Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween, Harry Potter and other ponderings

Warning: Mondo-huge, incredibly long monologue follows.

Since Halloween is fast approaching, I've been thinking a lot about it.  I see all the decorations in the store and the candy for sale and the ads for haunted houses and places to go to celebrate being scared.  I see all of this and I just begin wondering about it all.  What you are about to read probably won't be popular and may be met with irritation, aggression...I don't know.  Even if you disagree with me, I still welcome your comments.  If the information I received helps someone else, then great, but please know that I am not writing any of this to start a big disagreeable mess.  I'm also not aiming this at anyone in particular, just so you know.  I've just been pondering lately.   This is what I've learned and what I believe and how I've applied that knowledge and belief.

First of all, let me say that I used to really get into halloween.  I really like dressing up and it was so much fun to go knock on people's doors and get candy and treats.  We used to go to the mall and make the rounds there.  The last time I dressed up for Halloween was when I was 16.  My partner in crime, Reina and I both dressed up as genies and went trick or treating.  I remember having fun, but mostly I remember how stinkin' cold I was in that costume!!!  I also wore it to work at the movie theater that weekend cuz we were allowed to dress in costumes.  I look back now and even remember feeling back then that I was a little underdressed....yeah.:)  I remember going to the Courthouse when they would have their haunted house.  In fact, I think that was my first experience with a haunted house.  I also went into different haunted houses over the years of my childhood and teenage years.  I remember I went to Six Flags a few times during their Halloween festivities.  Out of all that, I just remember not liking being scared.  Same thing with horror movies.  Oh, yeah, I also participated in tp rolling on one occasion, but I can't honestly remember if it was for Halloween or not.  I'm inclined to think not as it was with a youth group at a church I once attended. (Even back then I didn't like the idea of doing that because all that kept running through my mind was, "What a humongous mess to have to clean up!" and "If I was the one living here, I'd be hopping mad about all this mess!"  Cuz you can never get it all up, especially if there is dew on the ground)  I never did throw rotten eggs that I can remember.  Too stinky. :)  All of that info was just to qualify myself with having experience with and participating in most all parts of the Halloween tradition.

There was a point in time that I was made aware of the origins of Halloween and also the meanings behind all the rituals.  My mom gave me a printout that a friend has emailed her and I was really blown away.  I, of course, immediately started to research that info.  I just couldn't believe what I had read, but it was mostly true.  Once I was made aware and armed with this information, I knew I couldn't celebrate Halloween anymore.  This was yet another instance of my eyes being opened to the truth and once you get a revelation, you have to choose what you are going to do with it.  You can ignore it and pretend you never received it or you can turn away from what you know to be a lie and head in the other direction.

While researching the origins, customs, traditions, etc. of Halloween, I noticed that really a lot of the same information is given, but there are different attitudes and perspectives on it.  Since I am a Christian and God has given me His Word to go by, then that is the guideline and perspective I will use.  Many of the sources sited differences between pagan practices and satan worship and fortune telling and all that, but the thing is, if you use God as the ruler then they all get lumped into the same category.  Here's the deal.  Satan has had many years, trials and errors, people to use as guinea pigs to perfect his lies, deception and destruction.  His goal is to always attempt to thwart God.  Think spoiled rotten, jealous brat who didn't get his way and still thinks that he can become as He who created him.  (Yeah, totally not gonna happen, but still he perseveres in futility.) He's going to try and twist the truth and add his own lie slyly in with it to make it seem true.  He's going to try and get his agenda accepted and spread around.  He wants to rule this world and everyone in it.  He wants to glorify himself.  His mastercraft is counterfeiting what God has created.  The devil can't create anything glorious himself, so he tries to counterfeit what God has made and in so doing comes up with a demented shadow of the original.  The more he is in it, the uglier, nastier, more evil, dangerous and deadly it becomes.   I believe that through the millenia, Satan has done everything he could to turn people away from knowing the Truth and God who is the source of that Truth.  Looking back in history it is easy to see that all the religions that have a multitude of deities or even just one or two that seem God-like, but aren't are the handiwork of the deceiver himself.  Again, he does anything and everything he can to get the attention off of God the Father.  

Enter Halloween, same story.  There is no good thing involved.  There is lots of superstition, witchcraft, fear, appeasement of assorted deities and rebellious behavior, i.e. egging, toilet paper rolling, playing mean tricks on people, vandalism, destruction.  Sure the dressing up part is fun, but the thing is it is the act of following a tradition that began to trick the dead spirits believed to be walking around at this time of the year and anything else that might have gotten loose into believing you are one of them, so they don't do mean/dangerous things to you.  Trick or treating is just that, give me a treat or I will play a trick on you.  I believe that is another phrase for manipulation.  I know, I know,  being nit picky, but hello, its the truth!  It also started by people putting the best of the food they had to offer on their doorsteps so the spirits wouldn't destroy their livestock or property.  The Jack o lanterns are another example.  First there is the reason for them that goes like this:  they were originally turnips or beets carved into hideous and ferocious figures to scare away menacing spirits.  Pumpkins came into the picture in the 1800s when a large immigration of Irish people occurred in the U.S. and there were a decided lack of turnips and beets available. There's another story about a guy named Jack for whom Jack o lanterns are named.  Apparently he was a murderous, very bad guy who tricked the devil out of getting his soul and then could neither enter heaven nor hell and so the lanterns were a light of guidance for him.  You can read more about where all this comes from on the websites posted below.

The conclusion for me is this.  Because there is not any reason, I, as a follower of Christ, can find to participate in this "holiday", then I just won't.  Instead I will seek to do what I should be doing every day, being Christ-like in my thoughts, actions and relationships.  I'm going to strive to do as His Word says.  

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thesalonians 5:21-22, 

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; Ephesians 5:11, 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2, 

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15, 

There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so. Deuteronomy 18:10-14

This year we are helping out with our churches Harvest Fesitval on the 31st.  I know there are some people who are opposed to doing anything on Halloween and instead just treat it like any other day.  If that is the way you are saying no to satan's ways, then wonderful!  Fight the battle with what God has given you.  For me personally, I like to take the day away from him and give it back to God.  We'll have a fair and have fun and do totally un-Halloween related things.  We will make a safe place for all of our kids to have fun and we will all be in fellowship with one another, practicing kindness, love and generosity.  I'm excited.  Its really more like a family reunion than anything. :)

The other thing that I was thinking about is the Harry Potter books/movies.  I really feel that they go right along with all of the Halloween type stuff.  I haven't read any of the books, but I did see the first three movies, up through the Prisoner of Azkaban.  The movies are really well made.  The graphics are amazing and boy do they take you on an adventure!  I watched the first one and I thought, "Wow! That was an amazing movie!"  I was really excited to see the next one.  I still thought the same thing after the second movie came out.  Something seemed to happen after I watched the third one, however.  I noticed an interesting and scary trend.  The first two introduced us to Harry Potter and witchcraft in a way that seemed innocent and good.  Like there was a good versus evil in the realm of witchcraft.  It was very subtle and just right for pulling kids and adults right in.   The third one was more intense and it seems that as the kids in the movies get older, so does the intensity of darkness in the movies.  Again, using God's Word as the ruler, there is no good side to witchcraft.  It all has the same source, satan and the evil desires of man.  Again, I was seeing a twist.  An attempt at making evil seem good.  As much as I like the quality of the production of the movies, the contents are super harmful.  Regardless of whether you are a kid or an adult, the more you put that kind of stuff in your mind, the more apathetic you get to satan's cause.  The less likely you are to recognize evil, lies and destruction for what they are.  I'm thankful that despite my willingness and desire to see those movies, that God once again opened my eyes to the truth of what they really are and again, I had a choice to make.  I don't watch them and I'm grateful that I only got three in instead of more, though, I regret that even that got in.:(  

After all that, I will be diligently protecting my kids from that if and when I am able.  The other times, I'll just be praying protection over them.  I know this can all sound extreme, but letting satan get even a little foothold in your life will be destructive.  He only needs a little wiggle room to make a huge mess.  Also, there's a reason that God instructed the Israelites to destroy everything and everyone in the land he was giving them.  He didn't want even one opportunity for His children to be compromised.  When they disobeyed His command to do so, it always ended up with Israel conceding with and accepting the beliefs of those who were not followers of God and in doing so destroyed themselves and deprived the whole nation of the blessings and provision God had already promised them.  Amazing isn't it?

Really and truly, I've come to believe this about several things that when I was little didn't seem like that big of a deal.  Lots of the Disney movies that I watched when younger, are not okay for my kids to watch.  For instance, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Fantasia and more.  These all have some sort of magic element.  Others that were made as I was older had more sexual elements in it by the dancing and clothing that the female characters had on.  Three immediately come to mind:  The Little Mermaid (also contains magic), Aladdin (again, more magic) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  Anyway, someone may be reading this thinking, "What is the big deal?"  Here's my question.  Why put any of that into a children's movie?  Why do they need to see magic being practiced?  If ever in doubt of this, the Bible is very clear what magic is and what the source is.  Why do they need to see women dancing or dressing in a sensual way?  Being the mom of boys, man this is such a huge thing for me.  I don't want my boys seeing women as objects.  I don't want them getting a jump start on being interested in sex before its time.  I want them to keep the innocence that God placed in them.  They will learn of things as their ages become appropriate to do so, but I believe that can also be in God's timing.  I also think if we do end up having girls, I don't want these movies and characters being what they gauge themselves by.  I don't want them desiring to look like something that usually isn't obtained without a good plastic surgeon and lots of dieting or eating disorders.  I don't want them thinking they have to act seductively and give away the precious gifts God has given them (virginity, purity, which all actually belong to God until they are married) to impress or accommodate a boy/man they are interested in.  Again, I know this might seem extreme, but think about it.  It all starts somewhere.  They will see things in the grocery store on the magazine racks.  They will see things on the bill boards and other types of advertisements.  We'll do our best not to let that exposure ever be much, but unless we never take them anywhere, they will see certain things.  (That's where prayer comes in.) We can keep commercials out of our home as well as not be the ones to introduce them to this type of stuff in supposed "kids" movies.

*****Added note:  I am all for dressing up for costume parties or enjoying a masquerade ball.  Just not for Halloween's sake.  I also believe kids should make believe.  I just don't want to encourage mine to include magic in that make believe.  I want them to know that God is the source of any power or ability they have and to use it for his purposes.

Websites for the origins, customs and traditions of Halloween:


Nessa and Jeebs said...

DOobedoobedoo- I agree with you- I still like Halloween- mostly because I love fall and I like to play dress up- the evil stuff can go away. We do live in a day where good is called evil and evil good- can we say OBAMA???????????????? and Washington DC period!!!! Happy FALL! stank nasty

Juliet said...

I agree. This was timely for me :) Chloe (my 5 yo) and I just had a talk about some of the characters she likes and modesty. The Little Mermaid was one we talked about. It's crazy that a lot of these children's characters are dressed like they are in a victoria's secret commercial. Unfortunately, my kids have seen the movie, but we no longer have it. It only takes one time seeing these movies for a child to get attached to the characters, though. Craziness!

Pattylicious said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mzzterry said...

Good food for thought. Isn't it amazing how becoming a mom can change your perspective?!