In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

How do you look at celebrating Halloween?

Have you ever noticed that we're not all the same?

There really can be things that two people of Faith feel differently regarding.

The apostle Paul addressed this whole issue in
1 Corinthians 8:4-15. Specifically, in this passage Paul is referring to meal offered to idols. In that time people sacrificed animals to specific idols and people could later purchase that meat to use for eating. Some Believers felt it was wrong to eat that meat because they felt like it would be worshiping those idols. Other Believers thought that since they were not eating the meat for the purpose of anything other than food, it was fine to go ahead and eat it. Paul tells the Believers that of course the meat means nothing and pointed out in the end of verse 8 that:

"We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do."

Then Paul goes on to say that we need to be careful as people of Faith to look out not only for ourselves, but also for others. If a Believer, by eating that meat that was sacrificed to idols, would cause another Believer to stumble, even though there was really nothing wrong with doing it, than it should be avoided. In verse 9 Paul says:

"But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble."

I find similarities in this situation to many of the current festive celebrations that we have today that had pagan roots - such as Halloween.

Although Halloween's origins were pagan, just like the meat sacrificed to idols, that is not what I see being celebrated by most Americans today. For most of us, Halloween is about young children getting to wear fun costumes and get candy. I do not see celebrating Halloween as harmful to my faith. But I know some very wonderful Christian brothers and sisters that do.

In an attempt to address this issue in the same kind of spirit that Paul describes in the 1 Corinthians 8:4-15 passage, many Christian churches try to provide alternate, fun, child centered activities close to the day of Halloween. You'll see an abundance of things titled "Harvest Festival", "Fall Fun Days", etc. at this time of year at many Christian churches. The church that I attended when I used to live in a large, urban, area used to have a huge fall carnival on Halloween night every year. Children could dress up if they chose, and there were lots of fun booths that were manned by volunteers. I volunteered at that carnival, and my sons attended it, most of the years I lived in that area and it was a lot of fun. Hundreds of local people enjoyed the fun and safety for their little ones.

What about you, do you think it's OK for Christians to celebrate Halloween? Why or Why not?


Jenn said...

I love your post and how you approached this subject. Well done!

For me...I really do not care for Halloween...partially because of beliefs and partially because I've never enjoyed "beggars night."

I do like doing things like going to corn mazes, hay rides and attending the Pumpkin show. And yes, my kids do dress up and go out on trick or treat night with my husband. I see it as something they can enjoy with him...some Daddy bonding time. :)



David-FireAndGrace said...

Popular topic in the blog-o-sphere.

I wrote my take on it, and so did Tony C. and Matt Appling.

Though I do not forbid my family from participating, we have some rules.

No demonic costumes, death etc. They can trick-or-treat with neighbors they know.

I prefer alternatives - on a different date. We are either the same, or we are not. Despite most holidays having pagan roots, this one does not center around a biblical event like Christmas or Easter. As Christians we might be better off celebrating the Jewish festivals as a "spiritual" feast. Certainly there is no requirement.

I don't think that we should avoid culture, and we give out candy as a way of meeting the neighbors.

As Christians we need to be careful. The context for the verse you provided also includes this.

1 Corinthians 8:13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

In the end, it simply best to hear God and do it - whatever that is for each family.

JPaula said...

Very well done! I grew up in a very strong Christian home and we celebrated every year. We made costumes, did the parades at school, parties at church or neighbors homes, and went trick-or-treating. One year we made costumes out of cardboard. I was a mustard jar, my sister was ketchup, and my brothers were coke and pepsi. We didn't see Halloween as a "pagan" holiday-it was just a day to dress up and get candy. It wasn't until I was older that I found the history of the day. My family is still firm in our beliefs, and we still enjoy the day-mostly by volunteering in a fall festival, watching children dressed up in fun costumes play games and getting candy

Michelle said...

I believe this whole thing falls under the Christian liberty found later in Romans 14. We personally do not choose to participate in any of the above mentioned holidays. It was initially because of pagan roots, but in light of the scripture you used...we realized we are not offering "meat" up to the pagan gods that don't even exist. Instead, we viewed the holidays as a whole and have tried to see how God can be glorified in those days. We avoid Christmas gifting and trees, etc. We still believe God does not want us to worship Him the way the pagan gods were worshipped. (Who can bring a clean thing out of the unclean?)We find most of these celebrations encourage self-centered and self-indulgenet behavior...things that we as adults may be able to control but our more immature children are not able to. Therefore, we don't get overly involved yet attempt to not judge others who do. Simply, we attempt to glorify God in all things.

bingkee said...

I'm a Christian (evangelical) and in our church , we believe it's not okay to celebrate Halloween. I know there are so many Christian churches celebrating alternate celebrations for kids. But because,I myself is skeptical and critical of the origins of Halloween, and being "grossed out" by a day commemorating skulls, witches and the devil, I do not practice this even before I became a born-again Christian.
I wrote a similar topic about this last year.
Here's the link of my post---

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