veils are meant to hide things. The first example is to hide God. The others to hide women’s faces. Another example is the veiled Moses is asked to wear because of the radiance of his face after he was with God. Whatever the situation, the veil is meant to hide the truth about something. Why Churches Disappoint Over Doubt
The Iron Curtain
The iron curtain did not exist. It was nevertheless real. It was a veil that hid the truth from both sides of the Cold War in Europe. What the people of the NATO countries knew about the Warsaw Pact was as accurate as what the people in the Warsaw Pact nations knew of the NATO countries. Each group was to be feared, hated, despised, and if need be, destroyed. Winston Churchill told Americans about the Iron Curtain. We came to believe we could point it out on maps of Europe. There were literal fences and walls involved. But the veil on the hearts of the people placed by their governments is what kept the people behind the fences. There was no mass migration from either side until 1989.
The Iron Veil
The iron veil worked by governmental and social pressure. A person who expressed real curiosity about the other side without intending to condemn the other side was considered dangerous, naive, a useful idiot, or traitorous. The Warsaw Pact countries added “mentally ill” in some cases. Even though NATO continues to exist with some former Warsaw Pact countries, the iron veil remains. It exists among others. We are suspicious, belligerent, afraid, and anxious. We are all the things we are not supposed to be. For Christians, especially evangelicals, it becomes a preoccupation with how the world is going. Many church members have come to me over the years to ask me who “the Antichrist is.” Almost always it was some geopolitical adversary of The United States.
I was a teenager when the more fringe evangelicals created a new enemy. My uncle and I were taking my sister and cousin trick or treating. They came back from one house holding a couple of booklets in their hands and looking confused. They were pamphlets telling the kids and parents how evil Halloween is. I was shocked. My uncle knew how to handle the situation. He swore and tore up the pamphlets. We dropped them in the yard hoping people coming after us would do the same.
The people giving out the pamphlets were fringe until they weren’t. Since that time churches have tried to redeem Halloween with “fall festivals, trunk or treats, and hell houses.” It is all part of the church leaders being unwilling to take on real evils. Made up evils are easier. We don’t risk anything. The iron veil allows us to assume some innocuous things (trick or treating) are evil. Our leaders who talk, think, and act like us cannot possibly be evil because they talk, think, and act like us. We are never evil. The veil keeps us from seeing. Unfortunately it does not keep us from being seen. WHY THEY BELIEVE THE LIES
The Veil Remains
I said earlier that veils hide. The biblical examples of veils hide something from others. The iron veil over our minds or hearts is how we hide ourselves from truth. Halloween is supposedly a time when the veil between worlds becomes thin. I think it should be a time when we should thin the iron veil. Be open to truths that are unfamiliar. Begin looking for saints where we have never looked before. I find I have hidden from Truth when I let the veil thin. Others should be able to do it too. The first step is to see the veil.