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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Caught in a "Web" of Confusion

I have a confession to make. I love Halloween. I love dressing up in silly costumes -- yes, I still do that (last year, I was "woman covered in spiders"). I love looking through my kids' candy scores. I love carving jack-o-lanterns. I love haunted houses. I love those CDs with scary laughter and music. I love pretend ghosts and bats and witches and vampires.

It's the one day of the year when I can just be goofy and no one questions my sanity.

I don't know much about the reason for Halloween. Why it exists. What it symbolizes. How it came to be. Sure, I could Google it, but I'm afraid I may read something that will make me feel guilty for enjoying it. So, I free myself from inaccurate resolution by choosing to remain unstudied in this area.

Besides, sure enough, if I find something incriminating on one "Web" page, I will find something acquitting on the next. Then I have to determine which "Web" sites are credible and which are unreliable. And by then, I'm really confused, I have a searing headache, and I'm dwelling on my guilty feelings over the really bad thing I read even though I have no idea if it's true or not.

Are you "Caught in a 'Web' of Confusion," too?

Last year, I went with my son's first-grade class to the book fair at his school. My son loves Pokemon, so as we were looking through the Pokemon books, one of the girls in his class came up to us and said, "I love Pokemon, but my mom won't let me have Pokemon stuff."

I said, "why?"

She said, "Because she says it's of the devil."

It wasn't the response I was expecting, and all I could squeak out was, "Oh."

After watching lots and lots and lots of Pokemon, "of the devil" is not something I would have used to describe the show.

Good versus bad - yes.

Dark versus light - yes.

Happy versus angry - yes.

"Of the devil" - NEVER crossed my mind.

And the puzzling thing is, on Pokemon, the good guys always win. Similar to superhero programs, there is usually a lesson in the battles portrayed. Sometimes, Pokemon can be so shiny and happy, it almost makes me gag just a little.

So, what was up with this mom? My guess -- she Googled it.

Then, she believed only the incriminating stuff she read without actually viewing the program and forming her own opinion.

OR

She allowed the poorly-researched, incriminating stuff to weave itself into her judgement-making capabilities and then viewed the program through the tunnel of someone else's bad opinions.

I never Googled Pokemon and never will. I would rather form my own opinions of the show. There are many many cartoons I do not let my kids watch due to content I have observed. So far, Pokemon has not raised a red flag in my head.

NOTE: While searching for appropriate Pokemon videos on YouTube for my kids to watch, I encountered some Pokemon videos that individuals turned into ugly things that children should not be viewing. PARENTS - ALWAYS BE AWARE OF WHAT YOUR KIDS ARE VIEWING IF THEY BROWSE YOUTUBE or any other site that individuals can add their own creations to.

"Web" confusion doesn't just happen with things that are supposedly evil, it happens in the Christian world, too. Probably especially in the Christian world. Have you all seen this video that is going around that asks "Did Jesus give us the name of the antichrist?" It claims that Luke 10:18 which states "And he said unto them, I beheld Satan falling as lightning from the heavens" when spoken by Jesus in His language actually said the antichrist's name. According to the videomaker, in Jesus' language, "lightning from the heavens" is translated as "Baraq U Bam Maw."

Okay, you see where the video is going with this right?

Because I recalled something in the Bible saying something about not knowing who the antichrist is until the time of tribulation, I had to Google this one -- not to form my own opinion (I already had that), but to see what others thought. Of course, I found arguments on both sides. Although I see signs in this world that "Baraq U Bam Maw" is playing a key role in Biblical prophecy, I seriously doubted that Jesus would flat-out name the antichrist. So, I have to say, I'm not buying the video (which is why I'm not posting it here - but I'm sure you can find it if you - you guessed it - Google it). It doesn't mean I believe "U Bam Maw" is, and it doesn't mean I believe he isn't. It just means, as a pre-trib Christian, I do not believe I will know who the antichrist is while I'm here on this earth.

So here are my questions:

1. Is it okay for a Christian to enjoy Halloween?

2. Pokemon (if you've seen it) -- innocent fun or evil intentions?

3. The antichrist video (if you've seen it) -- bold reporting or baloney?

4. "Web" searching -- fact finder, entertainment tool, or simply a "Web" of confusion?

12 comments :

  1. Shar said...

    What a relief to know that I'm not the only Christian mom in the universe caught in the "Web" of confusion!!! You pose great questions, Karen. Since the Bible doesn't mention Pokemon or Harry Potter what's a mom to do?

    Some women from church started Kay Arthur's book, LORD is it warefare? Teach Me to Stand. We're spending an awful lot of time getting to know the enemy Satan to help us create a spiritual warfare strategy. What I am learning if something has the attributes of Satan or makes use of his tactics according to the Holy Bible, I should pray about it and take caution.

    So my advice is this; know the Word of God, the one and only source of truth, so Satan's lies are unable to infiltrate your life. BUT we shouldn't be naive that the enemy won't try to use pop-cultre, media, etc. to do his dirty work.

  2. Shauna Renee' said...

    I agree with Shar. You ask some great questions here. I have always been a little skeptical of videos like the one you mentioned, for the very reason that Scripture is emphatic that the antichrist will not be recognized and we will not know who it is until Christ comes back. And everyone will be deceived. I could digress and vent some other thoughts here, but it's off the main subject, which is your question about Halloween. I've never been particularly fond of the holiday, but it's because I'm not really a dress-up type person. I also didn't like the scarier things people tend to focus on; the original purpose was because of ancient cultural beliefs about people coming back from the dead. The masks were to hide so they didn't recognize you to take you back with them. (At least from one source that I've read.) The name Halloween comes from "All Hallows Eve"--the day before All Saints Day. I'm not so sure about where that particular observance comes from. On a lighter note, my husband, whose birthday is Nov. 1, likes to say that he's a saint instead of a spook. ;)

    Sorry I'm so wordy this a.m. I don't think there's anything wrong with having fun; it's an autumn celebration, an opportunity to share what you really believe and to enjoy with your family!

    Have a blessed day, and thanks for sharing!

  3. Karen said...

    Great points to consider. I think the important thing to remember is to form our own opinions based on scripture and not just adopt an opinion because everyone else seems to have it or because we find it somewhere on the "Web".

    I also don't think we can discredit anything addressing evil as not being appropriate for Christians. Even C.S. Lewis's stories pitted good against evil. As did the Bible - David and Goliath, Joseph and his brothers, Samson and Delilah.

    I think where the problem comes in is when the evil either wins or is not contrasted by good. Like Shar pointed out, pop culture and the media can be and often is Satan's playground. We are charged with making good Christian choices here.

    Like Shauna mentioned with the antichrist video - just because it appears to be Christian doesn't mean it's Biblical. We must always follow God's Word even with things that appear to be Christian on the surface.

    And, I don't know about Halloween. I think it's kind of like drinking. Drinking in and of itself is not a sin, but drunkeness or the excess of it is. I've heard people say that if non-Christians see Christians drinking, because of the non-Christian's lack of Biblical knowledge, they will consider Christians hypocrits and shy away from faith. If this is true, then can the same be said for the Christian who dresses up and has fun on Halloween?

    I don't know, maybe I make light of something that should be a very serious issue. But if the devil wants us to consider Halloween his tool, aren't we giving him more power than he deserves?

    By the very act of dressing up and carving pumpkins, are we setting a bad Christian example? Do we draw a line and if so, where?

  4. Lori Stanley Roeleveld said...

    I remember when my kids were young that my friend's daughter told another little girl "My family is more Christian than yours because we don't DO Santa Claus." That line sort of summed up the hassles associated with Christian parenting and pop culture. My son was trying to explain our video game rules to a friend once and said "I'm not allowed anything with sex or naked women and I can only kill people if I have a good reason." I decided that as confusing as it all can be, I needed to be convinced of my own reasons for allowing or disallowing something and yet not judge other moms for their choices. Excellent and courageous post!

  5. Stephanie Faris said...

    My first introduction to anti-Halloween sentiment was when I was in my 20s. I mentioned at work that we should dress up and one of the women said, "If we dress up I won't come in. Halloween is the Devil's holiday." I was shocked but I researched it and found really, the basis of Halloween was originally a celebration of saints, dead and living. We could go into more detail but it's beside the point. The reason YOU celebrate Halloween is for fun. Your kids dress up, get candy, and enjoy themselves. There is no evil intent in anything anyone does. The only true sin committed that night is gluttony, in which case we have to discuss the evils of Thanksgiving dinner!

  6. Karen said...

    Gluttony -- Never mind Thanksgiving. I think I commit that one every day. :)

  7. warrenjc said...

    The more information you have, the better decision you can make. You ask some good questions Karen but the question to ask is: would Jesus celebrate the devil's day?

    It sounded as though your mind was made up so I fought with myself to even comment here. But as a brother in the Lord, I felt compelled to say something. I personally have NO web of confusion on this holiday.

    Halloween can be traced back to the Celtics and their over 300 gods. The priests (called Druids) would make animal and sometimes human sacrifices.

    Druids were members of pagan orders in Britain. They were very cognizant of the spiritual world and attempted to enter into it by their sacrifices given to their gods.

    Some trace the origins of present day "trick-or-treat" to the supreme night of demonic jubilation. Spirits of the dead would rise out of their graves and wander the countryside, trying to return to the homes where they formerly lived.

    They thought that the only way to appease them was to leave fruit and nuts for them. They thought that the demons get them on that night so they dressed as demons and other costumes so they wouldn't get them.

    On and on. So I personally don't celebrate Halloween. Even the church celebrates when they think they are having a get together at church with candy and such. There's a lot more to it, but you get the drift.

    Don't get me started on Pokeman.

    I tell you all this in love in hopes of warning you of the dangers. I pray that we are still friends.

    Jim

  8. warrenjc said...

    Also Karen, on a positive note, the true sign of a good writer is the participation and thought provoking thoughts of their readers. Good job and continue to write sister. GBY

  9. warrenjc said...

    The more information you have, the better decision you can make. You ask some good questions Karen but the question to ask is: would Jesus celebrate the devil's day?

    It sounded as though your mind was made up so I fought with myself to even comment here. But as a brother in the Lord, I felt compelled to say something. I personally have NO web of confusion on this holiday.

    Halloween can be traced back to the Celtics and their over 300 gods. The priests (called Druids) would make animal and sometimes human sacrifices.

    Druids were members of pagan orders in Britain. They were very cognizant of the spiritual world and attempted to enter into it by their sacrifices given to their gods.

    Some trace the origins of present day "trick-or-treat" to the supreme night of demonic jubilation. Spirits of the dead would rise out of their graves and wander the countryside, trying to return to the homes where they formerly lived.

    They thought that the only way to appease them was to leave fruit and nuts for them. They thought that the demons get them on that night so they dressed as demons and other costumes so they wouldn't get them.

    On and on. So I personally don't celebrate Halloween. Even the church celebrates when they think they are having a get together at church with candy and such. There's a lot more to it, but you get the drift.

    Don't get me started on Pokeman.

    I tell you all this in love in hopes of warning you of the dangers. I pray that we are still friends.

    Jim

  10. Karen said...

    Of course, we're still friends, JC. Thanks everyone for all of these great thoughts. It has given me a lot to think about.

    My church is one of those that celebrates on Halloween night. Although we call it "Fall Festival." The main goal is to use it as an outreach tool for our community. Instead of wandering our neighborhood gathering candy, we wander the halls of our church. We still wear our costumes and carry our jack-o-lantern buckets. We just don't experience the chills and frights of plastic skeletons and faux graveyard scenes. Instead we play games, crawl through mazes, eat food, and take hay rides.

    On years when we don't have a "Fall Festival," church members host block parties on Halloween night, and we hand out church invitations as the kids trick-or-treat.

    My kids have a lot more fun attending our church celebrations than they do going door to door, so that is how we participate in Halloween on Fall Fest years.

    How angry must it make Satan for us to take a holiday that is supposedly his day, and celebrate it by focusing on leading others to Christ. It weakens his power when we don't hunker under and allow it to be his self-proclaimed day.

    So, as a couple of others have pointed out - it depends on how we celebrate. Do we honor Satan in our celebrations or do we fight him in our celebrations? If indeed Satan claimed Halloween to be his day, then I choose to deny him and celebrate, not by hiding, but by showing him that every day is actually God's day.

    So, for the costume-clad Satan followers out there Halloween night, beware because I will be among you. I may seem to fit right in at first glance, but on closer inspection, you will see God's light shining bright. Oh, and this costume-clad Christian will be the one dessed like a cat.

  11. Christian Mommy Writer said...

    Interesting topic. I'm discussing this on my blog too.

    There is a lot of confusion going on about this and I'm still forming my opinion on it with the information I'm gaining.

    I do not give out candy and I do not take my child trick-or-treating. However, I think that there is nothing wrong with going to a Fall Festival at a church. Most of the ones I've heard about weren't on the actual day of Halloween.

    I agree with Shar that it's important to know the word of God, but also to know the origins of the things that we celebrate.

  12. Stephanie Faris said...

    I mentioned you with a big link in today's blog!