The Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association
 


Embracing the Evil

 by James Josephsen

          

October 31st - Halloween.  The facts pertaining to this Christian holiday should come as no surprise, creepy as they are. Out there and in your face is all the information one needs; from simple children’s stories of jack-o-lanterns, goblins and black cats to academic theses detailing the history of all things pertinent to Halloween rituals.  Available in bookstores and libraries; obtainable from the internet and on mobile devices, evident on the History Channel, is more than one can absorb pertaining to the history and origin of Halloween.

 
Halloween, with its roots stretching back to the religious practices of 5th Century B.C. Celts, living in Ireland, was given legal sanction by the Catholic Church in 835 AD. Over the next thousand years, Halloween took on more paganism and superstition. By the mid-1880s, Irish immigrants settling in the United States brought with them their native customs, contributing to the Halloween tradition in America. 

 
The commercialization of Halloween at the start produced a benign sort of  holiday mainly for the kids; in which kids would dress up in harmless costumes, the likes of superman, spider man, the Lone Ranger, Cinderella, Bugs Bunny, Tweetie Bird, Power Rangers, angels, princesses, fairies; innocent costumes. Now, not only in the United States, but in Western Christian nations, Halloween has developed into a holiday that is no longer only for kids.

 
Now Halloween has become a party holiday for adults, with celebrations often elevated to the macabre, the cadaverous and perverted. Halloween is now laden with hardcore witches, zombies, ghosts, devils, extraterrestrials,  demented clowns, hatchets and machetes piercing the flesh, nooses, blood, shotgun blasts, severed limbs; things associated with death, horror and evil.

 
Halloween has become deeply ingrained in the culture of the United States. American trick-or-treat traditions dating back to post-World War II suburbia have developed into an eagerly anticipated holiday fright fest. Fun and mindless entertainment on the surface; Halloween promotes evil and is evil to its core.

 
Regardless of the blatant truths out there and in your face regarding the origins of Halloween, most celebrants these days do not care if Halloween is pagan, Catholic, Christian, or whatever: it is simply fun, it is embraced.

 
Embracing the evil that Halloween is, is common these days. However, is Halloween the only evil America embraces? 

 
As a culture, the United States has become accustomed to evil things, séances, mediums, ghost hunters, demons, mangled, mauled and hacked-up bodies, possessed dolls and things that go bump in the night. The movie industry, entertainment, both on the screen and in literary circles,  music and the arts, sports; all combine to feed Americans a steady diet of aggression, violence and evil. Over the past 60 years, each successive generation has become all the more calloused to evil. Evil is entertaining; it’s fun.

 
Professional Hauntings such as Field of Screams near Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Netherworld, near Atlanta, Georgia; Edge of Hell in Kansas City, Missouri; Shocktoberfest near Redding, Pennsylvania, are just a few of the many entertainment spots that capitalize on evil, things that are frightening, bringing in millions of dollar annually. 

 
America Haunts, a group which promotes the culture of haunted housed commenced its first trade show in 2008. There were about 100 exhibitors and some 1500 buyers present.  Just five years later, attendance has exploded to some 800 exhibitors and 8000 buyers. These budding entrepreneurs realize that today’s young adults and adolescents needs more than red lights and buzzers, more than a distorted face reflecting in a darkened  mirror to frighten them. Today’s generation needs a lot of blood, gore and horror. Today’s adolescents and young adults are so used to violence and blood in video games and on the screen, that today’s haunts have to look as real as possible. And real they do!

 
In the United States, we are witnessing a culture that is becoming accustomed to evil as nothing more than a common daily yawn.  This nation accepts the entertainment of evil as common, acceptable, normal. Notice what God has to say about the culture of evil. Woe to them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20).

 
It is God who defined evil, what it is, in all its aspects.  God has defined what is good. In the beginning, God presented good and evil (thereby defining both) as a reality human beings need to deal with. What God declare to be evil – is evil!

 
Certainly, the trappings of Halloween, the macabre, the hideous, the devilish, the evil are embraced. American’s thirst for blood and guts, the scare factor, shot ‘em ups and death is constantly embraced.  But do we stop there? Is this the only type of evil Americans embrace?

 
It would be unwise to stop there. Many throughout the country believe the current administration in Washington is the cause of the great evils in the United States today (and consequently causing this country disfavor with God), but that simply is not the case. No, there are greater evils America embraces, all which contribute to a nation degenerating and falling fast out of favor with God.

 
Jesus Christ, (you know, the namesake of the Christian religion) states the following: From within, out of men’s heart comes evil thoughts, sexual immorality, thefts, murders, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, pride, foolishness. All these evils come from within and defile you (Mark 7:21-23).

 
By the standards set by Jesus Christ – America embraces the evil. Every segment of American life falls guilty before Jesus Christ, as He leaves no room for America to justify its behavior. This country’s evils penetrate to greater levels than creepy holidays.

 
Consider a snapshot of America. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Crime in the United States, 2012 report, tabulating crimes statistics from 18,290 cities, counties, states, universities and colleges, tribal and federal agencies, the following evils occurred in America.

 
In 2012, there were an estimated 1,214,462 violent crimes of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, and aggravated assault. Nationwide, there were an estimated 8,975,438 property crimes. Collectively, victims of property crimes (excluding arson) suffered losses calculated at $15.5 billion in 2012.

 
Notice again the list of evils Christ said exists in the heart of man. Measure these characteristics up against the corruption that is America today. Look deeply at our entertainment industry, both television and cinema. Peruse the internet. What sells? What is just a click away from coming into your house or worse yet, that can pollute young, impressionable, innocent minds? Sex, pornography, immoral, deviant and aberrant sexual expressions protected by 1st Amendment rights.

 
What evil did Christ say comes from the heart of man (a heart unrepentant)? Sexual immorality and adultery.  There is no reason to go into detail here; you are well aware of what hits you on TV Sitcoms, HBO and in most commercials these days. Sex! Sex sells and America is embracing the evil, loving to pay for it.

 
The younger generation knows how to navigate the Web and their mobile devices. How often these days do teenagers ruin their lives by sexting. The numbers are staggering; the consequences will last forever in our tech world. America is a sex-obsessed country.

 
Consider another affront to God; America’s embracing of evil.

 
Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord and followed not fully after the Lord (1Kings 11:6). Solomon was guilty of religious infidelity; which is evil.

 
God considers it evil to worship any God but Him. Jesus Christ said not everyone that says to me Lord Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 7:21). And what is the Father’s will? The same as Jesus Christ’s; you shall have no other God’s before me.

 
Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever expects the same of the modern-day Children of Israel; the United States of America being included in those peoples. Christ instructed Moses to write commands that are just as viable today as they were when written. You shall not make an idol or graven image, neither shall you raise up a standing image, neither shall you set up an image of stone in your land to bow down unto it, for I am the Lord your God. You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary (Leviticus 26:1-2).

 
Yet again, America gives witness to the reality; it embraces the evil. From the famed King of Kings statue (of what some sculptor  thinks Jesus looks like) near Monroe, Ohio to the little statue of Saint Joseph resting on the dashboard of an old lady driving her car in Queens. From the ornate stained glass windows in the Baptist church on a street corner in Amarillo to the statue of Vishnu raised in a Hindu temple located west of Chicago; to the multitudes of Buddha figurines scattered across California, America embraces the evil.

 
The Laws of this country allows for freedom of religion; and so as a people, Americans are free to worship whoever or whatever they so choose; as it pleases them. In its pursuit of happiness, as a multi-cultural, multi-religious nation, America embraces the evil.

 
Perhaps you noticed what God had to say about His Sabbath Day. You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary. God expects His Sabbath (Saturday – the seventh day of the week) and His religion to be honored and revered. Obedience to God and Him alone is paramount. Anything short of that is evil which is taking its toll on America. Once again, we witness America’s disregard for the Sabbath day and for faithful worship of the only true God. America embraces the evil of false worship 

           
God’s warning to this nation is simple. And when you spread forth your hands (asking in prayer HELP), I will hide my eyes from you: yes when you make many prayers; I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. Wash yourself, clean yourself up; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil. Learn to do well! (Isaiah 1:15-17).

 
If you are embracing the evil, God is giving you fair opportunity to put it away, to repent. Will this nation put away these great evils?  Will you? Will you stop embracing the evil?


 

Breaking News Stories
Go here for the latest news stories on this subject. –news stories added 2 November
 
Further reading:
Our Booklets:
Hallowe'en is Pagan
Did God Create a Devil?
Witchcraft, Sorcery, and "Harry Potter"
 
Our Commentary:
Halloween-from Paganism to Acceptance by Jim Josephsen
Halloween in the United States - Is It Worth It? –by Jim Josephsen
 
21st Century Watch
Hallowe'en--What's It Really All About?
 
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."  21st Century Watch - Vol 1, Number 8
 
Resources:
Feature Page for Halloween
Origins of Hallowe'en
Wikipedia:  Origins of Halloween
History of Halloween
FBI Crime Report for 2012
 

Photos:
Left: Black cat
Center: Jack o' lanterns
Right: Francisco Goya print of a goblin