Halloween – Part II
Well, today is the big day. Halloween is here and according to some Christians, and some neo-pagans, it is the big day for the occult. While the two sides agree on the importance of the day they obviously differ on whether or not they see this as good or bad. So should we celebrate with the pagans or mourn with the conservative Christians about how this day is dragging our country back to a pagan past?
Let’s start with the basics. Yes, this celebration as we know it today has the dreaded “pagan roots.” There is no question that you can trace aspects of the day back to pre-Christian Celtic festivals. The question here is so what? Christmas too has incorporated formerly pagan traditions and don’t get me started on Easter. This is only a problem if you think that God runs a patent office. If you think that the first guy who thought something up “owns” all future celebrations of the event up then you are probably best off not thinking about Halloween.
But I see no evidence either from Scripture or history that supports this. There are plenty of warnings in the Bible about practicing pagan worship but none that tells me we can’t place our own over the top of the old stuff. Early Christian writers seemed glad to lay church activities over old pagan ones, deeming them to obliterate the old. How some modern Christians have developed a phobia about this puzzles me.
The oddest thing in all this hoopla is that neo-pagans and conservative Christians end up singing from the same hymn book. They both shout “This day is pagan.” Sure, on the second verse of that song they differ, with the pagans being happy and the Christians being terrified, but it still strikes me as strange that they agree that Halloween was, and therefore still is, all about worshiping Satan. But was it?
Actually both sides make the same idiotic blunder. If we could go back and talk to an ancient Celt about Samhain and ask him why he set aside a day to worship evil spirits he would look at you as if you were crazy. He might say something like this:
Worship? Are you nuts? We are terrified of evil spirits! We will do anything possible to ward them off. That is why we carve those turnips, to scare them away.
He might also go on to tell you that they are also celebrating the harvest, which they were. But to an ancient Celt the idea that Samhain was started to worship evil would be preposterous. Today, anyone, pagan or Christian, who thinks the kids dressing up and asking for candy tonight are doing the same is equally wrong. I am more of a mind to agree with the old series Buffy the Vampire Slayer which did an episode about Halloween. They concluded that Halloween night was the only night the vampires were not out! There were simply too many happy little kids running around out there spoiling their fun.
But hey, if you are still worried I have another idea for you. Today is also Reformation Day, the anniversary of the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of the church in Wittenburg, Germany. Maybe if you’d rather celebrate that day you can dress up like Martin Luther and go around hanging copies of the 95 Thesis on your neighbor’s doors. My only suggestion is that, if you do, use tape and not a hammer and nails.