Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween For Dummies, Christians Included

You don't bombard your Facebook with all-too-familiar verses and "Jesus is coming" quotes and at the same time getting too excited with your planned activities on Halloween, it's just not quite the way a Christian should find himself doing.

"So, what's wrong with getting excited over Halloween? The experience is priceless, and a solitary night of fun doesn't necessarily diminish one's relationship with God! I see to it that only the Lord Jesus Christ is worshiped even on Halloween!" I choose to have fun with it and won't allow anyone to deprive my kids to participate in it!" 

You probably have had a lot of these along the way: Christians who would aggressively defend their Halloween tradition being fun and innocuously innocent one. But if you are a Christian (not to mention your record of uninterrupted church attendance for two decades or so) and still see no problem participating in Halloween tradition, these bits of knowledge sourced from an article by Kerby Anderson may be of help to you:

Ten Things Christians Need To Know About Halloween

Many in our secular society believe Halloween is nothing more than a harmless festival that allows kids to collect candy. But is it? Its origins lie deeply rooted in the occult, and Christians should stay away. Here are ten reasons why:
  • October 31st has long been known as "The Festival of the Dead." The Celtic tribes and their priests the Druids celebrated this day as a marker for the change from life to death.
  • Halloween today is performed usually by adherents of witchcraft who use the night for their rituals. Witches celebrate Halloween as the "Feast of Samhain", the first feast of the witchcraft year. Being a festival of the dead, Halloween is a time when witches attempt to communicate with the dead through various forms of divination.
  • Christians should not be involved with the occultic practice or divination. Note God's command against divination in Deuteronomy 18.
  • Occultists believe Halloween is a time of transition between life and death. Some occult practitioners practiced divination and believed you could learn the secrets of life and wisdom by lying on a grave and listening to the messages from the long-departed.
  • Occultists also taught that spirits and ghosts left the grave during this night and would seek out warmth in their previous homes. Villagers, fearful of the responsibility of being visited by the ghosts of past occupants, would dress up in costumes to scare the spirits on their way. They would also leave food and other treats at their door to appease the spirits so they would not destroy their homes or crops but instead move on down the road. That is the real reason why kids dress up in costumes today and go door-to-door seeking treats.
  • Occultists also would try to scare away the spirits by carving a scary face into a pumpkin. This horrible visage would hopefully move the spirit on to another home or village and spare that home from destruction. Sometimes the villagers would light a candle and place it within the pumpkin and use it as a lantern (hence the name Jack-o-Lantern). This is the origin of carving pumpkins at Halloween.
  • In some witchcraft covens, the closing ritual includes eating an apple or engaging in fertility rites. In the Bible (Genesis 3), eating a piece of fruit brought sin and death into the world. In witchcraft, eating an apple is symbolic of  bringing life. The practice of bobbing for apples brings together two pagan traditions: divination and the fertility ritual.
  • Schools are removing any religious significance from Christmas (often called winter break) and Easter (spring break). Isn't it ironic that most public schools still celebrate Halloween even though it has occultic origins?
  • Participating in Halloween gives sanction to a holiday that promotes witches, divination, haunted houses, and other occultic practices.
  • Christians should avoid Halloween and totally disconnect themselves from almost about anything that glorifies death, divination or witchcraft, among other things ascribed to the works of darkness.
Still, quite a number of Christians insist that if they totally forgo such a "fun and harmless activity" which to them tilts toward a cultural rather than spiritual celebration then they are completely missing out on life. There are even pastors who spearhead in promoting activities on Halloween with their trick-or-treat baskets conspicuously placed inside their church, and members who are not willing to give it up just yet  find themselves rabid defenders of this demonic celebration.

El Dia de Todos Los Santos Catholic-style

It is interesting to note that in the West, Halloween which falls on the eve of October 31 is purely marked by revelries such as costume parties, trick or treating, among other things, but hardly a commemoration of the departed loved ones. Yet the celebration still carries elements of fear, death and evil, and its glorification thereof.  Meanwhile in many Catholic countries in Asia and Latin America, the celebration carries a distinct flavor associated with culture and religious tradition.

Just like in the Philippines, millions upon millions of Filipinos flock to cemeteries on the first day of November to visit the grave of their departed. Although it has been a centuries-old tradition mostly observed in Catholic countries, it is a widely-held belief by most Filipino Catholics that the souls of their dead are being released from purgatory to reconnect with the living and get to binge another time of their favorite foods, thus the long table in every home filled with various menus as offerings for the souls who are believed to be sulking back in Purgatory if they didn't find their favorite foods on the table.

However, some Catholic legalists and the politically correct do not approve of the November 1 celebration (of honoring the dead) as they claim the first day of November should be dedicated in honor of the saints, thus it is called the All Saints day. Honoring the dead they claim should fall on the 2nd day - the reason why the Gregorian calendar assigns it as All Souls Day. All climactic events such as parties at the cemetery, vigils, food binge, and all other frenzied activities of festive proportion typically happen on the first day - all to commemorate the dead, so one can completely understand the rage of the "saints" who are perennially relegated to the sidelines by virtue of a confused and mixed-up tradition which Catholics simply cannot get right.

Roman Catholicism teaches that every person who had died did not live to be perfect thus falling short of the requirements by God to be perfect. So, in His mercy He assigned a place for the souls called Purgatory wherein they will undergo a process of purging from their imperfections so that when the process is completed they can be readily promoted into heaven. But Catholics are also clueless as to what the souls are exactly doing in the Purgatory to obtain complete forgiveness; maybe they get to carry huge stones or drag boulders or stab their gluteal region and self-inflict as much pain as possible so that they qualify for graduation from the purgatory - nobody knows! So, in essence, Catholics believe that God will not throw anyone in hell for it is too severe a punishment for anyone who commits "little sins".

What the Scriptures Say

The Bible, also known as the word of God is all truth, its infallibility never challenged; its integrity beyond question, and its purity perfect. But what really the Bible says in light of this long-held belief that a person who dies goes to purgatory to undergo a required  process of purging so that he qualifies entry to heaven?

Scripture says, "For it is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment" ~ Hebrews 9:27

Despite its gem of truth, it's become a cliche that God is love, and everyone knows that and because He is love He will not send anyone somersaulting to hell. That is just a big fat lie coming from the pits of hell. The Bible has never made mention  of   a place called purgatory - it just does not exist in its 66 books. But we know how innovatively inventive Catholics have developed into, in fact, the brutalization of the Ten Commandments tops the list of their accomplishments.

With all these talks of a loving God, other God's attributes that Catholics and other humanists go ballistic about when brought up is that God is also holy, righteous and just. Obviously, they struggle a lot to reconcile the idea of an angry God who punishes anyone in hell for eternity in the context of a loving God. To them, it simply is an improbable concept that just does not seem real.

But Scripture says, "For the wages of sin is death, but God's gift is eternal life through Jesus Christ." ~ Romans 6:23

"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." ~ Romans 3:23

Sin is a violation of God's law, it is the opposite of holiness. Without holiness, no one can see God (Hebrews 12:14), and everyone has sinned. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life"(John 3:16).

God's forgiveness can only be obtained through faith in His Son Jesus and by completely turning back from sin. Hell is reserved for the wicked who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as the only way, the truth, and the life. Catholics pray to other "saints" and deify Mary as their mediatrix and queen of heavens which the Bible calls idolatry - an abomination to God. And there is more bad news, the Bible is crystal clear about only two places after death:  heaven and hell.

Every Catholic has a Bible in their homes, but seeking the truth is hardly their strong virtue. Religion and tradition make up a strong shackle that continually keeps people in bondage so that they don't see the truth. But here's the good news: "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,  but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). 

Indeed, God is loving and merciful, He will keep His promise of not wanting anyone to perish that's why He gives us ample time to seek Him and know the truth. We cannot stand before a holy God with our own reasoning because at some point in our lives we have heard His truth. Death is inevitable, it is certain, that's why God sees to it that we are being adequately warned. Yes, God is love, but He is also holy, righteous and just.

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