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HALLOWEEN:

MISINFORMATION FROM EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN WEB SITES

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Sponsored link.


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Bats Topics covered in this essay:

bulletPolicy note
bulletMisinformation in some Evangelical Christian writings about Halloween
bulletAdditional misinformation (collected in another essay)
bulletAdditional discussion of anti-Halloween essays

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Policy note:

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.

We consider the following to be hurtful actions:

bulletCopying incorrect statements that are critical of others without first verifying their accuracy.
bulletDisseminating unsubstantiated untruths about allegations of evil activities of followers of another religion.
bulletDisseminating falsehoods about ancient beliefs and practices, without any historical or archaeological basis.
bulletAssigning 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 Neopagan 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.

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Sponsored link:

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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:
bulletThe 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 errors:
bulletThey 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.
bulletThey 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.
bulletThey 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 less common.
bulletCBN refers to the poisoned food hoax as if it were real. 
bulletThey state that all Wiccans perform Halloween rituals while sky-clad (i.e. naked). This is not true. Many, perhaps most, Wiccans wear robes.
bulletThey imply, without evidence, that some Satanic and Vodun groups sacrifice human infants. They don't.
bulletThey 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.
bulletAn 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. 
bulletJean Claude Boulenaz of Teen Challenge, Brisbane, Australia has written an essay about Halloween. 2 He has many unsubstantiated statements:
bullet"occult killings" occur every Halloween in the US.
bulletMedia reports in Australia indicated the possibility of Satanic human sacrifices in Melbourne and Brisbane.
bulletAncient 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 fat.

bulletDavid L Brown authored an essay for the Logos Communication Consortium about Halloween. 3 His essay contains many of the topics described above. He writes:
bullet"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.
bulletUsed 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.
bulletCriminal 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.
bulletSamhain: 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.
bulletRitual 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.
bulletBaal: 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.
bulletPresent 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.
bulletHuman 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. 
bulletConfusion: 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 harming others.
bulletWiccan 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.
bulletA 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. 
bulletMore Evangelical web sites are analyzed elsewhere on this site.

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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 
bullet"Halloween Oct. 31: What's It All About?" by Sylvan Margadonna.
bullet"Halloween: What It Is From A Christian Perspective" by Mrs. Gloria Phillips.
bullettwo anonymous tracts.

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References:

  1. "Literature and Teaching," Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), at:  http://www.cbn.org/teaching/ts-halloween.asp This essay is no longer online.
  2. Jean Claude Boulenaz, "Halloween - a harmless ritual?", at: http://members.tripod.com/~cockatoo/halloween.html#Halloween
  3. David Brown, "The Dark Side of Halloween," Logos Communication Consortium at: http://www.execpc.com/logos/halloween.html
  4. "A brief history of Halloween," at: http://home.computer.net/~cya/cy00116.html 
  5. W.J. Bethancourt III's detailed expose of some Christian anti-Halloween web sites and tracts is titled: "Halloween: Myths, Monsters and Devils" See: http://www.illusions.com/halloween/hallows.htm  and http://www.illusions.com/halloween/hallows1.htm?
  6. Evangelical Christian web sites with many hyperlinks to other Christian web sites about Halloween:
    bullet"Halloween - The most evil day of the year" has an enormous list of links at: http://www.sounddoctrine.com/ptimes/halloween.htm They report that modern day Druids engage in human sacrifice
    bulletThe "Christian Halloween Links Page" has many links at: http://jesussaves.com/directory/halloween.html

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Site navigation:

Home page >  Christianity > Practices > Holy Days > Halloween > here

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Essay copyright 1997 to 2002 incl., Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2002-MAR-8
Author: B.A. Robinson

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