A space to discuss the essay, “Behind the Mask: What Halloween Reveals About Our Hearts”
That’s a thought provoking essay! On leaving Hinduism and accepting Christ, I stopped participating in all of the Hindu festivals as these traditions were not about honoring the God of the Bible. So, when I first learnt that Halloween had pagan origins in Celtic festival of Samhain, I didn’t feel comfortable participating in it either. I later came to know that many protestant Christians celebrate Halloween as it is also Reformation day and Catholics celebrate it in honor of the faithful departed since the eighth century as All saints day/All souls day.
I have struggled with many questions about such festivals. When is it appropriate to partcipate in festivals of the culture we live in? What examples and scripture verses can we find in the Bible to lead us in our choice? What importance must we give to our intent as compared to the origins in our consideration? How important is a biblical reason for a festival tradition which will be practiced by future generations? How must the reasons for celebrating Halloween as a Christian be reflected in the festivities? Am I missing an opportunity to build a relationship if I dont participate in Halloween at all?
For our family, we feel its helpful to have a biblical reason to celebrate a festival as a family tradition. Some explanations/boundaries for children based on the children’s age is important to us to protect the faith of future generations. For now, as a family we partcipate in Halloween alternatives like harvest festivals at church with costume and candy in an effort to build community and to partcipate in the culture we are surrounded by.
But like Carson mentioned,
For this season, everyone’s conscience and circumstance will lead them to a different answer.
I appreciate Carson’s advice that a person’s character not be assessed based on outward appearances.
This advice is well supported by Apostle Paul in Romans 14 as well, as he sheds light on how we are to treat other Christians with differing convictions. As I understand this chapter, there were some new Christians who ate only vegetables or considered some days holier than others in order to honor the Lord. Paul had his own view on these issues but instructed that it is only important that our choices stem from faith in the Lord as we are ultimately accountable to the Lord. The differing beliefs are not worth dividing over, judging fellow believers or putting a stumbling block in the journey of faith of another believer. Paul points out that in building the kingdom of God, our emphasis must be on the righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. So Romans 14 calls us as believers to live in unity, while having good reasons for our personal convictions.
I appreciate this essay as it draws me to exercise careful spiritual discernment, not just during festivals like Halloween but all through the year, so I don’t come across as just a religious performer or a hypocrite in how I live out my faith.