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Can Halloween Be Christianized?

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Finding the shadows of the evil customs of Halloween abhorrent, many Christians have sought to sanitize the holiday by integrating religious symbols with which they are more familiar and comfortable (this process is called syncretism). Some, for example, carve the name Jesus onto pumpkins and add religious phrases in the hopes of evangelizing those who go trick-or-treating.

Others have undertaken a more elaborate revision of the holiday, attempting to turn it into a harvest festival interwoven with Christian themes and devoid of its more obvious pagan overtones. Church basements are turned into carnivals featuring games, contests and, of course, candy.

What should you do in deciding how you will approach this hotly debated issue?

The fundamental argument in favor of mixing ancient pagan customs and practices with the worship of God is that some believe it is an effective way to gradually win people over to Christian understanding. (Of course, in the present world we should ask ourselves why people who already see themselves as Christian would find any need to continue associations with pagan religious customs.)

This is sometimes a hotly disputed subject, and sincere people have concluded it indeed is useful to integrate the practices of ancient religious customs with the worship of God.

But perhaps we should address a fundamental question: What does God advise?

There is a scriptural precedent that offers guidance and direction for those who accept the Bible's instruction. The Israelites were confronted with these issues as they settled and built a new nation in the Promised Land. They encountered many worshipers of pagan deities as they entered the land and for centuries faced the problem as they dealt with neighboring peoples.

Even before they entered the land, God revealed His thinking and told them how to handle this challenge. His directions were explicit: “When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed that you are not ensnared to follow them … Do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.' You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods … Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:29-32 Deuteronomy 12:29-32 29 When the LORD your God shall cut off the nations from before you, where you go to possess them, and you succeed them, and dwell in their land; 30 Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before you; and that you inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31 You shall not do so to the LORD your God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 32 What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
American King James Version×
).

God's instructions are crystal clear. He refuses to accept worship that is compromised and tainted by customs used in the worship of fraudulent religion. He expects His worshipers to revere Him in accordance with His commands, not their own imaginings.

Many centuries later the apostle Paul expressed a similar thought when correcting some in the church in Corinth for their poor judgment. “What partnership can righteousness have with wickedness?” he asked. “Can light associate with darkness? Can Christ agree with [the devil] …? Can there be a compact between the temple of God and idols? And the temple of the living God is what we are” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 14 Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part has he that believes with an infidel? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
American King James Version×
, Revised English Bible).

The modern debate over Christianizing pagan worship customs could be resolved simply by reading and heeding God's plainly expressed will.

To help you learn more about what the Bible says about Halloween, please read these online articles:

Halloween: A Celebration of Evil

How did Halloween come to be considered a “Christian” celebration? Does the Bible say anything about All Hallows' or All Saints' Day?

Halloween: Behind the Mask

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

How Did a Pagan Holiday Become a 'Christian' Celebration?

Video: Don't Kid Yourself About Halloween

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    Comments

  • koraska70

    What about the Pagan customs behind Christmas? The Christmas tree and mistletoe are Pagan customs that were intergrated into the holiday to convert Pagans into Christianity. Are we saying that the customs that we have been brought up on are all wrong and we are going to hell???

  • linda effenberger

    Halloween, Christmas and Easter as religious observances are not commanded in the Bible to keep, but similar pagan practices are addressed in God’s Word. In 1 Corinthians 10:19-21, Paul writes: “Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.”

    God reveals to us in the Bible his commanded religious observances or sacred feasts. Anything other than what God specifies is not condoned for worshipping and glorifying God, but for worshipping and glorifying demons. God does not accept mixing the two together (syncretism).

  • Charles Linden

    Gee, what a perlpexitude! I agree that the origins of Halloween has its roots in ancient idolitary ways and religions somewhat afar from those Christian manerisms however, even in today’s world most of that has been lost on commercialism not unlike Christmas and Easter holidays. Not only do these holidays not reflect religious meanings, they have ALL become totally comercilized (especially in the “western” world).
    Even in many latin countries, for example, they tend to attach religious significance to these holidays but in most instances much of these celebrations are attached to supersticious beliefs.
    But, returning to the USA, most religious meaning nhas been lost and each of these celebrations has become commercial and a “party” atmosphere surrounds them. If we simply identified them as man’s holidays, not those by God, maybe we could circumvent many of the questions that people pose about whether a holiday is “Chritian” or “Pagan”.
    As in many cases there are those who focus their energies on the occult, darker side of events (in general) and they do use these occasions to promote their particular “product” but, as with all matters that face us on a daily basis, we have the power of choice between “good” and “evil”. Which will we choose?
    God’s people should be able to identify if these are of God or if they have been posed to us by “man”. Once we have correctly idenitified the source of the event(s) we should be able to catagorize the celebration and label it appropiately keeping in mind where the holiday originates, who is promoting the holiday and for why.
    In the mean time I don’t believe a little girl wearing a “Snow White” costume reflects the desires and orientation of Lucifer simply a child with a fantasy for one evening the samne as a little boy dressing-up as “Woody” (Toy Story). So few now wear the “old” typical costumes of ghosts and devils with pitchforks and a tail. Most simply wish to fill their bag full of candy to get a stomach ache the following morning.

  • MrEasy

    Hello,

    Yes that is true, you will not see a lighted carved pumpkin on the
    front porch of a Jehovah’s Witness.

  • Gary Burke

    Thank you for this article GN. Just because we grow up with customs does not necessarily make them godly. The bible clearly states that God does not want worship of Him mixed with paganism. The author of this article does a wonderful job of pointing this out. The article demonstrates this theme in Deuteronomy 12:29-32 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-16.

    I was just learning in my personal bible study that the majority of the kingdom of Israel was ripped from the hands of King Solomon because his many pagan wives led him away from God’s true commanded practice of worship. In 1 Kings 11:6 - Solomon didn’t FULLY go after the Lord.

    This indicates to me that Solomon went after the Lord, and also other pagan gods. Isn’t keeping Halloween and other pagan customs in other holiday’s the same?

    In 1 Kings 12:28-33 Israel’s king Jeroboam makes the same mistake. He places idols up and incorporated pagan symbolism in place of, and on, a godly Holy Day (the feast of Tabernacles[Lev 23:34]). God is not understanding of incorporating pagan customs into practice. God accounts Jeroboam’s act of mixing pagan customs into his society as a sin (1Kings 12:30).

    Fortunately, for us God is a loving, and merciful God. The question koraska70 asks about going to hell, to me, is perhaps the wrong question to be dwelling on after reading this article.

    I think the correct question should be, “How can I more fully love the Lord my God with all my heart?” I know that part of the answer to that question lies in the scripture 1 John 5:3, “For this is the love of God that we keep His commandments…”.

    I for one will dwell on the instruction given to us in Deut 12 and 2 Cor 6, and will try to show my love to God accordingly. I will also keep in mind the bad examples of King Solomon and King Jeroboam, and try not to mix my worship of God with pagan customs. I will try to do this while keeping in mind that my goal is to show my love to God, not keep the traditions of men.

    Sincerely,

    Gary Burke

  • KARS

    Hi koraska70,

    Have you read our free booklet?
    Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?

    You will find it under the heading “Library” on the tool bar up
    above. Put you mouse over the word and a drop down menu will pop up.

    There you will also find a booklet about the truth about Heaven and Hell too.
    I can honestly tell you that “Dante’s Inferno” was used to scare the people into submission. Superstitions can scar alot of people as well as control them; with fear.

  • Ivan Veller

    Hi, Koraska! Here are some resources related to your question:

    • Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? http://www.ucg.org/booklet/holidays-or-holy-days-does-it-matter-which-days-we-observe/
    • Heaven and Hell: What Does the Bible Really Teach? http://www.ucg.org/booklet/heaven-and-hell-what-does-bible-really-teach/
    • Why Some Christians Don’t Celebrate Christmas: http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/why-some-christians-dont-celebrate-christmas/
    • The Top 10 Reasons Why I Don’t Celebrate Christmas: http://www.ucg.org/holidays-and-holy-days/top-10-reasons-why-i-dont-celebrate-christmas/

  • Helen West

    Halloween is a PAGAN practice and is abhorrent to God.
    I, personally, do not like Halloween, because it encourages
    children to dress up in ridiculous costumes, and go out looking for candies, and other treats, which can be dangerous if there
    are predators out there. Many children have been kidnapped by pedophiles during this particular holiday time.

  • Trevonica

    I have taught my children to be aware that the world does things differently (and often contrary) to God’s way. It is difficult to grow up in a world and not be part of it - and as such, we have tried not to place too much emphasis on celebrations such as halloween - it is just another worldly celebration that has its roots in some pagan place - and it’s not something we do or stress about. This approach works for us as a family and it allows to to live in this world and not be a part of it.

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