by Kenneth Justice
~Jesus hates Halloween….ever hear that before? Growing up in a conservative Evangelical Christian community I heard it more times than I care to remember. Actually, much of my childhood was all about hearing what Jesus ‘hated’….it seems like Jesus apparently hated a lot of things…or at least that is what the preachers of my childhood believed.
However, I had a father that was a bit bullheaded when it came to being told what to do (or what NOT to celebrate) so my early childhood years are filled with memories of carving scary faces in pumpkins with my dad……of course he and I never mentioned at church what we did at home.
But I don’t want to throw under the bus those that don’t celebrate Halloween. I hate it when anyone tries to make others feel guilty for their particular beliefs. I respect the rights of those that are anti-Halloween, and I respect the rights of those who are pro-Halloween.
“If you celebrate Halloween then you are worshipping the Satan!“…would you believe that I actually heard preachers say that from the pulpit when I was younger? That is pretty strong isn’t it? I mean, whether or not we believe Satan is a real ‘entity’ it seems to be quite a stretch to suggest that little children who dress up as princesses and pirates are somehow paying homage to the king of the underworld each year on Halloween….isn’t it?
“But what about the Pagan roots of Halloween!” My Christian relatives tell me (I have quite a few relatives who are decidedly anti-Halloween). These relatives usually ignore the fact that Christmas, Easter and a ton of other holidays they celebrate also have Pagan roots…..When it comes to the things we enjoy; people often ignore the facts, and when it comes to things we hate; people tend to put together reasons for hating it.
A few years ago a friend of mine (who happened to be anti-Halloween at the time) told me a story that changed her quite a bit. She had taught her children that Halloween is all about worshipping Satan and at the family Thanksgiving dinner that year her children said to their cousins, “You guys are a bunch of Devil worshippers” which of course caused quite an uproar in the midst of carving the turkey.
“Kenneth, when my two kids said that to their cousins I was shocked. I mean, I know that I had taught them that Halloween was all about Satan but I never for a minute believed my brother and his children were Devil worshippers” she said to me.
One of the problems we often deal with in the Western World is an attitude in which people adhere so strongly to their beliefs that they are far to quick to sling mud at each other.
We see this in politics where ideologues on both sides of the aisle have so much animosity toward each other that civil and peaceful discussions rarely occur. It bothers me to no end that whichever political party is in control at the moment attempts to ramrod their particular ideology upon all the people.
The fact of the matter is that whether you live in the United States, Great Britain, Australia or fill-in-the-blank….there are always going to be people with varying beliefs and ideologies. So why do we in the Western World believe it is our responsibility to force everyone to ‘believe what we believe”? Why are we so convinced that our ideology is the ‘perfect’ ideology?
The simple fact of the matter is that if you begin the equation with the idea that your particular belief system is ‘entirely perfect’ and without any ‘flaws’ than you have successfully closed the door to any positive communication with others. If you can’t allow for the fact that you might be wrong about something…..then you are nothing more than a closed minded fool.
Because I am a Christian I am admonished in my holy book to ‘let each person be convicted in their own mind’. Essentially; we will each have our own particular convictions about issues;
—) Some people are convicted to be vegetarians
—) Some people are convicted to be vegans
—) Some people are convicted to be anti-alcohol
—) Some people are convicted to be anti-marijuana
—) Some people are convicted to be pro-marijuana
My responsibility is to respect other peoples convictions…..Its not my job to walk around with a list of rules and try to hit people on the head with them. I need to demonstrate grace toward others and try to find a middle ground where we can all live together and obtain a certain level of peace.
There are some standards that we must enforce; such as do not murder. A society that doesn’t stand up against murder will likely disintegrate rather quickly.
But for all the other issues in-between ‘do not murder’ and whether or not we should celebrate Halloween…..I believe we each need to learn how to demonstrate grace toward each other and show a little patience toward those who have differing views.
Is that too much to ask?
A pumpkin-spice latte sounds really good right now,
Categories: Culture & Society