MISINFORMATION FROM EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN WEB SITES
Topics covered in this essay:
It is our editorial policy to not criticize theological beliefs. We are tolerant of the religious beliefs
of all faith groups. However, we actively criticize actions
which harm other people, even if those actions logically flow from the
perpetrator's religious beliefs. In some cases, the line is sometimes
difficult to draw. This essay involves one of these cases.
consider the following to be hurtful actions:
||Copying incorrect statements that are critical of others without first verifying
||Disseminating unsubstantiated untruths about allegations of evil activities of
followers of another religion.
||Disseminating falsehoods about ancient beliefs and practices, without
any historical or archaeological basis.
||Assigning special meanings to words which are very different from those
definitions generally used in society. For example, most people believe that a "Satanist" is a
member of a religious group, like the
Church of Satan, or the
Temple of Set. A hurtful
action would be to use the term "Satanist" in an unusual manner.
One example would be to refer to followers of a world
religion, like Buddhism, Hinduism,
Taoism, Wicca, or other
religions as Satanists. These are faith groups which do not even recognize the existence of an all-evil,
supernatural, quasi-deity, like the Christian Satan.
Misinformation in Evangelical Christian writings:
Many factual errors are seen in some conservative Christian books and Web sites
about Halloween. Other statements cause confusion by using definitions for
certain terms that are very different from those generally held.
Some examples are:
||The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) is
perhaps best known for its television program The 700 Club, and for
Regent University. They posted an article on Halloween as part of their "Literature
and Teaching" section. 1
Although it contains many historically accurate facts, we noted a surprising number of
||They referred to "The Devil, the lord of darkness" as the
chief God worshiped by the
ancient Celts. The Celts recognized no such deity. The Devil is essentially
living supernatural entity which forms part of some branches
of Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism.
||They imply that the Celts feared attack from evil spirits and the souls of the dead.
Actually, their main feelings towards the dead were positive; they welcomed the return of their
deceased friends and relatives at this time of year.
||They refer to the growth of "witchcraft in the Middle Ages." There
was certainly an increase in the number of people that the civil and
religious courts accused of Witchcraft
during that time, and later burned at the stake or hanged. But there is no evidence of an
increase in actual Pagan belief during the Middle Ages. On the contrary,
as Christianity became established throughout Europe in the 11th
century, it is very likely that Pagan beliefs would have become
||CBN refers to the poisoned food hoax as if it were real.
||They state that all Wiccans perform Halloween rituals while sky-clad (i.e. naked). This
is not true. Many, perhaps most, Wiccans wear robes.
||They imply, without evidence, that some Satanic and Vodun
groups sacrifice human infants. They don't.
||They say that both Satanism and Witchcraft have undergone amazing growth in recent
years. Although Wicca certainly has increased greatly in
numbers, it is generally acknowledged that Satanism has been in numerical decline for decades.
||An associated story is billed as "The Witch Who Found Christ." See: http://www.cbn.org/news/stories/witch.asp
The story itself deals entirely with a young woman who developed an obsession with
vampires, alcohol, other drugs, and Satanism. She later accepted Christ and became a
Christian. A frightening story, but one that has no connection at all with Wicca or any
other form of present-day Witchcraft.
||Jean Claude Boulenaz of Teen Challenge, Brisbane, Australia
has written an essay about Halloween. 2 He has many unsubstantiated
||"occult killings" occur every Halloween in the US.
||Media reports in Australia indicated the possibility of Satanic human sacrifices in
Melbourne and Brisbane.
||Ancient Druids would go from castle to castle, demanding a virgin female from each. They
would light a candle made of human fat and leave it behind to prevent the castle's
inhabitants from being killed by Satan's demons. The captive would be assaulted and
brutally sacrificed to their gods.
This type of material has been termed "Christian Porn" by some investigators
into religious hoaxes. There are certainly rumors of occult killings every Halloween in
the US and Australia, just as there are rumors of apples being adulterated with razor
blades. But there is a complete lack of hard evidence that either actually occurs - in
spite of efforts by police and believers to detect such abuse. As noted above, there is
no reliable evidence that Druids in the past sacrificed humans;
present-day Druids certainly do not. The "baby wax candles" made from
baby fat are a popular fantasy of those who create and maintain the 20th century Satanic Ritual Abuse hoax. They have
heard of such candles; many
even claim to have seen one. But none has ever been analyzed and found to contain human
||David L Brown authored an essay for the Logos Communication
Consortium about Halloween. 3 His essay contains many of the
topics described above. He writes:
||"Halloween is an Occultic / Satanic worship day. It always has been."
Halloween is strictly a secular holiday, celebrated by many tens of millions of people in
the U.S. and Canada. It also occurs at the time of Samhain, a Neopagan holiday celebrated
by a few hundred thousand Wiccans and others. It was originally a Celtic feast day.
||Used for Recruitment: Brown says that Halloween is increasingly being
used to attract people to the occult. But the occult is composed of various religions,
men's fraternal organizations, means of foretelling the future, etc. Men's organizations
may recruit new members, but not particularly at this time of year. Religions which are
sometimes called part of the Occult do not recruit members.
||Criminal activities: Groups perform "bizarre and often illegal
rituals" at this time. Perhaps some Christians might feel that Wiccans dancing
within a circle is a bizarre ritual. However, we know of no illegal rituals performed by
any religion at this time.
||Samhain: As with most other articles on Halloween written by
conservative Christians, Samhain is identified with a non-existent Celtic god "Saman...the
lord of death and evil spirits". There was/is no such deity.
||Ritual Murder: He incorrectly identifies Stonehenge as a Druidic
temple. He concludes that because their are so many burial mounds near Stonehenge that
human sacrifice was extensively performed there. Archaeologists believe that the burial
mounds are simply graves; people were buried there when they died of old age, injury
during warfare, etc.
||Baal: Brown identifies Baal as the God of the Druids. Baal was a middle
eastern God, and was not part of the Druidic pantheon of deities.
||Present day Druids: He says that modern Druids "claim no
longer to practice human sacrifice." The implications are that they may or many
not be telling the truth, and that they may have ritually murdered
humans in the past. An accurate statement would be that modern Druids do not
practice human sacrifice.
||Human Sacrifices: He states that both Wiccans and Satanists worship
demons, both male and female, engage in immoral sexual rituals and offer animal and human
sacrifices. This is unsubstantiated religious hatred. He quotes Texe Marrs who also
writes of human sacrifices by Wiccans. Brown says that Witches cover up their sacrifices
by using cremation ovens and by deep burial. This is again pure fantasy.
||Confusion: Brown confuses witchcraft, as mentioned in the Bible with
Wicca. They are in fact opposites. Biblical witchcraft involved the saying of harmful,
black magic spells intended to injure or kill people. Wiccans follow an unrelated path
involving ancient Celtic Gods and Goddesses. They are prohibited by their
Wiccan Rede from
||Wiccan rituals: He writes that "Witches and coven
members practice many immoral and perverted sexual practices as a part of their rituals.
These rituals are often accompanied by alcohol and drug use." Some Wiccans do
drink small quantities of an alcoholic beverage in their rituals, just as Roman Catholics
do during Mass. However, the other accusations are without merit.
||A Web site of the Christian Youth Alliance describes
Halloween as a solemn ceremony for Satan worshippers and witches. They
do not differentiate between Satanism and Witchcraft / Wicca: "Satan's
greatest desire is to hurt and destroy people. The children who are
mutilated and murdered every Halloween are no accident. They are
carefully planned sacrifices to Satan, carried out by those who serve
and worship him... Satanic human sacrifices are a slap in God's face.
To gain control of children's minds, witches make elaborate
incantations calling forth demonic powers to attack these little
ones." 4 No
children are mutilated or killed at Halloween -- at least there
are no incidences of which the police and media are aware. |
||More Evangelical web sites are analyzed
elsewhere on this site.|
Additional discussion of anti-Halloween essays:
W.J. Bethancourt III has an excellent, highly detailed expose of four anti-Halloween
documents prepared by Christians: 5
||"Halloween Oct. 31: What's It All About?" by Sylvan Margadonna.
||"Halloween: What It Is From A Christian Perspective" by Mrs. Gloria
||two anonymous tracts.
and Teaching," Christian Broadcasting
Network (CBN), at:
http://www.cbn.org/teaching/ts-halloween.asp This essay is no longer
Jean Claude Boulenaz, "Halloween - a harmless ritual?", at: http://members.tripod.com/~cockatoo/halloween.html#Halloween
David Brown, "The Dark Side of Halloween," Logos Communication
Consortium at: http://www.execpc.com/logos/halloween.html
"A brief history of Halloween," at: http://home.computer.net/~cya/cy00116.html
W.J. Bethancourt III's detailed expose of some Christian anti-Halloween web sites and tracts is
titled: "Halloween: Myths, Monsters and Devils" See:
Evangelical Christian web sites with many hyperlinks to other Christian
web sites about Halloween:
Essay copyright © 1997 to 2002 incl., Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2002-MAR-8
Author: B.A. Robinson