The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association
 


Halloween in the United States - Is It Worth It?
by Jim Josephsen

A recent Gallup Poll reported that a little more than three-quarters of Americans identify themselves as Christian. In total, 82% of Americans say they have some form of religious association. The remaining 18% claim no religious affiliation.

The following breakdown reveals the various religious affiliations with which Americans declare themselves associated. Twenty-three point six percent declare themselves Catholic; whereas 52.5% have declared themselves as Protestant or other non-Catholic. Continuing with those outside the traditional Christian circle, 1.9% of Americans have declared themselves as Mormon; 1.6% as Jewish; 0.5% Muslim; 2.4% in the category of other non-Christian; 15% of no religion/atheist/agnostic and 2.5% gave no response.

In 1990, Christians within the United States made up 86% of the population. Today, some 22 years later, as the recent Gallup Poll highlights, only 76.1% of Americans claim themselves to be Christian. The reality of these statistics points out the fact that the United States is not as Christian a nation as it once was.

Reading the Christian Bible, comparing the holidays of pagan societies to the Holy Days of God; and further looking at the celebrations God declares as honorable in His sight, contrasting them with the holiday celebrations observed in the United States, the reader should be convinced that the United States is not very Christian or God-fearing at all. Looking at the history of the United States and its holiday celebrations (Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc.), one may venture to ask: Has the United States ever been a completely Christian nation, faithful to the Words of God?

In American, over the past century, Halloween has developed into a unique fall holiday that is not just for kids any more. Halloween has become the party holiday of adults and parents; with some parties too weird and perverted to give mention. When you think of Halloween, you conjure up thoughts of candy and treats, bobbing for apples, kids dressed up in costumes, adults dressed up in risqué and provocative outfits, ghosts, things that go bump in the night, jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treating, haunted houses and devilish stuff. Americans love Halloween, spending approximately $8 billion annually on this holiday alone.

Early in the first week of October, it is easy for you to see in neighborhoods across America, trees on which a body-figure hangs on a noose; or orange orbs, pumpkins and cats hanging from branches. Even more, you can easily see makeshift cemeteries on front lawns, and windows of homes and apartments alike, decorated with witches, vampires, zombies, werewolves, ghosts, pumpkins and devil heads. Just as Christmas with its annual pageantry has its decorations plastered across America in December, so too has Halloween in October.

The history and origin of Halloween should come as no surprise. From bookstores to the internet, one can learn all about this day; from its Celtic origins to all the themes and trappings associated with it.

The origins of Halloween go back to the ancient Celtic tribes who lived in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. For these peoples, November 1st marked the beginning of a new year. On the night before, October 31st, these people celebrated in worship of Samhain, the Lord of the Dead. When the Romans conquered the Celts, they added some of their homegrown celebrations to the Samhain celebration. The Romans bobbed for apples while drinking cider in worship of Pomona, the goddess of the orchards.

Additionally, the touches of Catholicism gave this pagan holiday a more honorable meaning, when in 835; Pope Gregory IV moved the Catholic celebration for all martyrs which occurred on May 13th to November 1st, the day called All Saints Day. The night before, October 31st, was called All Hallow’s Evening or Holy Evening, eventually called Halloween. The purpose for the change was to incorporate the pagan practices of these Celts into celebrations of Catholicism, thereby creating a win-win situation. Jesus would be served and so would be the gods of the pagans. Both the Celtic dead and the Catholic dead would be honored and celebrated. Much like El Dia de los Muertos, the dead are celebrated. Where in the Bible do we read that God requires the dead to be worshipped?

By the mid-1800s, many Irish immigrants, settling in the United States, brought with them their Catholic sponsored Halloween practices, which were easily inculcated into the American way of life. By the early 1900s, the Halloween celebration starting taking on a more communal and commercial flare. Like Easter and Christmas, Halloween, in these United States of America, has taken on a strongly commercial and marketing flavor, as the religious elements have regressed. But then again we ask, what is religious, and more so, what is Biblical about Halloween?

Halloween is deeply ingrained in the culture of the United States, especially with the influences of TV and cinema over the past 60 years. The ever-increasing acceptance of Halloween is yet one more example of a fundamental problem that is plaguing this so-called Christian nation. It is more evident than ever that the attitude of Americans with regard to Halloween is they really do not care if Halloween is pagan, or Catholic, or Christian. Halloween is a day of fun for the kids and adults alike. As the polls reflect, especially in the 18 to 30 year old range, more individuals are rejecting their Christian ties, seeing the hypocrisy of their parent’s religions, gravitating to a more open, hedonistic, and self-satisfying life style, with no fear of or obedience toward God.

The facts of Halloween are obvious, readily available; as anything from simple children’s stories about the Celts, and jack-o-lantern to academic theses examining the origins of all the elements that make up Halloween, can be read. Our modern technology allows us to read massive amounts of materials simply in the palm of our hands. The information is available; but do people care to know?

It seems evident that Halloween celebrants enjoy getting scared, getting drunk, letting loose, reveling, engaging in parties, celebrating, going trick or treating, in many cases engaging in debauchery and satisfying the self more than understanding why they do what they do and if it really edifies society. Why does this, as so-called, Christian nation, celebrate Halloween, when all the constituent parts point back to pagan origins and questionable Catholic practices?

Does it matter what Americans do? Being more specific, does it matter what those who claim Christ (you know, Christians), do as it pertains to Halloween?

Jesus Christ made a statement centuries ago, which is no less profound and condemning today, as it was back then, when spoken by His lips. Christ, the one who Christians admire stated, “Well hath Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men” (Mark 7:6-7 KJV). The Living Bible translation puts it this way, “.”Their worship is a farce, for they replace God’s commands with their own man-made teachings.”

How ironic it is, of the United States in particular, and of those individuals who call themselves Christian. The evidence is convincing, overwhelming. The origins of Halloween are steeped in pagan worship and superstition and Catholic doctrine, none of which can be found in the Word of God, the Bible.

Halloween is yet one more example of a teaching, of a cultural behavior that cannot be supported by the Bible. Halloween would never be and has never been sanctioned or approved by God; it is not one of His Holy Days, which He commands His people to observe. Halloween is a command, a doctrine, a teaching, a celebration man-made, Satan inspired and destructive to the celebrants and to the nation that observes it.

It is ironic, that the United States of America, a so-called Christian country, a nation claiming to be God’s people, as the banner is raised, “one nation under God,” would celebrate Halloween. God has something to say of His people. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge I will reject you as my priests: because you have ignored the laws of your God, I will also ignore your children (Hosea 4:6).

By lacking the knowledge of God and His truth; by lacking knowledge as it pertains to the common so-called Christian holidays and what they really are; by ignoring God’s laws, which He provides for our good and our prosperity; God has something to say. Will you listen?

One comment that is very often vocalized in defense of celebrating Halloween is: it’s only for the children; let them have fun. After all, don’t they look so cute in their little costumes?

Children learn from and will do what their parents teach them. Each generation is a product of the last. God said, because you have ignored the laws of your God, I will ignore your children.

Can we afford to have God ignore the children? God is their only hope. He is your only hope.

Think about it. In such a corrupt, violent, immoral and irreligious country that the United States is today; a country where hundreds of kids disappear, are kidnapped, murdered; a country in which perverts prey on children, do you want God to ignore the children? How about your child?

You may think Halloween is a nice activity for the kids, innocent and harmless. But are the consequences worth it?
 

Breaking News Stories
Go here for the latest news stories on this subject. –news stories added 30 October 2012
 
Further reading:
Booklets
Did God Create a Devil?
Hallowe'en Is Pagan
How Seasonal Holy Days Reveal God's Plan
 
Our Commentary
Halloween - Paganism to Acceptance –by Jim Josephsen
Witchcraft, Sorcery, and "Harry Potter" –by Garner Ted Armstrong

 
21st Century Watch
Hallowe'en--What's It Really All About? [Volume 1, Number 8]
 
Quote by Garner Ted Armstrong:
"No true Christian with common sense, and a desire to OBEY God, would ever be involved in a hideous "celebration" of Satan, demons, witches, and death. Of course, if there is no God, it doesn't make any difference. But God does exist, and God clearly labels indulging in such demonic, evil, Satanic practices as a heinous sin." -Source
 
Resources
How Hallowe'en Works
Sound bite by Garner Ted Armstrong: Harry Potter and Witchcraft
Sermon by Garner Ted Armstrong: Sorcery and Harry Potter Play  MP3

EA Feature Page: Halloween Is Pagan
EA Feature Page: "Tis The Season to be Jolly" (or is it?)
EA Feature Page: Passover or Easter?

 

Photos:
Left: Jack-o'-lanterns on front porch on Halloween  source
Center: Mock cemetery in front yard Halloween night  source
Right: Children in Halloween costumes source