Fact a Day: October 9th - Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, John Ankerberg Show

Fact a Day: October 9th

The Facts on Halloween (Harvest House, 1996), p. 16-18

 

Do pagan elements of Halloween automatically disqualify it for Christian participation?

 

We would not deny that because of the modern occult revival and its implications for society, one must strongly question the advisability of Christian parents allowing their children to dress up as genuine occult characters, such as witches, Satanists, wizards, Druids, or to dress in any manner that could bring dishonor to our Lord. The occult is anything but a harmless pastime, and to associate one’s child with it, even indirectly in humor or jest, is probably unwise. And God is very clear about not being associated with the occult.

On the other hand, the contemporary practice of Halloween is hardly unique in sporting remnants of paganism. Such remnants can be found in many American holidays and customs. It would be difficult to argue that participation in all these holidays must be rejected merely because of pagan associations historically. It is evident that the pagan remnants of the practice of Halloween and other holidays no longer carry the meaning they once had to most people. Christmas, Easter, and other holidays were all derived from pagan celebrations that the church appropriated and depaganized or made Christian—as is true for Halloween.

Although the remnants of ancient paganism persist, the anti-Christian beliefs and practices once associated with Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and other holidays and customs long ago vanished. Thus, would anyone argue it is wrong to celebrate Christmas in honor of Christ’s birth and give gifts to loved ones as a reflection of the loving gift God has given to us in Jesus—merely because Christmas was once a pagan holiday or because it remains a pagan (or materialistic) holiday in various places around the world?

In similar fashion, even in spite of its occult associations today, the manner in which people use Halloween should determine our attitude toward it. We cannot logically condemn what is, for most people, a purely secular pastime that can be engaged in without any occult associations at all.

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