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Why are the local evangelical church so hostile to Hallowe'en?

(41 Posts)
HerBewitcheditude Mon 26-Oct-09 12:44:56

I just wondered if anyone could tell me this. My DC's go to this youth club round the corner at one of these happy clappy, non-conformist type evangelical churches. They're all up in arms about hallowe'en because apparantly it's all about worshipping the devil. They're also annoyed that it's a pagan festival.

I always thought hallowe'en was all about rejecting the devil and scaring away evil spirits with carved vegetables (OK that may sound like a dubious defence system, but it seems to have taken off and I have never seen any devils so hey, maybe there's something in it)... And christmas, harvest and easter were pagan festivals which the early christian church adapted, and they're perfectly happy to celebrate them. Why the downer on hallowe'en particularly? Anyone know?

Iklboo Mon 26-Oct-09 12:48:51

Halloween is f*ck all to do with worshipping the devil. It's yet another example of close minded bollocks and complete failure to even research the roots and origins of the festival angry

It's got sod all to do with witches, demons, mummies, Frankenstein's monster, vampires or owt else like that either

TheDevilEatsBabies Mon 26-Oct-09 12:50:09

beats me too.

i agree with your perception of the origins.

makes a mockery of the whole system really (all hallows' eve just means the day before all saints' day (hallows being olde for saints) and it was supposed to celebrate the dead moving into the eternal life.

our church doesn't even do all saints' anymore, it just does all souls'.
it's weird.

TheDevilEatsBabies Mon 26-Oct-09 12:50:41


Iklboo Mon 26-Oct-09 12:51:34

Thanks Wiki

ninah Mon 26-Oct-09 12:51:35

our (church) school won't countenance it

AMumInScotland Mon 26-Oct-09 13:05:26

Some churches take the view that Halloween encourages children to develop an interest in witchcraft, paganism, and other "spiritually bad things", by making them seem safe and fun and non-threatening.

I disagree, but that's the viewpoint they are likely to be working from.

Iklboo Mon 26-Oct-09 13:12:42

I know you don' agree Mumin Scotland so this is not aimed at you:

Why is paganism a 'spititually bad thing'? The dictionary definitions include:

'An adherent of a polytheistic religion in antiquity, especially when viewed in contrast to an adherent of a monotheistic religion'.

'An adherent of a religion other than Judaism, Christianity, or Islam'

The latter would then include followers of Shinto, Buddhism etc

Wiccans & most other 'pagans' are actually very spiritual, peaceful people. Just because we don't believe in the Christian perception of God suddenly makes us a danger to children? hmm

Cor - I ask yer. Tolerance - don't make I larf wink

AMumInScotland Mon 26-Oct-09 15:20:08

Well, I think there's 2 versions of why you're a problem wink 1. because paganism is close to satanism. Yes, I know, satan is a Christian construct, and has no connection to paganism, but, well, you believe in "other things" apart from the Christian God, and all the "other things" come from satan, by definition.
And/or 2. even if it's harmless, it distracts people from the only true religion, so stops them from seeking enlightenment in the only place it can be found...

Tolerance, what's that then? grin I think the closest some can manage is "well, I'll tolerate your right to be completely and utterly wrong, so long as you're not too good at convincing anyone about it"

HerBewitcheditude Mon 26-Oct-09 16:01:24

LOL i have just learned (from the woman who told me that she was told it was worshipping the devil) that her mother is going to go to hell because she doesn't go to church regularly.

I expect that means I'm going to hell as well, doesn't it. <Resigned>

The friend concerned was a bit worried, so I reassured her - I said I thought it wasn't L who is in charge of who goes to heaven or not! grin

God these people really make me appreciate wooly anglicans...

Iklboo Mon 26-Oct-09 16:07:36

Friend of MIL's told us DS would go to limbo when he died because he hasn't (and won't be) christened hmm

Gave her a steely Paddington hard stare and said 'Well, that's good because he likes dancing' wink

TheDevilEatsBabies Mon 26-Oct-09 17:19:41

i go to church every single week and sing in the choir, but i've been living in sin (currently with my second boyf) for about 7 years, so i'm going to hell anyway! grin
ooh, and we've had sex.

[nickelbabe wants to use many hallowe'en emoticons in this thread]

GrimmaTheNome Mon 26-Oct-09 17:26:07

Because they're killjoys who don't want to fork out for chocolate? grin

mathanxiety Mon 26-Oct-09 17:31:23

Actually, a lot of Christian feasts happen on former pagan festival days, Christmas included.

"And/or 2. even if it's harmless, it distracts people from the only true religion, so stops them from seeking enlightenment in the only place it can be found..." AMumInScotland, What would be left if we removed everything that distracts people from the only true religion? Whatever that is..

AMumInScotland Mon 26-Oct-09 19:58:26

Ah well, I reckon that true religion has to incorporate all the distractions, or what would be the point? Life (and religion) is what happens to you while you're coping with the distractions...

StephHaydock Mon 26-Oct-09 19:59:09

Fundamentalists get worked up over everything

wicked Tue 27-Oct-09 18:30:03

We are having a light party at church on Saturday. I wonder if the OP would describe this as 'up in arms'.

HerBewitcheditude Tue 27-Oct-09 18:57:57

No I wouldn't wicked.

"Up in arms" refers to them telling the children at the youth club that they shouldn't go trick or treating or celebrate halloween as it means they're worshipping the devil. Which is patently not true and very silly. And also extraordinarily uninformed.

I was brought up a catholic and though I disagree with practically everything the catholic church stands for, at least the average priest, monk etc., is educated. The sheer lack of knowledge of theology and religious history of some of these non-conformists, makes me nostalic for the Jesuit loons.

mathanxiety Tue 27-Oct-09 19:39:15

I know an older lady (the granny of one of DD's friends) who thinks Hallowe'en is the Devil's birthday.

morningpaper Tue 27-Oct-09 19:45:01

I've never liked Hallowe'en and I can understand why people don't like it. Evangelical churches in particular have a very strong theology of 'spiritual warfare' which teaches that humans are constantly at the mercy of angels and demons fighting over their souls in another dimension that we can't see. So, Hallowe'en is like a conscious celebration of that 'other world'. The ugly masks of standard Asda Hallowe'en fare are exactly how demons are described in the literature for this sort of thing, so I think that their reticence (or opposal) is understandable.

From a personal (feminist/theistic/christian) point of view I actually find it rather ghastly: I hate the propagation of 'witches' as ugly women doing evil when I have lots of wiccan friends who are thought of in these terms. It's all a bit odd.

wicked Tue 27-Oct-09 20:27:56

Round here, we don't have Trick or Treat. We have Trick or Trick, which means preteens going around in bin bags with boxes of eggs. The last thing they want is to be offered a fun-size milky way. They just want to wreak havok.

Good on the church for showing the other path.

HerBewitcheditude Tue 27-Oct-09 21:27:19

LOL at the other path. The other path, round here, is to have have excited kids and toddlers with their parents stood back slightly, politely knocking on doors and collecting sweets. And sometimes, singing songs. I live in a bit of a scabby area, but I've honestly never seen the egg atrocities of legend.

And getting angry about it being a pagan festival, when christmas, harvest and easter, all of which are much bigger than halloween (and christmas in particular is so commercialised), just puzzles me. I can understand them being annoyed about the paganism of it, if they were also irritated about easter and christmas. But they're not.

I didn't know about the fights in the other dimension MP - Philip Pullman instantly sprang to mind.

darkbeforedawn Wed 28-Oct-09 20:43:33

I think it's that if you are a Christian, everything you believe in is against Satan, witchcraft, superstition, and fictional spin offs like vampires. That makes it, for some, extremely distasteful to then dress up your children in costumes of those things and have a "spooky" party, it just doesn't fit.

If you're not a Christian believer then none of this makes any odds to you, you have a completely different world view, and it's just a dressing up party - go ahead and have fun.

Christmas, harvest, Easter, do indeed have roots in pagan festivals nobody would deny it but the Christian versions are basically positive and celebrate God, not his enemies. Halloween, regardless of any All Hallows Eve tradition, has become a commercialised ghoul-fest.

I am not trying to get into any argument, but to answer the OP's question that's what their local church's viewpoint is likely to be.

mathanxiety Thu 29-Oct-09 14:58:03

There are many different brands of Christianity, Darkbeforedawn. I don't think the Catholic tradition has much of a problem with the 'dark side' aspect of Hallowe'en.

The Mexican Dia de Los Muertos (sp hmm) combines old indigenous and Catholic beliefs in a colourful, often grotesque and a bit scary, veneration of loved ones who have died. The festival that is the predecessor of modern Hallowe'en in Ireland involved young men dressing as women or scarecrows, etc., and was mostly a rural affair. There was lots of mischief, probably a lot of drinking. It was eventually reined in by the Catholic Church and associated more with the religious feast celebrating the dead (All Hallows) than with the harvest time pagan creative mayhem atmosphere.

In the Mexican tradition especially, the celebration of death and the dead is partly a way to accept it as a natural part of the life cycle and to express the idea that the dead live on in our hearts and fond memories, even though they are separated in a physical sense. Death in the Mexican Catholic tradition, and I think the Irish Catholic tradition too, is not something to be hidden away or afraid of, but instead it is depicted in the folk art and symbolism in a way that is maybe cathartic and helpful to the living who are trying to grasp the idea of death, cope with the loss of loved ones.

The commercialism is just businesses trying to cash in on the holiday, and is not related to the essential meaning of the holiday.

HerBewitcheditude Thu 29-Oct-09 22:04:58

Excellent post Matha.

I think that's been my confusion actually - having been brought up a catholic, where halloween was (v. confusingly) mixed up with All Saints and All Souls, this evangelical downer on it was something quite new to me.

From what I remember, it was always part of the remembering the dead stuff (albeit a minor part). I'd forgotten about this until your post, but I remember one hideously dull period where we had to go to church three times in a row over three days - halloween, all souls and all saints, because my mother had had 3 masses for dead relatives arranged on those 3 symbolic days.

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