Paganism Is Popular Because It Is Profitable - Prime Example: Halloween

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Paganism Is Popular Because It Is Profitable - Prime Example


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Americans are frightened by the ongoing recession, but, ironically, a large percent are not afraid to spend pretty scary amounts for Halloween!

Incredibly, seven in 10 Americans plan on celebrating the holiday this year—almost 5 percent more than last year—according to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.

The expected expenditures total $6.86 billion! That includes $1 billion on children’s costumes, $1.21 billion on adult costumes, and $310 million on pet costumes.

The average consumer is expected to spend $72.31 on decorations, costumes and candy.

According to the NRF, the amount spent each year on Halloween decorations is second only to spending on Christmas décor.

That’s the “bottom line”! The pagan holidays are “popular” because they make a lot of money for a lot of people.

But as consumers, we need to do some re-thinking. What a person chooses to spend his money on says a lot about his priorities, principles and beliefs.

And what source can we rely on to help us formulate the best priorities, principles and beliefs? The Bible, God’s Guidebook for humanity.

Please don’t be satisfied with what you’ve learned at church about the Bible. I grew up going to church almost every Sunday and eventually realized I had learned very little about the Bible, and much of what I thought I had learned was false! When I began to read the Bible for myself, I was amazed at what I was learning!

Some history that helps explain Halloween-type practices

How did America transform from almost no one observing pagan holidays in the 18th century to almost everyone observing them in the 20th century?

The industrial revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries and the technological revolution of the 20th century greatly raised the average living standard and brought about many other benefits. But they also paved the way for the many materialistic and expensive traditions.

To observe pagan holidays, think of how much is spent for decorations, parties, costumes, gifts (often obligatory “gifts”), greeting cards, wrapping paper, music, “adult beverages,” etc., etc. The modern mass-production of all these things makes them highly profitable for the manufacturers and retailers.

But what motivates people to buy? It is largely the power of advertising. These holidays have been highly commercialized because they are big money-makers. We are bombarded with advertising from seemingly everywhere. It’s difficult not to be brainwashed by all of that ubiquitous influence.

Then the peer pressure is huge. It seems like everyone is celebrating these days. And since it seems that everyone is spending lots of money on attractive stuff, we are made to feel like cheapskates if we don’t do the same. It seems downright un-American to consider doing anything else. Ask yourself: Would you ever dream of wasting your time and money on Halloween-type stuff if you weren’t surrounded by a culture doing these silly things?

It’s especially amazing to see how adult parties and costumes have soared in popularity during the last several years.

Pagan religions have always emphasized idols and images, whereas God forbids those things. God emphasizes truth through the spoken and written word. Therefore pagan religions have always been opportunities for profitable merchandising.

A fascinating illustration is in Acts 19:23-41. The preaching by the apostle Paul in Ephesus led to many turning away from the worship of Diana to the worship of God. This hurt the business of the silversmiths who made silver shrines of Diana. Demetrius stirred up the other silversmiths and a riot erupted that almost got Paul killed.

The 18th chapter of Revelation describes the downfall of the evil end-time system called Babylon. It will be an economic, political, religious and military system. Let’s notice why the merchants of the that system will be mourning its downfall.

“And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore” (Revelation 18:11). “The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing” (verse 15). Thus we see what their main motivation will be. Their real god will be money.

Some conclusions

Observing the biblical festivals generally involves fun social and recreational activities, travel and gift-giving, but a major reason for their lack of popularity is that their observance doesn’t generate much financial profit for anyone. Therefore, there is virtually no advertising, etc.

Let’s remember this admonition from Paul: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:10-11).

The Bible warns that greed and covetousness are sinful. On the other hand, the Bible exhorts us to be seeking the spiritual riches.

The pagan holidays are popular largely because they are financially profitable.

God’s Holy Days are spiritually profitable.

I encourage you to read the booklet, Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe?


  • Lena VanAusdle
    Hi XCGFriend, I'm sorry that you seem to have had a bad experience when it comes to the celebrating of the Feast of Tabernacles. While abundance and joy are aspects of celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles (and rightly so according to Deuteronomy 14:23-26). However, this is not what the Feast of Tabernacles is all about. It's also about serving others (volunteering for various things such as captioning for the deaf, special music, organizing family days), some Feast sites also perform community outreach projects (Jekyll Island has donated goods to a local women's shelter, Puerto Vallarta brethren donated to and visited a school for the deaf). The Feast is also about learning about God, His way, and His plan for all humanity (church services every morning and twice on the Holy Days), and spending time with family. Do some people choose to observe the Feast in an inappropriate manner? Sometimes. People are people, they make mistakes. But denigrating an entire observance or a group of people based on the behavior of the few is not necessarily an appropriate response.
  • XCG Friend

    The commercialization of celebration is by no means limited to holidays with pagan overtones. But Christmas gets the royal treatment because it is a holiday centered around a tradition of gift giving. And a holiday about gift-giving might as well be called "Commercemas."

    Still, I think it's a bit disingenuous to say that God's holy days are unpopular because they are unprofitable. If the Feast of Tabernacles was as widely observed as Christmas, it would make Christmas look like Groundhog Day in comparison, commercially speaking.

    Christmas is one day. The FOT lasts 8 days (or as many as 12 if you count travel time). Most people keep Christmas at home. The FOT requires people to travel and live away from their homes for 8-12 days. Christmas expenditures are mainly gifts, food, and decorations. But observance of the FOT entails not only gift shopping but also 8-12 days of expensive dining at restaurants as well as buying a lot of tickets to expensive recreational activities.

    Within the small community that observes it, the FOT is every bit as commercialized as Christmas, and the focus is every bit as much on the material side of things. In fact, the Church expressly condones this perspective by teaching that the true meaning and purpose of the holy day is to portray the coming happiness, abundance, and prosperity of the Millenium.

    Yet almost everyone would agree that the world would probably be happier, healthier, friendlier, more spiritual, and less greedy if it was not awash in so many material goods. Surely God knows this. Perhaps, then, the world He brings will not be MORE brimful of goods and good times but LESS so. Maybe the Millenium will be a world of small farmers and artisans, not a great industrialized world of big business that cranks out enormous quantities of every conceivable good to satisfy every possible taste or craving.

    In that case--and the opinion here that commercialization detracts from the spirituality of our holidays suggests that this indubitably IS the case--ought not the Church portray the coming Millenium much differently? Instead of posh hotels in resort towns, meals at expensive restaurants, and shopping, maybe members should strive to portray a World Tomorrow that is poorer in material goods but richer in depicting the results of Christ's return: the poor fed, the sick healed, and those that mourn comforted.

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