As viewed by evangelical Christians
Topics covered in this essay:
|"I think we ought to close Halloween down. Do you want your
children to dress up as witches? The Druids used to dress up like this when
they were doing human sacrifice...[The children] are acting out Satanic
rituals and participating in it, and don't even realize it."--Pat
Robertson, "The 700 Club," 1982-OCT-29|
|"There is [only] one reference to human sacrifice in Celtic
literature, but it appears to be a Christian forgery. The ancient Celts
might have engaged in ritual killing; certainly other contemporary societies
did. Modern Druids, of course, do not." Excerpt from this website's
essay on the Druids. |
Many books on Halloween have been written by fundamentalist and other evangelical
Christian authors. There are also many Internet sites devoted to the topic. 1 to 10
Most of these authors tend to paint a very different picture of Halloween than
do other writers, both religious and secular. Conservative Christians
generally have a very negative view of Halloween, and are very concerned with
its growing popularity in North America.
Much of their fear and rejection of Halloween are described below. They are based on:
Evangelical Christian beliefs about non-Christian religions:
The Christian Scriptures (New Testament) clearly and repeatedly states that followers
of other religions worship demons. One example is 1 Corinthians
10:20-21: "But I say, that the things which
the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God..."
Most conservative Christians believe that the Bible is inerrant
when interpreted literally.
Thus, many of them view other world religions as being partly or completely false,
and either influenced by Satan or actually controlled by
Satan. Thus, they see few differences among Hinduism,
Wicca, Neopaganism, and hundreds
religions. All are viewed as involving demon worship that will prevent their
followers from being saved, and will lead them
directly to the pits of Hell.
Needless to say, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Satanists, Neopagans,
mainline and liberal Christians, etc. reject this viewpoint. They see major differences among the religions of the world. They do not accept the belief
that their own Gods and Goddesses, or those of other great religions, are actually the Christian Satan, or demons, or evil spirits. They look
upon the concept of Satan as being largely a Christian,
Islamic, Jewish, and Zoroastrian
concept that is unrelated to the beliefs and practices of other religions.
There is really no right and wrong here. Differences are caused by foundational beliefs
about God, mankind and the rest of the universe. Many conservative Christians have
elected to interpret the Bible literally, and thus define other faith groups as
Satanic. Unfortunately, their beliefs sometimes lead to serious misunderstandings.
Different groups are using the same word, "Satanism," to mean very different things:
|Most of the
North American population define "Satanists" as
individuals who acknowledge worshiping a Satanic entity, or have some
special recognition of Satan as a pre-Christian fertility concept. Using
this definition, there are perhaps ten to twenty thousand Satanists in the
|But the more inclusive definition of "Satanism" used by some
conservative Christians defines two thirds of the human race -- over four
billion people -- as Satanists. |
Largely because of the Inquisition during the Middle Ages and
Renaissance, irrational fear of
Satanists is widespread. Religiously based Lynching, attempted mass stoning, shootings, common assaults,
have been documented in North America in recent years. The root cause of such
criminal acts is often the belief that all non-Christian religions are Satanic.
Fortunately, since the first draft of this essay was written in 1997,
many Wiccans, Satanists,
and other Neopagans have come out of their
"closet" and gone public with their faith. North Americans have become much
more aware of other major world religions and recognize those religions'
strengths and merits. Conservative Christians' association of non-Christian
religions with Satanism has faded in recent years. Finally, by 2005, many
conservative Protestant information sources have abandoned their inaccurate
portrayal of other faith groups. They no longer demonize other religions,
even though they regard them as misguided, and false -- leading their
membership to eternal torture in Hell.
Evangelical Christian special beliefs about the occult:
|The Occult: This is defined by most people as a set of unrelated
esoteric, secretive, practices. Many of the more conservative Christians disagree;
they have a much broader definition of the term.
They believe that Satanism is at the heart of the
"Occult." They view the Occult as being composed of:
|Entire religions such as Wicca, other Neopagan religions, Satanism,
Hinduism, Buddhism, other world religions, and the New Age. |
|Divination techniques such as astrology, horoscope
reading, casting of
runes, palm reading, tarot card reading, and tea cup reading.|
|Games such as Ouiji boards, children's TV programs and
cartoons, some toys, and fantasy role playing games.|
|Music, such as heavy metal rock bands.|
|Other activities, as diverse as fire-walking, acupuncture,
Yoga exercises, membership in the Masonic Order, reading some novels,
Many believe that occultists actively promote these activities to
lure people into the Occult with the aim of eventually recruiting them
Evangelical Christian special beliefs about Satan and demons:
Satan: Conservative Protestants generally believe in Satan
and his hordes of demons as very real
supernatural entities with magical powers. Again, this belief is derived from their
acceptance of the inerrancy of the Bible.
The Christian Scriptures (New Testament), in particular, has many
references to Satan as a quasi-deity. Jesus is described as exorcising
many people, releasing them from the control of indwelling demons.
Many religious conservatives regard themselves, their families and friends as continuously
being at risk for demonic oppression or possession. Conservative
Christian psychiatrist David Enoch has said that: "...Halloween practices open the door to the occult and can introduce
forces into people's lives that they do not understand and often cannot combat..."
15 Some believe that "Doorways" which allow Satan to have
access can be created by something as simple and innocent as
bringing a box of Celestial Seasonings tea into the home. These have a 5-pointed
star on the rear of the container. This is a "Star-K" certification
symbol indicting that the products meets kosher food requirements as stipulated
in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). 17
However, many conservative Christians believe
is a Satanic symbol. Having such a box of tea in the house is said to give Satan the
"legal right" to enter the home and attack the family. A
"doorway" could also be created by a Wiccan healing ritual,
acupuncture, yoga exercises, hanging an
aboriginal dream-catcher on the wall, or engaging in thousands of other
activities. Incest and child sexual abuse is
believed to produce another type of doorway. Although mental health professionals have long
abandoned demonic possession as a cause of mental illness, this belief
continues today among many conservative Christians.
Evangelical Christian beliefs about Halloween:
Most conservative Protestants incorrectly link together present-day Halloween
celebrations, ancient Celtic Paganism, and modern Neopaganism.
However, many go further and link these practices with Satanism.
10 Some examples:
|A Christian Broadcasting Network essay: "Every act around Halloween is in honor of false gods, which are spirits in
the realm of the Satanic. Thus, Halloween is seen primarily as a Satanic holiday."
|Albert Dager: "Children...shouldn't have anything to do
with the celebration that glorifies the power of God's enemies."
|William Schnoebelen, "...the difference between witchcraft or Wicca and
satanism is actually non-existent." 12|
|David L Brown, "modern day witches and Satanists still worship demon gods &
goddesses, practice bizarre & immoral sexual rituals, and certain groups offer animal
and human sacrifices." 13|
|David L Brown, "Though witches like to make a distinction between themselves
and Satanists, there really is NO DISTINCTION biblically speaking...but the power behind
Satanism and Witchcraft is the same-Satan... and his demonic hoards."
|Christian Youth Alliance, "Satan loves Halloween
because it glamorizes the powers of darkness, drawing little kids into
his realm. And it is paying off, witchcraft is exploding among teens
today." 14 |
|Light the Night is an Evangelical Christian outreach to
trick-or-treaters. The sponsors note that Halloween night is "an excellent opportunity to take back ground in
which the enemy has controlled for too long." (The
webmaster clarified that the "enemy" being referred to here is Satan) They say that by "...allowing our
'light' to shine on a very dark night, it is a very simple way to combat
that darkness with the love of Christ." 16|
Evangelical Christian Sources of information about Halloween:
An analysis of popular conservative Christian writing about Halloween reveals
that many authors often draw on inaccurate sources. They tend to re-circulate erroneous material from:
|A probable example of anti-Druidic wartime propaganda written by Julius Caesar in
one of his books.|
|Religious propaganda from the "Burning Times," (15th
to 18th century CE) when the church taught that Witches worshiped
Satan. Tens of thousands of Witches and other heretics were
convicted by civil and religious courts in western Europe, and burned
alive or hanged.|
|Modern urban folk tales about Satanic Ritual Abuse
and adulterated Halloween candy that have since been shown to be hoaxes.|
|Unverified opinions by other conservative Christians about Halloween.|
They rarely draw on factual material from:
|The thousands of books and web sites of modern day Neo-Pagans, including
material from two large reconstructed ancient belief systems: Wicca and Druidism.|
|Historical and archaeological research into the beliefs and practices
of ancient Celts. |
|Analysis of Evangelical Christian websites about Halloween:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Jack Chick, "Halloween Kid's Treat or Pagan Trick?" The essay is at:
- Tricia Schnell, "Is Halloween in Harmony with Christianity?" The essay
is at: http://www.intowww.org/
- William J. Schnoebelen, "Should Christians celebrate Halloween?" Essay
is at: http://chick.com/
- "Happy Halloween, Chick Productions. P.O. Box 662, Chino, CA, 91708-0662. It
can be seen at: http://chick.com/
- Gloria Phillips, "Halloween: What It Is From A Christian Perspective"
Available at: http://www.webzonecom.com/
- The Christian Broadcasting Network, "A Christian Perspective on Halloween".
It was available at: http://www.cbn.org/, but has since been removed.
- W.J. Bethancourt III's detailed expose of four Christian anti-Halloween essays is titled: "Halloween: Myths, Monsters and Devils"
- "Answers in Action" is an Evangelical Christian Internet site that takes a realistic view of Halloween. See:
- Jean Claude Boulenaz, "Halloween - a harmless ritual?", at:
- J.S. Victor, "Fundamentalist religions and the moral crusade against satanism: The social construction of deviant behavior."
Deviant Behavior, 15, Pages 305-334, (1994).
- A.J. Dager, "Halloween - Should Christians Be Apart," Media Spotlight, Costa Mesa, CA, (1986)
- William Schnoebelen, "Wicca: Satan's Little White Lie," Chick Publications, Chino CA, (1990), Page 9.
- David Brown, "The Dark Side of Halloween," Logos Communication Consortium at:
- "A brief history of Halloween," at: http://home.computer.net/
- Quoted in Russ Parker, "Battling the Occult," InterVarsity Press, Downer's Grove, IL, (1990), Page 35.
- "Light the Night" has a web site at: http://www.lightthenightpa.com
- "Star-K Kosher Certification," at:
http://www.celestialseasonings.com/ This is a PDF file. You may require software to read it. Software can be obtained free from:
Essay copyright © 1997 to 2008, Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2008-MAR-23
Author: B.A. Robinson