Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hypocrisy and Halloween

Yesterday Charles posted the article, "Christians and Halloween."

Someone who did not give their name posted this comment:

ANYONE who does not celebrate Halloween due to “Pagen” startings have no right celebrating

Easter Bunnies
Halloween, Easter bunny & rainbows, Christmas elf, raindeer ect.. & Easter bunny sales

Candy, holiday clothing, enjoying scary monster movies, shopping during holiday sales anything to do with Halloween & Christams is still celebrating the holiday. To say any different makes you hipercritical.

If you want to be “a good Christian” don’t be a hipercritical ass and celebrate and enjoy the benefits of the holiday in sneaky ways.

Wow, I see this person has some strong feelings about the subject. The comments made me ask myself, How does Hypocrisy and Halloween relate?

I recorded a response to the comment and to my question.

You can listen here:

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> posted by Trevor Hammack at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trevor posted an informative presentation on the origins of the holidays of Halloween, Christmas, and Easter. He clarified the distinction that Halloween has specific pagan origins while Christmas and Easter do not, although they have become quite pagan and secular.

In fact, Christmas is just one example of how American Christians have become more materialistic. And this brings up the reminder that Christians should influence the culture and not the culture influence Christians, but I don’t want to digress that far. But let me quickly add that I do like experiencing the joy of giving (not just getting) that does in fact come with Christmas.

Also, Trevor defined and thus somewhat distinguished between hypocrisy and inconsistency. And he pointed out how many Christians are often one or the other.

This is leading me to reconsider my own holiday traditions and examine how intermingled my own life has become with pagan and secular things. Inconsistence in Christians, and in all people, is more common, yet unnoticed, than many realize. So for Christians it is even more important to deal with not just outright hypocrisy in our individual lives but also inconsistence. Disclaimer: That won’t be easy.

Now, it seems to become quite wearisome to have to deal with these sorts of matters, or to ask every single year questions like “should I do this or not or how much?” over a repeating issue like Halloween. Even I get tired of it. So my main point in my previous comments on the Halloween post were to lighten up the issue and not make a big deal out of it.

I don’t think a Christian participating in Satanism or Paganism is a light issue! But I also don’t think that for many people that Halloween is “so evil.” But I really could be wrong on that. You see, I tend to think of Halloween mostly as kids merely dressing up for fun and getting free candy! So it seems quite simple and harmless. But I was recently reminded of the many horror movies and dark practices that do accompany this decidedly pagan holiday. So now I’m reconsidering the level of involvement a Christian should have in Halloween if any, but I still retain the same caveat to not make a big deal out of it.

As for Easter and Christmas I won’t add much but to say that one thing my family has started to do is to break from the tradition we were raised in of buying tons of presents for each other, like 10 or more whopping gifts! There are two reasons for this: One is strictly financial. Buying tons of gifts costs tons of money. (And credit card debt is not desirable). The other reason is based on the example in the Bible of the three wise men bringing Jesus gifts. Jesus received one gift from each wise man for a total of three gifts. So we thought it would be good to model that as a way to avoid being materialistic, avoid gong into debt, and to remind us of the Biblical account of Jesus’ birth since that is what Christmas means to a Christian. So we want to only give each other 3 gifts, not tons of gifts.

Now some may say that still mixes too much with the pagan version of Christmas because you’re still buying gifts like everybody else. In this case I’d say: One, Christmas’ origins, that is the celebrating of Christ’s birth, are decidedly Christian, not pagan, as Christ’s birth is found in the Bible and that account includes the giving of gifts so maybe it’s ok to do that. Two, pagans drink eggnog at Christmas and so do I, and eggnog is not in the Bible. Does that make me a hypocrite to drink it? I don’t ask that sarcastically by the way. So the act of buying gifts is not evil. Even Jesus said in Acts that it’s better to give than to receive. So why not buy gifts for the ones we love? I think what’s crucial is the motive behind it and the way you do it. Just don’t let it become materialistic like the culture. And I think if we do that as a reminder of what the wise men did for Jesus, then we’ll in a way be “redeeming” the celebration of Christmas back from what culture has turned it into.

Finally, back to Halloween. The most I do to celebrate that is to have candy available at my door just in case a kid comes trick-or-treating. I don’t think I need to make a big deal out of it and keep my porch light off to ward off any would-be sugar-holics. I don’t plan to allow my own kids to go trick-or-treating though (they’re not old enough yet) even though I did as a kid (we just were not allowed to dress up as gross or scary things). But maybe I’ll reconsider and simply not even have candy…it wouldn’t hurt. No biggy either way. As for celebrating the Reformation, that’s pretty new to me. But there’s one more thing I get to celebrate on Halloween, and that is my own birthday. I love Fall, and I love the outdoors, so my family’s tradition has been to go camping for my birthday! So we are usually not home for trick-or-treaters anyways.

I hope this may help anyone considering their Christian stance on the holidays. I’m open to discussion if you’ll have the patience and gentleness to bear with me where I may struggle to deal with my own inconsistencies.

October 22, 2008 at 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, in case anyone is concerned, my egg-nog is non-alchoholic. :)

October 22, 2008 at 12:56 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Excellent clip. Couldn't have been more clear, actually. But I agreed before I listened.
Thanks for telling it boldly like it is.

October 22, 2008 at 9:24 PM  

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